North Texas on Tuesday unveiled Light The Tower, a facilities master plan that’s spread across the entire athletics department, cost tens of millions of dollars and take two decades to fully realize.
And while the project is only partially related to football, it’s another example of just how important a successful football program is to a healthy athletics department.
“As we began developing the Master Plan, the most noticeable deficiency in UNT’s facilities was the amount of space provided to our 16 athletic programs,” the plan reads. “At the completion of the Light the Tower campaign, almost all of our sports will have doubled the square footage of their facilities, an expansion that will have a tremendous impact on the lives of our coaches, staff and, most importantly, our student-athletes.”
Football is part of the plan, to be sure. An indoor practice facility is already under construction (UNT held the ceremonial groundbreaking ceremony this past Saturday), and there are plans in the works for an expanded football locker room, an expanded weight room and training facilities and new video boards at Apogee Stadium.
But the plan is so much more than football:
- A brand new basketball arena, which would also house the volleyball program
- A brand new softball stadium
- A brand new baseball stadium, which would require the creation of a baseball program
- A brand new soccer and track & field stadium
- A brand new natatorium
- A brand new tennis indoor facility
This video lays out the entire roadmap. By the end of it, you’ll have lost track of what’s new and what was already there.
— 𝙉𝙤𝙧𝙩𝙝 𝙏𝙚𝙭𝙖𝙨 𝙀𝙖𝙜𝙡𝙚 ® (@northtexaseagle) October 1, 2018
It’s no coincidence this plan was released now, in the midst of a 4-1 football season. Everything is up across the UNT athletics department — wins, donations, attendance, GPAs — but the football program’s tide that lifts the rest of the boats.
With a 20-year calendar, it’s overwhelmingly likely current UNT AD Wren Baker will pass this project along at some point to a new AD, who may even then pass it on to a new AD after them. Seth Littrell will likely be long gone as head football coach.
But whoever the new AD is that one day takes the reins of Light The Tower will want to keep the football program humming like it is in 2018, or otherwise the fundraising to build new homes for the rest of the athletics department will become much more difficult.