Cobbers explore their new locker-room home
Moorhead - With a heat index hovering around 90, Friday afternoon was a good day for the Concordia football team to be based in its new locker room.
“It’s air conditioned, which was a plus, too,” Cobbers head coach Terry Horan said with a laugh.
The Cobbers had their first fall practice Friday, beginning their first season in its locker-room facility, which was completed last spring and cost more than $3 million.
The more-than-11,000-square-foot building will be able to more easily accommodate the 130 players (including 51 freshmen) on the team’s roster.
“It’s the first time we’ve all been in the same place,” Cobbers senior quarterback Griffin Neal. “It’s a great place to build chemistry.”
The old football locker room had less than 80 lockers and will now be used for men’s soccer.
Since completion last spring, Horan and his staff have tried to personalize the football locker room, hanging national championships banners above the Cobbers “C” in the middle of the locker area. There is also a banner that lists all of the conference champions in program history.
“For our seniors … it’s a pretty sweet way to ride out of here,” Horan said. “We just wanted to make that room as special as we possibly could.”
As the players leave the locker room to walk out to the field, there is a “Pride” sign next to the door. A number of players tapped the sign on the way out to practice Friday.
“It looks really awesome. I think it a big thing for recruits, too,” said Cobbers senior kicker Ben Wagner. “It’s always nice to be the first ones to be in somewhere. It’s nice to break it in.”
The Cobbers “C” that is painted in the middle area between the lockers was roped off Friday. Horan said the team will be able to celebrate on the “C” after wins, starting a new tradition.
“Guys were just excited to get moved into the locker room,” Neal said. “There is anticipation with any new facility.”
There is also a flat-screen TV featured in the space, and a stereo system played techno music as players prepared for practice.
The locker room was the final phase in the “Update the Jake” project, which started in May 2010. The entire project cost around $5.7 million.
“Our senior class got the new locker room, the weight room was just re-done and we got the (new) field turf, too,” Neal said. “We’re a pretty fortunate class to get all the things we talked about when we were being recruited.”
The Cobbers start their regular season on Sept. 6, playing a nonconference game at the University of Jamestown. Concordia has its Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference opener on Sept. 20 at St. John’s.
The Cobbers have posted an 8-2 record each of the past two seasons, but haven’t been able to make the NCAA Division III playoffs either time.
“We always have high expectations,” Horan said. “We want to be at the top of the league.”