January 23, 2012
SAN DIEGO, Calif. — The San Diego State baseball locker room was transformed over the winter break, creating a clubhouse the Aztecs are eager to enjoy and proud to call home.
“I’m really happy with the way it turned out and I think our players will be thrilled with it, too,” said SDSU coach Tony Gwynn, who spearheaded efforts to make the new clubhouse a reality. “Every team that I played on, the clubhouse was the place to hang out until you got ready to do your business.
“School’s a little different. We’ve got lots of things going on. But I hope that this place will become the place to hang out for our guys.”
The players helped clean out the locker room in late December in preparation for the renovations. A few days later, the construction crew went to work. New carpet and lighting was installed. The lockers were reconditioned, painted black with bright red backgrounds. The ceiling was painted white with red venting. New chairs were placed in front of each locker. The bathroom and showers were refurbished. The last touch was installing three flat-screen televisions, including a 60” TV located in the middle of the action.
The new clubhouse was unveiled at the beginning of the week — and the players were impressed.
“Everyone was like, ‘Wow. Nice,’ ” said junior second baseman Tim Zier. “It’s so clean and professional-looking. We’re all just really hyped about it. They went all out.
“I can tell after just a couple of days that guys have more of an urge to want to get to the yard. Guys are in there hanging out and having fun before practice. It definitely brings us together.”
Gwynn said it dawned on him a couple of years ago that the players were not sticking around much after practices or games.
“It just wasn’t a place conducive to doing things the way we wanted them done,” said Gwynn. “So we made a commitment to do something.”
Tony Gwynn Stadium was dedicated on May 3, 1997 and soon thereafter recognized by Baseball America as one of the finest college baseball facilities in the nation. Now the facility includes a clubhouse to match.
“I suspect the players are going to take a lot more pride in that locker room and keeping their house clean,” said Gwynn. “That’s what I’m hoping they figure out, ‘This is nice. This is our place. We need to take care of it.’ I’m hoping it turns into that place, and I think that it will.”
Every effort is being made to keep the clubhouse clean, beginning with storing cleats in an area adjacent to the locker room. A regular cleaning schedule has been created for the players to execute.
The hope is that the respect given to the new clubhouse and the discipline required to keep it nice will translate to more success on the field.
“It’s a lot nicer than it used to be,” said senior right-hander Bryan Crabb. “It’s more comfortable, which is what Coach Gwynn wanted. He wanted a place for guys to want to be in and hang out in, not just pass through.
“I think it will create a better atmosphere for the team. We’re going to feel more professional.
We’ll see a difference on the field next. If you feel better, you’re going to play better.”