Basketball performance center planned

Published 10:13 am Saturday, February 12, 2022

With a 17-5 record and perfect 9-0 start in the Big South, Longwood’s record-setting basketball season is getting attention across Virginia and college basketball nationally.

But head coach Griff Aldrich’s four years of relentless work has never been about one special season. It’s about building a championship-caliber program — for the long run.

Longwood took a major step in that direction Wednesday, announcing the new donor-funded Longwood Basketball Performance Center – an elite-level training facility that will support both the men’s and women’s basketball programs.

So far this season, no school in the Big South has more combined men’s and women’s basketball wins than Longwood.

Now, the new Longwood Basketball Performance Center — combined with the opening of the Joan Perry Brock Center in 2023 and the corresponding conversion of Willett Hall into a basketball-specific practice facility — will allow Longwood to offer its basketball student-athletes the best facilities in the conference as well. At 6,000 square feet, the Center will be among the largest basketball-specific performance facilities in the country.

The Basketball Performance Center is being fully funded by a recently formed group of major donors who are investing in the men’s basketball program with the ultimate purpose of elevating Longwood University and its overall mission of developing Citizen Leaders. This group, which began in summer 2021, has collectively committed more than $750,000 over the next five years to the men’s basketball program. The Longwood Basketball Performance Center is the first initiative the Partners group will fund in support of a program that is energizing the entire University.

Aldrich said the announcement shows how success on the court, community support and philanthropy reinforce one another and grow together.

“I am extremely grateful for the generous support of so many, but particularly our Built To Win Partners group who are making the Basketball Performance Facility a reality,” Aldrich said. “This group understood that the central purpose to supporting Longwood Basketball was really about promoting Longwood University and the Farmville community by helping build a sustainable program that would bring joy and pride to students, alumni and community members. To see this facility come to fruition so quickly is a tangible expression of that vision.”

Aldrich is in regular communication with the group, and identified the facility as a top priority. One goal is to upgrade fitness and injury prevention. The other is to help Longwood recruit the very best student-athletes – young men and women who will want to be part of a program that both offers top-tier facilities and can demonstrate a visible commitment and level of community support.

Design work is underway and construction of the new Longwood Basketball Performance Center – occupying space in Willett Hall besides the men’s and women’s locker rooms and the Lancers’ current home floor, and just steps from the new JPB – is expected to take place over the spring and summer of 2022. The facility will be branded with program logos and feature a new fitness floor, weights and other top-grade equipment for multi-functional training.

“The Basketball Performance Center will have a significant and immediate impact on our program in fundamental ways,” Aldrich said. “First, the facility will allow us to significantly enhance the services and specialized training we can provide to our student-athletes. Second, adding a facility of this magnitude elevates the profile of Longwood Basketball in meaningful ways as current players, future recruits and those throughout the basketball community are aware that Longwood is extremely serious about its basketball.”

“The Basketball Performance Center is yet another powerful step forward for both basketball programs,” said Rebecca Tillett, head coach of the Longwood women’s team, which is also off to a historic 9-3 start in the Big South and chasing its own first-ever NCAA Division I Tournament bid. “Through the generosity of donors, we will be able to continue to attract and retain high character student-athletes committed to elevating Longwood Basketball. Thank you to President Reveley and Michelle Meadows for the continued support. Their collective vision of what Longwood Basketball could be is unfolding.”

“It has been remarkable to see the transition of Longwood Basketball these last few years,” Aldrich said. “Under the visionary and bold leadership of President Reveley and Michelle Meadows, we’re seeing a commitment to the basketball programs that is already yielding tremendous returns for our University and community. With the new Basketball Performance Center, along with the arrival of the new Joan Perry Brock Center, Longwood basketball will boast some of the finest basketball facilities for mid-major schools nationwide.”