FAMU starts major football facility renovations, fund-raising campaign

By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook staff writer

Since his arrival as FAMU’s athletic director last fall, Kortne Gosha has been relentless in his efforts to bring about change.

His mission is to change the face of football as it’s known around Bragg Stadium and the Galimore Field House. A little more than two months ago he told a meeting of the Board of Trustees about the plans that he and his staff have to make the turnaround happen.

They seemed ambitious. Last Friday, Gosha’s department announced plans to kick off its “All In” campaign to fund renovation at the stadium and field house.  

Coach Willie Simmons is looking forward to facility upgrades that would put him and his staff on better footing during recruiting.

The renovation is first of a two-phase approach to bring the facilities up to competitive standard.

He discussed the urgency in getting the renovations done in a matter-of-fact way, calling the current state around Bragg “sub- par” to the point that it leaves head coach Willie Simmons and his staff at a “strategic disadvantage” when it comes to recruiting. 

Essentially, there was no point in delaying work on renovation to the field house, Gosha said. The work will include expanded locker rooms with new graphics and adequate spacing between lockers; upgrade and expand the weight room and training room. Upgrades are also planned for the equipment room to include more storage space and make it more efficient. Coaches’ offices, foyer of the building to include graphics that tell the FAMU story are also part of the upgrades.

Several opportunities for purchasing naming rights inside the field house will range from $1,000 to $100, 000. The fund-raising campaign is part of the on-going Rattler Athletic Fund.

Along with the installation of a new turf field in 2018, the field house renovations will be the first major work on the facility since the early 1980.

Athletic director Kortne Gosha has turned his attention to renovation of the football facilities at FAMU.
Photos by St. Clair Murraine

Along with the announcing the start of the renovation project, the athletic department also sent out an appeal to its stakeholder and donors to help finance it. That includes the naming rights that can be purchased along with straight donations, Gosha said.

“It’s going to be a tangible project that people can see, and say, ‘hey my investment, my contribution was to do something that I could see, feel and touch. We were excited to roll it out.”

Given the current economic situation caused by COVID-19, Gosha is anticipating the giving process to be a little slow. But every penny will be essential to making changes that are long overdue, he said.

“We wish we could throw the Hail Mary and score the touchdown but this process is going to have to get done in phases,” he said. “We are going to have to line up and get first downs and march the ball down the field.”

Simmons has been anticipating the improvements since his arrival at FAMU three seasons ago. 

“It’s an exciting time,” he said. “We have been talking about getting some significant upgrades to Galimore Field House since my arrival and it’s exciting to see things starting to take shape and come to fruition a little bit.”

Having the improved facilities will help his players grow mentally and physically, Simmons said. But more importantly, he and his recruiters will be able to be more competitive.

The second phase of the renovations will have to move more expeditiously, Gosha said, adding that improvements on the stadium are mandatory.

“The unfortunate piece is I have a very aggressive timeline to do it,” he said. “The state has told us that because your facility hasn’t been maintained, there is a possibility it will be condemned after this football season. I don’t know how opened we have been about that but the time is now.”

That means fund-raising has got to shift into a warp speed mode. Gosha and his staff seemingly are ready for the undertaking. Bragg is too much of a pillar in the community to do otherwise, he said.

“We’ve got to get out and beat that drum,” he said. “We’ve got to involve the city, the county and all the FAMU stakeholders to ensure that Bragg Memorial Stadium is made whole.”

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