GREENSBORO — A year removed from its best sports season in history, UNC-Greensboro will now try to raise $5 million for its athletics program.
UNCG on Thursday rolled out its new “5 for 5” campaign for athletics. One “5” refers to the $5 million fundraising goal. The other “5” is the number of Southern Conference championships the Spartans won in 2017-18.
“5 for 5” is the first phase of a larger fundraising effort called “Campaign for Champions.” It’s the first capital campaign for athletics in UNCG history.
“That’s what this is about — sustaining success,” Athletics Director Kim Record said. “It requires additional investment to take it to a higher level.”
Most of the money — $3 million — will go into a new endowment for coaches in all 17 varsity sports. Record said UNCG will use the money to pay bonuses and incentives — but not salaries — to recruit and reward coaches.
The rest will go to four projects in the Coleman Building, where UNCG’s athletics program is based. Those projects are:
- A renovation and expansion of the strength and conditioning center used by all Spartan athletic teams. This space will get new fitness equipment and a new 1,100-square-foot L-shaped mezzanine for speed and cardiovascular training. There are also plans for what UNCG is calling a nutrition center — a space with a refrigerator and small appliances for student-athletes to grab healthy snacks and sports drinks before and after workouts.
- A new academic support center for all student-athletes. UNCG plans to convert a former equipment room into a facility with a classroom, spaces for individual and group study and offices for academic advisers. The current athletics study hall area occupies three offices and shares a classroom with an academic department. Record said that space is too small for a university with 220 student-athletes and “has been a priority for a long time.”
- An expanded men’s basketball lounge and recruiting center that sits between the team’s locker room and practice gym. UNCG last fall converted a former kinesiology lab into a space where players and prospective players can relax, nap, study, watch TV or have a snack. UNCG wants to make the space bigger and add a window so the team’s practice court is visible from the lounge. Record said team lounge areas are common to Division I basketball programs.
- Offices for the men’s and women’s basketball coaches and staff members will be renovated.
Except for the weight-room mezzanine, these projects won’t add any new space to the Coleman Building. Instead, UNCG plans to renovate existing spaces, several of which came open after the university opened a new student recreation center across campus in 2016.
UNCG has raised $700,000 in cash and pledges so far. It hopes to reach its $5 million goal by June 2020.
The fundraising campaign comes a year after UNCG teams won a university-record five Southern Conference championships in one academic year. In 2017-18, the baseball, softball, women’s soccer, men’s golf and men’s basketball teams all won conference titles. UNCG’s student-athletes posted a best-ever cumulative grade-point average of 3.23 — roughly a B-plus — on a 4-point scale.
Last season was especially notable for the men’s basketball team. The Spartans won a record 27 games, took both the Southern Conference regular season and tournament titles and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the third time in school history. In their first tournament game, the Spartans nearly upset eighth-ranked Gonzaga.