A&M Breaks Ground on New Basketball Facility

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You can't go to any corner of the Texas A&M campus without finding a construction project. Now, Reed Arena will be the site of yet another.

The athletics department broke ground Friday evening on a multi-million dollar facility for its up-and-coming basketball teams.

The men's and women's teams under the Aggie basketball banner both rank in the top 15. Now, their facilities will rank among the elite as well.

"Three or four years ago, we're fighting for last place in the Big XII conference in men's and women's basketball, and look at us now," said Athletics Director Bill Byrne.

"Now" being the groundbreaking of the Cox-McFerrin Center for Aggie Basketball. The 40,000-square-foot facility will feature practice courts for both teams, locker rooms, meeting rooms, training rooms, and lounge and reception areas.

"In short, it will be a first class facility for our up-and-coming basketball programs, programs that are rapidly gaining national respect and attention," said A&M Provost David Prior.

"It's amazing to look at these plans and what we're about to put together here because it'll be the absolute best one in the country," said men's basketball coach Billy Gillispie.

The project for which ground was broken on is actually Phase 2 of a $51 million set of project across the campus, football, basketball and a multi-purpose facility all included, all bearing the McFerrin name. But the Cox-McFerrin basketball facility is a very uniquely funded project.

"We have no long term debt," explained Jerry Cox, one of the donors. "We have no state funds that are being used. We have no institutional funds being used. We have no ticket revenue that we're relying upon. This is private capital."

And the donations of Cox and Artie McFerrin were among the biggest to the project, for which talks only started seriously at the beginning of this year, talks that have since produced $37 million raised.

"It takes the whole Aggie family, the athletic department," said McFerrin. "I mean, it takes all of us, and we have a wonderful team."

And it's the Aggie team as a whole that months from now will watch its basketball squads roam new halls on its road to even bigger and better success.