After years of planning the University of South Dakota put shovels in the dirt Tuesday afternoon, breaking ground on its $66 million Sports Complex. This was just the first of many historic days to come in Vermillion.
"Never, never, never give up," USD Athletic Director David Herbster said.
That was USD Athletic Director, David Herbster, quoting Winston Churchill at today's ground breaking ceremony. Herbster has never given up hope that this day would come since he became the A.D. just over a year ago. Now he wants to make sure it's done right.
"When you have someone like University President, James Abbott, the foundation that is behind us, plus the alumni and the donor support that has been behind us the whole way, you knew this was going to get done. It was all about making sure that if we were going to do it, we were going to do it right. I didn't want to short change this project and be the guy that 30 years from now people were wondering what I was thinking, because we took shortcuts and didn't do it right," Herbster said.
The Athletic Complex wouldn't be done right without the help of former alum and current Governor, Dennis Daugaard. He admits the 35 year old DakotaDome is still a destination for football, but the Coyotes needed something for Basketball, Soccer, and Volleyball.
"It was great for football and track, but it's too cavernous for basketball and volleyball. USD needed a facility that was built for those sports. Now the fans can get around the action and see it as well as feel like they're with it. USD will now have that. It's an exciting day for them and I'm glad to celebrate it with them," Daugaard said.
So what will be some advantages to this new state of the art facility? It's 6,000 seats doubles the Pentagon and is only half the size of the Premier Center. Women's Head Basketball Coach, Amy Williams, believes this will separate USD from the competition when it comes to recruiting.
"I think there is no question that one of the biggest things that sets division-one athletics apart is its facilities. There is no doubt that we will be at the top in that category and this will set us apart," Williams said.
The Coyotes will host the Summit League Outdoor Track and Field Championships when the facility opens in 2016.