Athletics unveils brand-new locker rooms
Amanda Boyer/Photography Editor
Seton Hall student-athletes returning from winter break received quite the welcoming as the Department of Athletics and Recreation opened new varsity locker rooms in the Richie Regan Athletic Center on Thursday, Jan. 15.
The locker rooms, a part of the department’s Pride & Excellence Campaign, will give every Pirates sports team their own private room and every individual athlete their own personal locker for the first time. In total, the teams will have 5,061 square feet of new space at their disposal and 357 lockers made available to them.
Prior to the completion of the project, two locker rooms were shared; one for men’s sports and one for women’s sports.
“We all shared one locker room,” junior cross country runner Ryan Flannery said. “We all shared one space. It was pretty run-down. It was pretty old and we never really used it.”
Now, Flannery and others will have state-of-the-art locker rooms in South Orange. Each one is equipped with a high-definition smart television for watching film, Wi-Fi hubs and surround sound audio systems with Bluetooth technology that will allow athletes to play music prior to games, meets and matches.
“I think teams bond over the music that they play,” Thomas Chen, assistant athletics director for digital media & communications said. “Certainly if you’re getting pumped up for a game or even if you’re just hanging out in there. Music is certainly a good way to enjoy the time.”
Flannery said that between his own love for hip-hop and his teammates’ fandom of country music, there should be some variety in the cross country team’s locker room.
“I just like music,” Flannery said. “Anything that gets us pumped up, that could lighten the mood, that could put us in a good mood. I like anything that pumps us up… from Eminem to Justin Timberlake.”
Under Armour, which began its partnership with Seton Hall Athletics this past year, has their logos and mottos such as “Protect This House” plastered on the walls of the common areas and locker rooms along with the school’s Pirates logo.
For vice president and director of athletics Patrick Lyons, these locker rooms are all about providing Seton Hall’s athletes with the finest.
"The locker room project is in line with our vision to give our student-athletes the best possible experience and to have it come to fruition is fantastic," Lyons said in a press release. "Anyone who is an athlete knows how important a locker room is and what it signifies. Our student-athletes have been walking around on cloud nine because they have their own locker rooms for the first time.”
“I’ve heard a few athletes say it’s a place to relax, get their mind right, listen to music, get pumped up before games,” Flannery said. “We were never able to do that before. So that’s great and I think it could really bring a competitive edge too.”
Lyons also hopes that the new rooms will send a clear message to any future prospective Pirates.
"This project also signifies to anyone thinking about coming to Seton Hall how serious we are about being the best and winning conference championships,” he said. “I've always said that when you come to Seton Hall you'll know from the second you walk into our facilities how serious we take athletics and the pride we have in our department."
“Giving these locker rooms to the student-athletes shows that they are cared for here,” Chen added.
Labeled as Phase III of the Pride & Excellence Campaign, the locker rooms follow several other upgrades and additions to the Richie Regan Athletic Center. In the past two years the campaign has opened the Charles W. Doehler Academic Center, the Center for Sports Medicine and a fitness center. A new LED scoreboard was also installed at Owen T. Carroll Field in 2013.
With the locker rooms complete, athletics will continue to move on with the next stages of the campaign. That includes finishing a brand-new performance training center and a team video room.
Gary Phillips can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @GPhillips2727.