MONROE, NJ - Rutgers Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Patrick Hobbs wouldn’t say Wednesday if published reports were correct that St. Barnabas and Robert Wood Johnson hospitals would have their names on a new $10 million practice facility.
Hobbs was the featured speaker at the Middlesex County Regional Chamber of Commerce Leadership Breakfast at the Forsgate County Club in Monroe on Wednesday morning.
He refused, however, to reveal the major local corporation that will be awarded the naming rights to the soon-to-be constructed “four-story Multisport Training Complex to be built on the Livingston Campus in Piscataway.
It is “the first major initiative to be realized from the 2015 Athletics Master Plan” according to a press release from the athletic department circulated Tuesday.
A published report on NJ.com Tuesday said that the naming rights were purchased by Robert Wood Johnson and St. Barnabas hospitals.
“Despite reports credited by five media outlets, we will not reveal this information until the scheduled groundbreaking which is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Nov. 1,” Hobbs said.
The location of the new state-of-the-art site will be adjacent to the Rutgers Athletic Center (RAC) in the south side of the Scarlet parking lot on the Livingston Campus in Piscataway, according to the university.
The complex is designed to be a 295,244 square foot, four-story complex, near the campus’ Business School, the school’s release said.
When completed, “the facility will provide a state-of-the art facility for men’s and women’s basketball, wrestling, and gymnastics. It will also include offices for sports medicine, strength and conditioning, nutrition and training table, administration, and a sports performance lab. An Athletics Hall of Fame and spirit shop will operate off of the lobby,” according to the press release.
The facility will cost upwards of $10 million dollars to construct, according to the release, and is part of the “R Big Ten Build” project that has raised $50 million in just 15 weeks, including the three largest gifts in Rutgers Athletics history, which combine to exceed $11 million” according to the release.
“Our immediate goal is to make all of our programs into winners,” said Hobbs in addressing the 75 people at the breakfast. “Rutgers Athletics has faced many challenges over the past five years, especially that our men’s basketball program has not made an appearance post season in 25 years. We are constantly aware that we are a first class school located in the best media market in the country. High school recruits will like our first class facilities now and (will) in the future.”
Since his arrival at the university, Hobbs has changed men’s football and basketball coaches and promoted someone from within to director of athletic communications.
“My remodeled athletic program is working,” Hobbs said. “We will be very secure with funding in the very near future, as we gain full membership status in the Big 10 in 2021. The conference will also be announcing some very big media deals very soon.”
While optimistic about the sports programs, the football team has faltered this year, losing two weeks ago to Michigan 78-0.
“The success and fun in our football program can not be measured for a couple of years yet,” Hobbs said. “(Head coach) Chris Ash is recruiting from all over the country. He is very pleased with the way the athletic program is marketed. Look all over the roads of New Jersey. See how many cars have the scarlet ‘R’ on their trunks.”
Hobbs said he still can walk around (High Point) Stadium without any disguise, especially after the recent Big 10 defeats (Michigan 78-0).
Despite the football team’s season, Hobbs pointed out that “Rutgers has the second most players in the WNBA (Woman’s National Basketball Association) than any other college, except for the University of Connecticut.”
In addition to Geoff Brown of the Rutgers Marketing Department, Hobbs spoke very highly of Director of High School Relations Rick Mantz (former head football coach at South Brunswick High School.)
“I have literally walked into some New Jersey high school programs and athletic directors and coaches have told me that he was the first person from Rutgers to make an appearance in 10 years,” Hobbs said. “Rick is making these changes with his work every day.”
Hobbs closed his remarks by stating “we will be building winners.”