The Merryman Center, the centerpiece for Virginia Tech athletics, is a $10.6 million all-purpose building that ranks as one of the finest facilities of its kind in college athletics – and it’s only getting better.
Located just a good punt from Lane Stadium/Worsham Field, Merryman opened its doors to student-athletes in 1997 and officially was dedicated on Sept. 26, 1998, in a university ceremony.
The facility is named for the F.W. (Sonny) Merryman family of Rustburg, Va., which presented the university with a major gift, kicking off a fundraising campaign that saw Tech supporters dig deep into their pockets. The result is a streamlined 40,000-square-foot facility that includes some of the nation’s best amenities.
The first floor includes a spacious sports rehabilitation complex where athletes can go to work out on equipment designed to get them back on the playing field quicker. The floor also features a strength and conditioning complex that is magnificent, with a weight room and a speed and agility gym room, both of which were renovated in 2013. In addition, a support personnel locker room sits adjacent to the complex.
The second floor includes Michael Vick Hallway, named after former star quarterback Michael Vick, and it houses a 130-seat auditorium; nine position meeting rooms for use by the football team; and a newly Hall of Legends, which is a showcase of Virginia Tech football. The Hall of Legends, which was renovated in 2013, also includes spacious offices for head coach Frank Beamer and is the home of the video department, with a series of offices that come complete with brand new, state-of-the-art equipment that allows the staff to run nearly $7 million worth of video equipment.
The Hall of Legends, the new entranceway to the Tech athletics department, provides visitors with a brilliant display of Hokie football memorabilia. The area highlights memorabilia from past Virginia Tech football squads, with special emphasis on the Outland Trophy, won by Tech's Bruce Smith as the best college football lineman in 1984, as well as the numerous awards won by Corey Moore following the 1999 season.
Other memorabilia highlights are items from Tech’s Sugar Bowl football victory over Texas in 1995 – as well as Tech’s other bowl appearances – and former Hokies in the NFL. The area also features touchscreen displays that show videos about the various aspects of the football program, and glass cases with game balls and other awards handed out during the season
“The room was designed to provide us with an ideal place for individual meetings with football prospects and their parents,” said John Ballein, associate AD for football operations. “In our opinion, it is quite a showplace for recruiting.”
The exterior of the building is streamlined, too, and has a definite Hokie motif. Even the roof, the only maroon one on the Virginia Tech campus, adds a touch of school spirit. The outside walls of the Merryman Center are a combination of Hokie stone and a more simplified white stone that matches that on Cassell Coliseum, the building next door.
“This is a facility that is really special in every way,” Ballein said. “There is no doubt in my mind that the Merryman Center ranks right at the very top among the great buildings in college athletics.”
Another area of interest is Tech's first-rate video area, something of which Ballein is especially proud.
“The complex has more coaching stations than any other facility of its kind in college football or in the National Football League,” he said.
Beamer’s office is special, too. The 22-by-30-foot room is enclosed by glass on two sides, providing a beautiful view of Lane Stadium/Worsham Field and other parts of the Merryman Center. Beamer also has a great view of the Steve Johnson Practice Fields, two practice fields installed prior to the 2001 football season. The new fields are adjacent to the new football locker room.
“The building, to me, represents a commitment on behalf of the university,” Beamer said. “The construction of Merryman clearly demonstrates the university's determination to maintain a top athletics program year in and year out. All of us connected with football are extremely proud of that.”
165 Spring Road
Blacksburg, Va. 24061