The Future is Here
The WSU baseball team won more games this season than they have in the past three. This is large in part to the new state of the art facility that much of the team contributes to their success.
The Cougar Baseball Complex, or otherwise called Project: Back To Omaha, is a $10,000,000 building that just finished construction before the Cougars current 2021 spring season. The facility includes a 1,300 square-foot locker room, a 1,500 square-foot weight and cardio room, academic area, team meeting room, area's for the team's equipment, an athletic training room and coaches offices, according to the WSU Athletics website.
Head coach Brian Green is one of the top advocates for the team's current success directly correlating with the new facility.
"I would love for someone to do a study on records of teams and new facilities and how they correspond," Green said. "The confidence that a new building gives a player that they're important and they mean something to the university is a really big deal, and obviously we're having a pretty good year."
The complex is conveniently located on the third base side of Bailey-Brayton Field. Green said its close location to the field gives the team the ability to extend practices and keep the team in a central area.
"They're able to be at the field longer," Green said. "You do your classroom here on zoom, but guys are hanging around so there's more training going on."
Assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Terry Davis said the new complex is not only great to be in, but gives him the ability to connect with his players in-person more often than ever.
Before the complex was built, the players locker room was located in Bohler Gym and often times the coaches would not see the players until practice time.
"It's nice just to be around the guys more and have less of a player-coach separation," Davis said. "We're more together now, it's cool."
One of the main focuses of the facility is the health and well-being of the players, according to the WSU Athletics website. It incorporates amenities like a hot and cold tub, nutrition center and athletic training room to ensure that focus.
"The nutrition part, that thing is fully stocked each and every day, so the guys are eating healthier," Green said.
The building's cost was completely paid for by private donations. It was approved by the WSU Board of Regents in January 2019 and started construction in the summer of that year, according to the WSU Athletics website.
One of the other features of the building is the team meeting room, which gives them the ability to watch film and communicate as a team in a more ideal environment. Previously, team meetings were typically done outside in the dugout or in smaller groups elsewhere.
"Being able to put something up on a white board, something up on the TV or link your computer to the TV and watch video," Davis said. "In the past you're meeting in the dugout, potentially when its 35 degrees, windy outside and guys can't hear."
Freshman right-handed pitcher Cooper Barnum said the team has improved and gotten a lot better due to the new facility's perks. One of the biggest positives is the locker room, which Barnum said has been monumental in bringing them together as a team.
"It's been huge," Barnum said. "That's where everyone spends the most of their time."
Before the grand opening of the Cougar Baseball Complex this year, the team did a lot of their preparation in the Miller Family Hitting Facility, or otherwise known as The Barn. It has four batting cages, three pitching mounds and a video system for players to analyze their pitches or swings, according to the WSU Athletics website.
Green said that the team is using The Barn even more compared to last year due to how convenient the new complex is for players to stay around at the field.
"Guys are coming [to the field] and have the ability to hit, eat, go lift, maybe go hit again; they can take breaks," Green said. "Before, it was planning your day around one thing, if you were going to come here before practice or after. It's a much better experience for them now."
More information on the Cougar Baseball Complex can be found on the WSU Athletics website.