The new Jon M. & Karen Huntsman Basketball Facility, opened in late September 2015, is already an indispensable feature of the University of Utah’s growing number of state-of-the-art sports facilities for its student athletes and coaches. Thanks to a generous lead gift from the Huntsmans, and additional major contributions to the project from Kem and Carolyn Gardner, the Sorenson Legacy Foundation, and Brent and Ann Wilson, the facility’s unrivaled amenities for men’s and women’s basketball teams, paired with spectacular views of Utah’s natural landscape and Salt Lake City’s downtown, make it an unsurpassable asset in recruiting premium talent to don the red and white.
Entering the new four-story facility through the Kem and Carolyn Gardner Legacy Hall, guests are greeted by a massive 30-foot Circle and Feathers logo mounted on the wall and large banners hanging from the 38-foot ceiling showcasing the Utes’ most notable past coaches and players. Such an impressive welcome into the facility is indeed a “wow” factor for guests and recruits.
The new 101,000 square-foot facility houses first-rate practice courts, locker rooms, and theater rooms for the men’s and women’s basketball teams. The upper levels provide office space for the coaches and outdoor balconies for spectacular views, while the rooftop terrace offers a perfect location for hosting parties.
“The basketball facility is outstanding,” says Kyle Brennan, deputy athletic director at Utah Athletics, who spearheaded the construction of the building. “The attention to detail and the quality gives the facility a feeling of magnificence that is unmatched. This facility is the best in the Pac-12 Conference.”
For visitors, players, and coaches alike, the wonder is in the details—from the block U shaped door handles and crimson couches to the Utah athletics-themed wallpaper. The lockers—black wood for men’s and ash-colored wood for women’s—are personalized for each player with his or her name, team number, and home city illuminated on a sign above each locker. Attached to the locker rooms, the bathrooms boast custom showers and in-ground hot and cold tubs facing 80-inch TV screens. The theater rooms offer projection screens, whiteboard walls, and customized chairs, while the teams can also relax in private lounge areas containing six 55-inch TVs, gaming consoles, and custom-built furniture. The women’s practice court features a stunning welcome with the words UTE PROUD in huge letters on the wall spanning the length of the court. It also promotes wellness and reduces injury by providing a glass-enclosed yoga studio available for use by the men’s team and other Ute intercollegiate teams.
“This facility is a tremendous benefit from a recruiting standpoint and puts us in a position to attract some of the best student-athletes in the country,” says Kyle. “Furthermore, it provides our current athletes with the opportunity to train and compete at a higher level and that translates into competitive success for our teams.”
The new facility would not be possible without the support from Jon M. and Karen Huntsman. The current and future success of the basketball program is owed to their considerable generosity. “These great new facilities are the best in America,” says Jon. “They will make every student athlete proud to be a Runnin’ Ute.