Words by Colin Barnard | Photos by Colton Strickler
The Colorado State football team will finally make their grand return to campus on Aug. 26 for the first NCAA football game of the year against Oregon State.
The team’s new on-campus stadium is in the final stages of completion, and its impact on Colorado State football, and Fort Collins as a whole, is more than what meets the eye. For athletic director Joe Parker and head coach Mike Bobo, the facility is second to none other in the country. The stadium, which has already played host to multiple weddings and events, features the latest and greatest in innovative design and fan amenities. More importantly, though, it has energized the Rams coming into the 2017 season.
Joe Parker introduces the new stadium
“This is a great opportunity for us to bring football back to campus. For 49 years, we played at Hughes Stadium. So, for parts of six decades we really lost the opportunity to share the university with people attending football games. The project is accomplishing what we hoped it would. It’s really serving as a primary engagement asset for the university.”
Mike Bobo on the players’ reaction during their tour of the stadium
“You could just see the excitement of a new building and all the shiny, new stuff. But I think you saw the pride in our guys of what our university has built here, not just for our football players but for everybody.”
Bobo on his favorite part of the stadium
“I think it’s going to be an unbelievable setting to watch a college football game. It’s not just concrete and seats, it’s a beautiful structure, a beautiful facility. It’s definitely fan-friendly. Just to be able to watch a football game and enjoy a Saturday afternoon.
Bobo on impact the stadium has on recruiting
“Each year, I think the impact has increased. The first year we were able to shows plans and a video, the second year we were able to walk through the structure and they could visualize it. Now they’re seeing the finished product. I believe our place is second to none, and the feedback we get from recruits, they’re definitely impressed.Bobo believes this is one of the best stadiums in the country
“There’s no question. Obviously there are some stadiums and facilities that are bigger in size, but as far as the quality, I think it’s second to none.
Bobo on the reaction from fans
“I think they’re proud to be associated with Colorado State. I say it all the time, it’s their football team, this is their facility, too. It’s a new home not just for me and the football team, it’s Colorado State’s new home.
Bobo on the pressure the new stadium brings
“There’s pressure every year, that’s something we talked about with our team. We want to be in a place that has high expectations. We don’t want to be in a place where it’s minimal pressure, minimal expectations. It’s a big responsibility moving into this stadium and this facility. We’ve got to earn the right to come out here and play and represent Colorado State.”
Bobo on the excitement players have shown to get to work in the new facilities
“There’s a lot of pride in our football program right now because of this facility and what has been invested in this football program. At the same time, it’s responsibility and pressure, but I think that’s something they’re embracing. There’s a lot of excitement. They’ve been here one day and I’ve seen more guys in our offices, in the lounge, working out on the practice fields on there own. I think that’s because of this facility, they’re excited about it.”
Strength and Conditioning Coach Ryan Davis on the biggest difference between new workout facility and old one
“We’re not limited on equipment. We literally have everything that we need to be able to prepare our team the way we want to and the way we need to.”
Davis on use of space in the stadium
“The biggest thing that comes with this space that really helps us is that all these spaces are intentional. When you come out of the locker room, the guys have immediate access to sports medicine, they have immediate access to strength and conditioning, they have immediate access to nutrition. That stuff was intentional in the planning.”