A new hydration system, a flat screen TV, an academic workspace and 19 lockers are just a few of the many features of the newly remodeled Jan and Ron Haynes locker room for Cal Poly Women’s Basketball.
Ron Haynes, one of the lead donors, said that the old locker room was not in the condition to uphold the expectations of its full potential.
“The student-athletes use [the locker room] as a kind of home base while they’re on campus. They eat lunch there, they meet there not only for basketball, but socially as well,” Ron said. “Understanding that, [the old locker room] just wasn’t in a situation that would help with those types of things for these student-athletes, so the upgrade was most important and needed.”
The remodel has been awaited since spring 2020, until the pandemic put a halt to all progress and construction. Construction was underway through the whole month of December and was completed in early Jan. 2021.
The new addition to the program was made possible through fundraising from over 30 donors raising more than $215,000, led by Jan and Ron Haynes. Jan and Ron are members of the San Luis Obispo community and founders of Fziomed, a biotechnology company in San Luis Obispo.
The Haynes family first came across the program a few years ago when Women’s Basketball’s head coach, Faith Mimnaugh, was in search of fundraisers to send the team to Australia for an international summer tour that occurs once every four years.
After years of close communication, Jan began to admire coach Mimnaugh’s way of influencing people to become the best version of themselves in every aspect.
“[The locker room] was also I think a reward to coach Faith Mimnaugh because she is so remarkable, and also the group of young women that happen to be the student-athletes now and who we’ve seen over the last couple of years,” Jan said. “Incredible academic performance and incredible personal performance on the court but also in our community.”
One of their main goals was to create something that would maintain a “long lifespan” that would not only help the current team, but additional ones to come throughout the years.
Sophomore guard Lily Svetich said that she and the rest of the team are “fortunate” to have a locker room available again after COVID-19 restricted access to the previous one. According to Svetich, the old space was a spot for the team to get together before and after practice and games.
“It’s nice to kind of have that place back again and have it in such nice condition,” Svetich said.
Svetich said that aside from using the previous locker room for basketball-related reasons, it was a spot on campus that allowed the team to focus on schoolwork, allowed opportunities for team-bonding and even served as a getaway “if you needed a break.”
Showing strong academic performance is very important to the program as well, as the team averaged a 3.4 overall GPA during the fall 2020 quarter.
“It’s as much about building strong student athletes, but with an emphasis on student as much as athlete,” Jan said.
Other features of the new facility include new lighting, flooring and ventilation, padded benches that replace stools from the previous locker room, personal wall outlets and combination-secured safes inside each locker. Svetich said the new features combine to create a “nice overall experience.”
Located above each locker are two plaques, one with each player’s name engraved and one dedicated to either a person from the donors list or an honorable mention from the coaching staff.
“I always think personally that it’s cool to see your locker with your name on it and all your teammates,” Svetich said. “It kind of just shows that it’s a space for us.”
In addition to the new team-bonding and studying opportunities, Mimnaugh said she is looking forward to how the team will take full advantage of the locker room.
One main feature that Mimnaugh said she is eager about is the new Wi-Fi accessibility and Bluetooth audio/video systems that will be “huge” for the overall team performance on the court, as the opportunity to go over game film directly inside the locker room will now be made possible.
According to Mimnaugh, prior to the remodel, the team was forced to huddle around her small office to go over film, and the office was even occasionally used as a social setting as well.
“Just being able to have people sit in their own seats without having to be sitting on the floor or halfway out in the hallway, it will make a big difference I think in their attention span,” Mimnaugh said.
However, as the COVID-19 pandemic lingers on, there are a few restrictions that prevent the team from utilizing the new space at its full capability.
Every player is required to wear a face mask at all times inside the locker room, and they are only able to briefly access it at half capacity for about 15 minutes at a time before and after practice.
On game days, when the full team and coaching staff are present, the same restrictions apply. Halftime locker room talks occur by the showers in order to practice social distancing.
Looking ahead past the COVID-19 pandemic, Mimnaugh said she is excited to accomplish a variety of different tasks within the newly remodeled space.
“I just think it’s a spectacular facility and I’m so pleased that all our donors thought enough of our team to be able to provide us with such an outstanding venue,” Mimnaugh said.