VCU Releases Five-Year Strategic Plan Aimed At Raising School's Athletic Profile
VCU AD Ed McLaughlin on Wednesday released a five-year strategic plan that he "hopes will make the Rams a major player in Division I in all sports but football," according to Tim Pearrell of the RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH. McLaughlin believes that the plan will "help the Rams continue to build on the momentum and become 'an elite-level' program." The plan "includes eight themes: strengthening VCU’s Division I position; enriching the student-athlete experience; expecting academic success; providing championship quality facilities; growing athletics revenues; sustaining fiscal responsibility; embracing equity and diversity; and constructing an optimal Division I infrastructure." However, "adding football is not part of the plan." New facilities, upgrades and money "will be required." McLaughlin's "first priority remains getting a privately funded basketball practice facility built." He said that the school "has some gifts that need to be finalized" and hopes to have the $14-16M needed for the facility "by the end of the summer." Other priorities "include possible expansion" of the basketball program's Siegel Center. McLaughlin said that expansion "depends on what a study says can be done 'without losing the environment.'" He added that the athletics department had a "small surplus this year and he expects the budget to be balanced in the future." VCU had a $981,848 deficit in '11-12 (RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH, 7/18).
WOLF'S LAIR: The AP's Aaron Beard wrote N.C. State AD Debbie Yow, in the three years since she arrived at the school, has "put her imprint on a program that is nearing the top-25 goal with strong postseason performances." She has "made coaching changes for three of the school's four highest-profile sports," and is "working to improve facilities." Yow said that the school "has already spent more than $900,000 in various upgrades to the football program" since this year's hire of coach Dave Doeren, "including a turf practice field and a $90,000 nutrition bar for the players." The school also is "planning an indoor practice facility" at an estimated cost of $14M. Plans for women's basketball are "under way" and include a $35M renovation of Reynolds Coliseum (AP, 7/17).