September 7, 2015
Tech dedicates new indoor practice facility
Field is named in honor of Patrick D. Cupp, a former track athlete and longtime supporter of athletics and the university
University story on Indoor Practice Facility Official story on dedication of new indoor practice facility

BLACKSBURG – The Virginia Tech athletics department and the Hokie Club held the official dedication of the new indoor practice facility on Monday morning, inviting all contributors to the facility project for a tour and to celebrate the naming of the field in honor of a former athlete and longtime supporter of Tech athletics.

Tech officials christened the field as the “Patrick D. Cupp Field” in honor of Cupp, a former Tech track athlete who passed away in 2000. Sandra Davis spoke to the audience of between 200-300 people about what Tech athletics met to her deceased husband.

“I’ve never known a more devoted Hokie than my late husband, Patrick D. Cupp,” Davis told the audience. “The reason autumn was his favorite season was because when the leaves turned orange and maroon, that was God’s way of noticing the Hokies.”

Cupp, a 1962 graduate, became a prominent name in real estate and property management in the New River Valley, and he and his wife gave generously both to the university and to athletics, and also to Radford University. Davis, who later remarried and still owns the company (BCR Property Management), continued those philanthropic efforts to honor her late husband.

Davis, who established a track scholarship in Cupp’s memory in 2001, received the university’s Ruffner Medal, which recognizes individuals who have performed notable and distinguished service to Virginia Tech, this past May.

“I wanted to do something really special that Pat really would have wanted to do, had he been alive,” Davis said. “My husband, Jack, and I were at a Hokie dinner in Roanoke, when Frank Beamer and Jim Weaver told their vision, their dream for this building. I sat there and thought, ‘The field … that’s what I want to do in Pat’s memory.’ Jack immediately agreed.

“Pat was so proud to be a graduate of Virginia Tech. His education, of course, played a major part in the success he experienced in business. But he was at his happiest watching the Hokies win. He loved meeting fellow Hokies for the first time, reconnecting with alumni and really seeing what Virginia Tech did to help people have a full and productive life.”

Those in attendance at the dedication included University President Dr. Tim Sands, Tech AD Whit Babcock, Hokie Club leader Bill Lansden, former softball standout Kylie McGoldrick and Jon Laaser, who served as the master of ceremonies for the event. All spoke at the dedication.

Babcock recognized a group of people that included Traci Weaver, and her son, Craig. Former AD Jim Weaver, who passed away in July, saw a need for this type of facility shortly after being hired in 1997, and he spearheaded the approval process shortly before he retired in 2013.

“This was Jim’s vision,” Babcock said – a statement that produced a round of applause. “It means a lot for them [Traci and Craig Weaver] to be here, and I know what this would mean to Jim. Just the chance to come in behind a leader of that magnitude and where he left it … we want to take it and grow it.”

Babcock then thanked all contributors for their support.

“We are indeed indebted to our donors for making this facility possible,” he said.

Contributors seeing the structure for the first time were wowed. Tech’s new facility is 210 feet wide and 400 feet long, with an artificial surface installed by Shaw Sports Turf. The top-of-the-line synthetic turf is fast, firm and dense, and the same surface used at M&T Bank Stadium, the Baltimore Ravens’ home. The height from the playing surface to the bottom of the steel ceiling trusses is over 86 feet at its apex, thus allowing plenty of room for punting and kicking. Its’ eight-foot padded walls, wide sidelines, full scoreboard and 40-second clocks on each end allow the football program to hold a full-contact scrimmage. In addition, the facility features garage-type doors, which open quickly and allow the players to move rapidly from the outdoor practice field into the indoor facility in the event of inclement weather.

The facility also features a video platform that runs the entire length of the field. Three doors at separate locations lead out to observation decks to allow the video staff to film the portions of practice being held outdoors. Beamer also has his own observation deck in the facility, with a door that leads to a deck outside for the observation of the outdoor portion of a practice.

W.M. Jordan handled most of the construction responsibilities, but HKS Architects designed the facility, and the architectural and design features of the building definitely give it a Virginia Tech feel. It possesses maroon trim and Hokie stone on the bases of each support column. The archway entrance resembles that at Lane Stadium.

Plus, the university’s core values – brotherhood, honor, leadership, sacrifice, service, loyalty, duty and Ut Prosim – have been etched along the bases of the columns. Architects borrowed this feature from the pylons above War Memorial Chapel along Tech’s Drillfield.

The number of teams and student-athletes will benefit from the massive structure are almost as numerous as the many unique features of this one-of-a-kind addition to the Tech campus. The athletics department envisions men’s and women’s soccer, softball, baseball and lacrosse all using the building for training and conditioning purposes, particularly during inclement weather in late winter and early spring.’

The completion of the facility allows the athletics department to move on to the next series of projects, which includes renovating Rector Field House. Officials want to keep the indoor track up permanently at Rector (they take it down after the indoor track season ends in March), add halftime locker rooms for soccer and lacrosse matches and build a hitting area adjacent to Tech Softball Park for the softball team. A timetable for the second part of the project hasn’t been established yet.

Also, plans are in the works for improving the Merryman Center, Burrows-Burleson Tennis Center and English Field.

“This year you will hear more of a master plan and where we’re headed,” Babcock told donors. “Even if you’re on the right track, there is a saying that if you just stand still, you’ll eventually get run over. We’re not going to stand still, and we’re going to keep moving forward.

“I believe in our future. Our future is bright … and we will stay on it. Impressive athletics facilities are critical at this level of competition. Virginia Tech will stand out not only among the ACC, but also among the best in the nation. We will strive for excellence.”

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