New Cole to Advance the Science of Sport

Building Reinvented as Hub for Athletics, Academics, Research
photo by John T. Consoli

The landmark façade of Cole Field House stands steady and familiar as ever, but inside is a tornado of activity. The sun shines onto backhoes and bulldozers rolling across the open bowl—now stripped of its seats and floor—that in a few years will be a unique complex at the epicenter of sports science.

When completed in late 2018, the reinvented and expanded building will unite programs in academics and entrepreneurship, research in sports medicine and public health, and football operations and athletic training.

“The state-of-the-art facility we envision will define a new era for Maryland—in athletics, in research, in entrepreneurship,” says Kevin Plank ’96, founder and CEO of Under Armour, who pledged $25 million to launch the project.

Its Center for Sports Medicine, Health and Human Performance will bring together students, researchers and doctors to explore such topics as orthopedic injury prevention and rehabilitation; the role of robotics in restoring and enhancing human movement; and the impacts of sports participation on children’s development, and of stress on the performance of first responders and elite athletes.

This effort will be enhanced by an expanded collaboration with the University of Maryland, Baltimore focused on neuroscience, particularly traumatic brain injury, says Bradley Hatfield, chair of UMD’s kinesiology department. He also envisions partnerships involving virtual reality, music and dance, and athletics.

“This community of coaches, scientists and faculty could make for a unique mixture of research teams to solve problems,” Hatfield says.

In addition, the center will include an orthopedics clinic for the public, bringing cutting-edge science and research directly to improved patient care.

Beyond those roles, Cole will give the Academy for Innovation and Entrepreneurship a hub for students to dive into these areas. It will include space designed for hands-on design thinking and startup activities. Students there will be encouraged to test ideas, build prototypes and market new products and services.

“New Cole is a critical part of the strategy to engage all 37,000 students in I&E from all 12 colleges and schools,” says Dean Chang, associate vice president for innovation and entrepreneurship.

Anchoring it all will be the Terrapin Performance Center, the new home for the Maryland football program. The indoor, regulation-size football field will allow year-round training, as well as recreation opportunities for all students. It will house football operations; dining and nutrition programs; and strength, conditioning and hydrotherapy centers—all creating a new center of gravity for Maryland sports.


Elizabeth A. Hanley

Wow! What a transformation ... hard to believe, but I am sure this will be a real 'feather in the cap' for my undergrad alma mater (Phsyical Education 1960)! Here's hoping I get to experience the new Cole Field House someday!

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