SE: Home Sweet Home at the Vanier Family Football Complex

August 10, 2015

By Kelly McHugh-Stewart

Before kicking off fall camp last week, K-State football had the opportunity to check out its new home for the first time.

“It’s incredible,” said sophomore place kicker Matthew McCrane of the brand new, state-of-the-art Vanier Family Football Complex. “I came in at a perfect time. I got to see the old complex and I get to see the new, so I have a great appreciation for everything. It’s a great facility. It really is truly incredible.”

The Vanier Family Football Complex, a 132,000 square-foot building completed in just seven months by the construction management team of Mortenson & GE Johnson Construction and in conjunction with sports design firm Populous, is fully equipped with everything the football players need and more.

From a world-class strength and conditioning center featuring a ramp for plyometric workouts to the Gatorade fuel station to a top-notch sports medicine facility complete with two hydroworks underwater treadmills, there is nothing K-State Athletics left out.

There is even a barber’s room with, of course, a purple barber chair to keep the team looking fresh.

“We have a barber shop now! I think that’s one of my favorite features,” said sophomore linebacker Elijah Lee with a smile. “But our locker room is unbelievable, and also, the theater room is very cool. I’ve never been a part of a football program that has an actual theater room.”

Added fellow linebacker Will Davis, “The locker room is one of my favorite things. That’s where we spend most of our time if we’re not out here (on the field), and that locker room is top notch. Also, as much as I hate getting in the ice tubs, the new recovery pool is awesome. We can get almost the entire team in there at one time. It’s really cool.”

The new recovery pool is located next to the tunnel. It overlooks the field, so it’s the team’s first stop after a hot day at practice.

“It’s cool to have the cold tubs and the waterfall pool when we walk into the complex,” said wide receivers coach and former Wildcat Andre Coleman. “Then you go through the purple maze and to the locker room. It is just unbelievable. It’s pretty special. When you think about this whole facility from the performance table to the locker room to the weight room, it’s phenomenal and it’s an honor to be a part of it.”

Coleman played football at K-State from 1990-93. He’s seen a lot of change within the program and, like his former teammates, is proud of what his alma mater has become.

“We take a lot of pride in it,” said Coleman about how the program has grown and expanded. “We remember where the program was. When I got here, K-State was 1-10, and then the program got better every year. My senior year we won nine games, then 10 games the year after that, and that tradition hasn’t changed. So to see where this place was when I got here and where it is now, to be a part of that, it’s amazing.”

Like Coleman, K-State defensive ends coach Blake Seiler is also a former Wildcat. Seiler played at K-State from 2004-06 and is thrilled to see just how far the program has come since then. 

“To see where it’s come from and to have a first-class facility like this to put us on the map with the people we’re competing against, it’s outstanding. It will really help us recruit,” Seiler said. And as for his favorite feature of the building, he was quick to respond, “The tunnel when the team walks out, that’s pretty cool. They have Coach Snyder’ 16 Goals on the pillars, and ‘FAMILY’ is written above the door. It’s decorated really nice and is very special.”

The team is, of course, taking nothing for granted.

“There are names everywhere,” said McCrane. “You can see all the names of the people who contributed to make this building possible. It’s because of all these families donating money and because of our athletic director pushing all these amazing things – the basketball complex, the rowing building, this stadium – and it’s just outstanding; it’s amazing.”

Truly a team effort, the Vanier Family Football Complex was funded completely thought he philanthropic support of K-Staters all over the world.

“This building is amazing,” said senior defensive tackle Travis Britz. “Earlier I was looking at all the lockers and looking at all the donors names who made it possible. To me, that’s the cool thing about this place: everywhere you look there’s someone’s family’s name on it. You’ve got the Vanier family and Carl and Mary Ice, you’ve got all these people who are here to help us. It’s truly amazing.”

With the new building now operational on a daily basis as the football staff begins preparations for the season, public tours and visits will not be permitted. Information regarding an open house will be announced following the completion of the football season. In the meantime, fans should stay tuned for more video and photo coverage in the weeks ahead.

K-State opens its 120th season of football on Saturday, September 5, by hosting South Dakota. The game, which is slated for a 6:10 p.m., kickoff, will be shown world-wide on K-StateHD.TV beginning at 5:10 p.m., with the K-State Gameday preview show. Details regarding a dedication ceremony of the new Vanier Family Football Complex, which will take place on September 5, will be announced at a later date.


We hope you enjoy K-State Sports Extra. We would like to hear your comments and any story ideas for future emails, so fire them our way. Contact Kelly McHugh or K-State Assistant AD for Communications Kenny Lannou.