New Athletic Performance Center Unveiled
MALIBU, Calif. - A couple of hundred Pepperdine student-athletes, coaches, staff and faculty gathered on Wednesday morning to take part in the unveiling of the new Athletic Performance Center, a strength and conditioning room that will be specific to the institution's varsity athletic teams.
The facility, which is part of the Ralphs-Straus Tennis Center, features brand-new state-of-the-art strength and conditioning equipment and will be hugely beneficial to the on-going development of Pepperdine student-athletes.
Director of Athletics John Watson, Senior Associate Director of Athletics Steve Potts and women's basketball student-athlete Miranda Ayim spoke at the gathering and had many people to thank, chiefly University President Andrew Benton. Watson credited Benton with providing the one-time funding that allowed the project to proceed.
Benton also spoke to the assembled student-athletes and thanked them for their dedication:
"I don't know how you explain it, really, when you think about a school that is as young as this one, founded in 1937 and we've only been on campus since 1972. How do you explain the number of Olympians we've had? How do you explain the number of national championships we've had? How do you explain the number of conference championships we've had? It's really a remarkable story, and a story that's found in each and every one of you. I know you were recruited and had opportunities to play somewhere else, but you chose Pepperdine. And I'm so proud of that and so grateful for that. How do you explain that we win two-thirds of all athletics contests that we enter, and we play schools that many times larger than we are? The answer is heart and hard work.
"We've been able to give you really good facilities in some areas. Someday we're going to build a fabulous sports arena on this campus. But in the meanwhile we don't want to stand still, we don't want to hold back. You've got four years of competition and we want to put you in a position to compete at the highest possible level and to become Olympians and champions. So we felt we could support you by better training, and maybe we could find a place on this campus to dedicate to you for training, so you can be stronger, jump higher, run faster and continue to outperform the competition.
"Some thanks have come my way today, but it is I who thank you, for the fact that you decided to compete for Pepperdine, and you're a Wave. I'm so proud of our coaches and our student-athletes. This facility is dedicated to you, the student-athlete."
Potts went through a list of Pepperdine staff that were key to the project's success: Dean of Student Affairs Mark Davis, Associate Dean of Student Affairs Tabitha Jones, Director of Student Activities Doug Hurley, Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer Gary Hanson, Chief Administration Officer Phil Phillips, Director of Construction and Campus Planning Wilbur Faulk, Campus Architect Chris Portway, project manager Masoud Mahmoud, Assistant Controller David Brant and Director of Athletics Facilities Matt Kalish.
Potts also thanked three others for providing support in purchasing equipment and determining how the room would be set up: Kevin Steele, a Pepperdine alum and former member of the faculty and coaching staff; Beau Daniels, the former men's volleyball assistant coach; and Ryan Capretta, who works with the men's and women's basketball teams as a strength and conditioning coach.
The existing weight room in Firestone Fieldhouse is also receiving new equipment and will continue to be accessible to the Pepperdine community.