When Fred VanVleet returned to Koch Arena for the basketball tournament in the summer of 2021, he was amazed that the Wichita State men’s basketball team was still training in the same antiquated weight room that he did.
The NBA World Champion and All-Star thought that given WSU’s unprecedented success during his playing career, which included a run in the Final Four and a record 35-0 start, the facilities for the basketball team masculine would have been improved in the five years since he graduated. It was a sentiment also shared by former WSU strength and conditioning coach Kerry Rosenboom.
“We have to do better for the basketball team here,” VanVleet said at the time. “I know we’ve had a lot of success and there’s been money generated all over the university and it seems like it’s gone everywhere but the basketball team. So I’d like to take the lead on this.
Less than two years later, true to his word, VanVleet has donated $250,000 to kick-start the restructuring process, WSU announced in a Thursday news release. The estimated $1 million project is already more than half of its goal following substantial donations from current WSU top professional athlete and longtime WSU supporters Steve and Regine Feilmeier and Ricky and Jeanie Brotherton.
“The (restructuring project) represents a clear commitment to the recruitment, development and retention of elite talent within our basketball and volleyball programs,” WSU athletic director Kevin Saal said in a statement. who also thanked VanVleet for his “really inspiring” passion for WSU.
The renovation will include new strength equipment and technology to modernize WSU’s training, as well as new performance flooring, turf and a nutritional refueling station. WSU strength and conditioning coaches will have access to the latest innovations in sports science, including an athlete management system that will serve as a central hub for aggregating, analyzing and visualizing performance data.
“We are grateful for the support of generous donors who believe in our holistic approach to student-athlete development and are committed to supporting elite athletic programs positioned to consistently compete for championships,” said Ryan Horn, strength coach and WSU conditioning. “This project not only transforms the Koch Arena weight room into a world-class athletic facility, but provides a unique opportunity to honor the commitment and contributions of past, present and future Shockers.”