Alumnus Suzanne Ward makes $1.5 million gift
Supporters Michael and Darlene Charles make $1 million gift
Over $21 million now committed to new football facility
TAMPA, OCT. 12, 2019 – Vice President of Athletics Michael Kelly announced two major gifts to USF Athletics totaling $2.5 million, $2 million of which will go toward construction of the USF Football Center on the USF campus.
The major gift announcement, made at the Bulls’ homecoming football game vs. BYU Saturday, pushes funds raised toward the state-of-the art facility to more than $21 million. USF has now received eight gifts of over $1 million towards the transformational facility.
USF alumnus Suzanne Ward (class of ’86) made a $1.5 million gift to Athletics, with $1 million designated to go toward the new football facility that will combine an indoor practice space with a football operations center housing all of the program’s needs.
Iron Bulls Michael and Darlene Charles made a $1 million gift toward the Football Center, which is slated for construction in the USF Athletics district adjacent to the Lee Roy Selmon Athletics Center.
“We are very excited to announce these latest major gifts toward the USF Football Center as we continue with terrific momentum toward the construction of this transformational facility not only for the football program but for all of our athletic teams,” Kelly said. “These gifts exemplify the tremendous support that will continue to propel our athletics program forward.
“Suzanne is simply amazing in her commitment to attending every USF football game and traveling from her home in Oregon to do so,” Kelly said. “Michael and Darlene Charles have long been very active and visible supporters of many of our athletic teams. We are very grateful for the longtime support, shared vision and generous gifts of Suzanne, and Michael and Darlene. They will continue to have a profound impact on USF student-athletes.”
The USF Football Center, which is a donor-driven project, will expand upon the current Morsani Football Practice Complex and feature an indoor practice facility housing a 100-yard turf field. The Center will also feature an operations building that will provide a state-of-the-art home for the entire football program and allow the reallocation of the space it currently occupies in the Lee Roy Selmon Athletics Center to USF’s other athletic programs.
Among the highlights included in the initial plans for the USF Football Center are:
• A stunning entry façade, lobby and multi-purpose space for recruiting
• Indoor practice facility with a 100-yard turf field
• A football strength and conditioning center
• A new football locker room
• Players’ lounge and adjacent social patio
• Team auditorium with tiered seating
• Sports medicine and rehabilitation facility
• Nutrition center
• Team and position meeting spaces
• Coaches and staff offices
• Equipment room, video operations, laundry and other support operations
The USF Football Center will provide a dramatic new front porch for USF Athletics and is expected to be a game-changing addition that will attract top-level student-athletes to USF. The addition of space and indoor training capability to the already excellent USF Athletics district will present exciting new possibilities for all USF sports and is expected to have major impacts across all of USF’s athletic programs.
About USF Athletics
USF Athletics sponsors 19 varsity men’s and women’s teams that compete in 11 different sports, 18 at the NCAA Division I level in the American Athletic Conference. The Bulls’ athletic program began in 1965 and is in its 53rd season in 2018-19. Nearly 500 student-athletes train and compete in the athletic district located on the east end of the campus in Tampa, Fla. The Bulls have claimed 18 American Athletic Conference team titles since joining the conference in 2013, and own 119 conference titles overall. Eleven USF programs reached national postseason competition in the 2018-19 season and six were ranked in the Top 25 nationally. The Bulls posted a combined annual grade-point average over 3.0 for the fourth straight year in 2018-19 and have posted a program record nine straight semesters with a combined GPA over 3.0. USF has had more than 250 student-athletes earn their degree in the last three years.
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