To be honest, I really can’t believe it’s already August. But on the bright side… we get football back this month! And what better way to kick off football season than checking out the facility that, in my opinion, is the pinnacle of all facilities in the country. I mean, when the CEO of Nike designs it, you can only assume it’ll be killer. One of our coaches at Texas Tech was the one who showed me this facility when it was first publicized and I’ve been waiting 4 years ever since to see it in person! … it was definitely worth the wait.
The Hatfield-Dowlin Complex is home to Oregon Football and opened up in 2013 just after Chip Kelley’s departure for the NFL. I remember when it came out… everyone at Texas Tech went nuts for it. Personally I’m convinced Oregon started this whole kick on over-the-top facilities and it’s definitely a trend that isn’t slowing down. We’re getting a brand new facility next season at LSU, Florida has some ridiculous plans for their new facility, and Northwestern is completing theirs now. In all honestly, once a facility is completed, it’s already out of date. That’s what makes facilities so fun.
Oregon’s newest deal is the Marcus Mariota Sports Performance Center attached to their Athletic Department building. I know their athletic training is housed in here, but I didn’t go into it. Besides that, it’s really just a shrine dedicated to Marcus Mariota. Not only is Marcus Mariota a legendary player at Oregon but he’s also a great guy. The Titans are lucky to have him! He deserves it.
Phil Knight is the CEO of Nike, and is also an Oregon alumni (if you want to see more on Phil Knight, check out my visit to Nike’s World Campus Headquarters here!)
This room’s a little hard to follow in photographs. It’s nothing but reflective surfaces. But like I said it’s basically just a shrine of trophies that Mariota raked in his senior year at Oregon in 2015. They won the Rose Bowl that year and headed to the College Football Playoff’s first National Championship game at Cowboys Stadium that year which I was lucky enough to attend (fun fact, Mack Brown sat in our suite… the Red Raider in me cringed. I really didn’t want to like him… but he’s a good guy).
Oregon is also the school that started all the crazy uniform trends. That bright yellow and neon green… Most schools before this just had a max of three combos but then Oregon came in with a new combination every game and the country went crazy for it. Cue Kliff Kingsbury and Texas Tech’s run with new uniforms. I got texts every week wanting spoilers on those uniforms!
I know I’ve probably sounded like a broken record my last three or four visits, but offseason is construction time and Oregon wasn’t any exception. This is their indoor practice field, but it was closed for upgrades (but what else could they possibly need?!)
This wall was cool to me. It’s a picture of their huddle made from little duck cut outs. Stuff like this always makes a campus unique!
And here it is in all its glory – the legendary Hatfield-Dowlin Complex. The facility is 5 stories tall and it’s this whole thing. The section to the left, from floor one to give, is the coaches’ parking garage, the weight room (which is two floors), the offensive coaches’ offices, and the defensive coaches’ offices. They connect on the fourth and fifth floors via that glass walkway to the other part of the complex. That part goes lobby/cafeteria (two floors), locker room, offensive meeting rooms, and defensive meeting rooms.
Let’s take a look!
Everyone coming in has to come through the lobby, which is where we started. One of my recruits from my days at Texas Tech signed with Oregon my senior year and is now in his senior year. We caught up after they finished practice and he was nice enough to take me around.
Their lobby is also their trophy room and houses their one Heisman Trophy (Marcus Mariota) and their championship rings. Despite two recent trips to the National Championship (2011 vs. Auburn and 2015 vs. Ohio State) they’ve never claimed a National Championship title.
They have mini versions of their past uniforms in this little display case, but personally I wasn’t a fan. The lobby has plenty of room for the full-sized things. I feel like it probably cost more to make these small versions than it would to reuse the old uniforms on life sized mannequins like most schools… but I’m guessing Oregon isn’t hurting for the money. This facility as-is was $65 million! Not including the renovations and additions.
All of their bowl game and division trophies are in the lobby, too. Now this probably isn’t a good Oregon story, but it’s a good TCU story! And I had just started at TCU in 2016 when they faced off in the Alamo Bowl down in San Antonio. At halftime Oregon was up 31-0. I was in Nebraska at the time visiting an old boyfriend and remember turning off the game because I didn’t want to watch. Guess who ended up winning that game? TCU, 47-41 in triple OT.
A little history for y’all who don’t know, 2015 was the inaugural year for the College Football Playoff system (the Big 12 was the odd man out of the Power-5 conferences that year, but let’s not get me started on that). Oregon took home the Rose Bowl title on New Year’s Day and then headed to us at the Cotton Bowl for the first championship. There’s not much I can do to hide my personal dislike for Ohio State and Urban Meyer so I’ll openly admit I pulled for Oregon that game. Wish this was the Championship trophy instead of just a semifinal!
They also have this super dark little room that you walk into and it plays fans screaming in the stadium. It houses all their championship rings (bowls and division titles) but, man, was it way too loud in there…
Most schools just stick up their Heisman Trophies but I thought this was kind of cool. The pyramid underneath, “supporting” it, was the coaches and team for Marcus Mariota’s winning year. I also wasn’t aware that Scott Frost (new coach at Nebraska) was on Kelley’s staff that year. Now that’s a coach with a LOT of pressure coming at him. Learn something new every day.
We walked back over the training facility next. When you walk in, the strength coaches’ offices line the entry. Pretty nice set up for them.
I might actually work out if I had views like these.
Oregon really just set the bar so high when they completed this facility. Before this weight room and the publicity it received, weight rooms were fairly plain. At least nothing comparable to this. Oregon was the first school I saw to make platforms with their logo under weight racks like this.
Since practice had just let out, we skipped the locker room, which I was pretty bummed out about. Oregon started the barber shop setup trend in locker rooms and I was hoping to see it. Google it if you want to see it. So instead we headed up to the offensive coaches’ floor.
The offensive floor and defensive floor are exact mirror images of each other, down to the furniture. Everything on the offensive floor is neon yellow and everything on the defensive floor is dark green.
The pink, the all white, and the yellow with the wings were my favorite helmets that Oregon has done. I usually don’t like the pink uniforms that teams come out with but Oregon definitely did it best!
Their posters were pretty cool and I would’ve taken one home but I don’t think Oregon yellow matches with LSU purple and gold very well…
Oregon’s meeting rooms are split by floor just like the coaches offices but are connected by this huge staircase. The view of the stadium is perfect! Knowing how chaotic Texas Tech’s tight space got during meeting times makes me really appreciate all of this openness! I’d park myself on one of those bean bags all day, too.
Most schools have ambassador programs (at LSU we don’t, but at Texas Tech and TCU we did) and Oregon does, too. They’re housed out of here. Ever seen a recruit’s twitter and all the decorated envelopes they receive? Those happen right here! I did thousands of them during my time at Texas Tech, but there was only 4 of us. Can only imagine how many Oregon puts out a day! Their student staff is a lot larger.
Again, split up and down, these are the defensive position meeting rooms and below are the offensive position meeting rooms.
We slipped inside a couple (don’t quote me which but I think offensive line and linebackers) to see where all their magic happens. A lot of people probably don’t realize how much time the kids actually spend inside these rooms. It’s much more than just physical practice. They try and make these as fun as possible for the kids. Again keeping with the trend with the neon yellow for offense and green for defense.
Also talk about one incredible view of the mountains!
Their team meeting room was also one of the first to be so tailored to their teams. I remember how jealous our kids were of this meeting room when the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex was published. Everyone, and I mean everyone, went crazy for this facility!
Their smaller position film rooms were pretty cool, too. This one was the Quarterbacks meeting room (which baffled me, because how many quarterbacks does Oregon have at one time?! Not this many…)
Even their bathrooms were awesome (except for the fact that there wasn’t separate bathrooms for men’s and women’s anywhere, even in the all-sports cafeteria… I would be weirded out by that personally).
We headed down to chat with a couple of Q’s coaches before continuing our tour.
Not only do they have a great view of the practice field on one side, but they also have this one of the stadium. Who wouldn’t want to come to work every day? I’d move to Oregon for this. For sure.
We had some coffee in their little staff break room which really isn’t anything to woo over but I thought this painting was hilarious. Personally I think they should move it to the lobby!
The coaching staff here that I briefly got to meet was great. Everyone was winding down from their second day of fall ball. Their excitement shows for the upcoming season but it’s a rebuilding year for the Ducks. It’s also Coach Cristobal’s first season with the Ducks and most of his recruits will redshirt. Coaching a team that isn’t your own is always a chore but the staff seems like they get along great with the guys. Q had nothing but awesome things to say about them.
We checked out the practice fields last. They have two full-sized fields outdoor and then their indoor facility, which was closed. The day I was there it was 78 degrees with a nice breeze. This place is probably incredible in the fall!
Next up was the legendary equipment room for Oregon Football. Their football equipment manager was actually a friend of a friend, so we sat and chatted for some time before checking out the new uniforms for the 2018 season (which, of course, is top secret)…
But they do have the old uniforms on display! A never-ending wall of shoes.
I also loved their all-sports cafeteria downstairs.
And the bathroom was fun too. But, again, not split men’s and women’s… am I the only one that thinks this is weird?!
I passed on checking out the stadium because I had to catch a flight back to Texas pretty quick after. But this stadium is on my bucket list! Texas Tech plays here in 2024… I’ll be at that game. But hopefully I’ll get to check it out before then!
Next up is a sports-filled Labor Day weekend! In a five-day span, we are attending: Cowboys @ Texans, Angels @ Astros, Texas Tech vs. Ole Miss at NRG Stadium, LSU vs. Miami at AT&T Stadium, and Twins @ Rangers. The following weekend I’ll be taking a solo trip to Phoenix to see another Pac-12 school. Coach Likens offered game tickets and a tour of their brand new football facility for the Michigan State game and why on earth would I say no to that?! I’m also going to catch the Braves @ Diamondbacks and Redskins @ Cardinals while I’m out there. There’ll be plenty to see in the month of September!