‘Everything I Expected and More’: UVA Football Celebrates Opening of New Facility

June 7, 2024 By Andrew Ramspacher, fpa5up@virginia.edu Andrew Ramspacher, fpa5up@virginia.edu

On Thursday morning, well ahead of the ceremonial ribbon-cutting, University of Virginia football players were invited to get their first glimpses of their new home.

“It was crazy,” junior kicker Will Bettridge said, “everything I expected and more.”

Veteran Cavaliers such as Bettridge have been anxiously waiting the completion of the 93,000-square-foot operations center since construction began two years ago.

That wait officially came to an end Thursday as the doors opened to a dazzling building located next to the George Welsh Indoor Practice Facility off Massie Road.

Members of the Board of Visitors, donors, football alumni, athletic department coaches and staff, and media members toured the operations center in the evening.

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The night began with a ceremony featuring comments from UVA President Jim Ryan, Director of Athletics Carla Williams, Rector Robert Hardie, head football coach Tony Elliott, senior football player Elijah Gaines, head men’s lacrosse coach Lars Tiffany and Virginia Athletics Foundation executive director Kevin Miller.

Along with christening the football operations center, Thursday’s festivities included a symbolic step toward completion of another UVA Athletics construction project, the Harrison Family Olympic Sports Center, scheduled to open next summer. The final steel beam was placed atop the building, which neighbors the new football facility.

“Our teams are a perfect example of what I mean when I say we should be a university that is both great and good,” Ryan said. “Our teams compete at the very highest level and they compete to win, but to win in the right way. That will never change. And that’s why I’ve been 100% behind Carla’s vision and the Athletics Master Plan from the very start.

“These buildings are a critical part of that plan and they’ll offer new and important opportunities to our student-athletes, who work incredibly hard all year to succeed both in athletics and in all that they do inside and outside of the classroom.”

The final steel beam is placed atop the Harrison Family Olympic Sports Center, which is scheduled to open next summer. The building, which will accommodate UVA’s Olympic sports programs, is named for the family of the late Mary and David Harrison III, two of the University’s most generous benefactors.
The final steel beam is placed atop the Harrison Family Olympic Sports Center, which is scheduled to open next summer. The building, which will accommodate UVA’s Olympic sports programs, is named for the family of the late Mary and David Harrison III, two of the University’s most generous benefactors.
Jim Ryan at a podium speaks to the crowd in front of him
“In my view,” UVA President Jim Ryan said, “one of the things that makes UVA special is that it offers a one-of-a-kind, exceptional student experience, and our athletics programs are absolutely critical to all of that. Our teams bring joy, excitement, vibrancy, connection and inspiration to students, alumni and the broader community.”
Rows of weight lifting benches and machines line the facility
The 14,000-square-foot weight room in the football operations center.
Ryan, center, gets his first glimpse at the football operations center.
Ryan, center, gets his first glimpse at the football operations center.
Junior kicker Will Bettridge, welcoming visitors while on the stairs to the second floor
Junior kicker Will Bettridge, welcoming visitors while on the stairs to the second floor, echoed his teammates when he said the new facility is “everything I expected and more.”
The new facility honors the late Lavel Davis Jr., Devin Chandler and D’Sean Perry with this touching display on the first floor.
The new facility honors the late Lavel Davis Jr., Devin Chandler and D’Sean Perry with this touching display on the first floor. “I’m so grateful that we were able to capture it the way that we were able to capture it,” head coach Tony Elliott said, “because at least for my time at the University of Virginia, that’s going to be a huge part of our legacy.”

Media Contact

Jim Daves

Assistant Athletics Director for Media Relations