New, $10,500 football lockers among the nation’s elite

Steve Helwick

Tom Herman charged at the wooden lockers armed with a massive rubber mallet in his hands. The head football coach sported a bright yellow construction vest and a hard hat as he swung repeatedly with maximum strength at a locker.

Herman’s first offseason with Texas has been nothing short of eventful, garnering headlines for deviating from the norm week after week. In just five months as chief of the program, he posted charts grading his players’ hydration, gave the mascot repetitions at quarterback in a practice and now wielded a mallet while wearing ridiculous getup — attempting to place Texas toward the forefront of attention in the college football landscape.

Continuing the offseason theme of “out with the old, in with the new,” Herman believed the next step in rebranding the Longhorns was to upgrade the team’s football facilities.

“It says that we’re committed to providing our student athletes the best training facilities in the country, as possible,” Herman said. “We’re going to make this facility as state-of-the-art, as first class as we can. There will be no reason from a facilities standpoint for a recruit to want to go somewhere else.”

Despite the relatively large revenue Texas’ athletic programs generate on a yearly basis, the Longhorns’ facilities paled in comparison to those of other in-state programs and rivals. Texas A&M, TCU and Houston, during the final year of Herman’s tenure, all recently upgraded and modernized their locker rooms to dazzle recruits and provide quality treatment for their football players.
It is essential to keep facilities up-to-date and aesthetically appealing to entice top-notch high school recruits to commit to the program. Texas finally etched its name into the ever-ongoing arms race of converting athletic revenue into extravagant football facilities. Late last week, the Longhorns posted photographs on social media platforms of the design of the incoming lockers.

“Unfortunately, guys that have seen other facilities and things like that are like, ‘You know, Texas doesn’t have this, another school does,’” defensive end Naashon Hughes said. “But now with the upgraded facilities, they’re like, ‘Texas has that too’ or ‘Texas is better.’”

The lockers are each worth an estimated $10,500, embellished with unique features including a 43-inch high-definition monitor at the pinnacle. The futuristic-style lockers give the locker room a stainless steel look in contrast to the traditional wooden design. After renovations, Texas’ new lockers rank among the most luxurious in the nation.

“I think it’s outstanding,” offensive coordinator Tim Beck said. “There’s no one in the country that has what we’re putting together right here, both in facilities and in the energy level and enthusiasm that we’re bringing into the program, the unity and the tightness within the guys. It’s different here.”

The underlying reason for spending about $10 million on new renovations is to improve recruiting. Herman mastered this process at Houston, where he landed the program’s first five-star recruit in history, Ed Oliver. After acquiring the 31st-ranked class in 2017 according to Rivals, the upgraded facilities might convince recruits to reconsider Texas as a premier option once more.