The John McKay Center was dedicated on Tuesday as the new crown jewel of the USC athletic department. The media was given a tour prior to the grand opening by USC senior associate athletic director Mark Jackson, who served as the project coordinator for the athletic department.
Here are some of the highlights of the new facility, which will serve all 21 USC sports in training and academic services, as well as serve as the home for the Trojan football program:
• There is plenty of outdoor landscaping at the suggestion of USC athletic director Pat Haden. He wanted patios, fireplaces, and a place for social gatherings to take advantage of the Southern California weather.
• Outside is a John McKay Courtyard, which has pictures and history of the Trojans famous football coach. There is also a plaque for McKay’s wife, Corky, and recognition for McKay being on the first board of directors for Nike. There is also a statue of McKay outside the building.
• The main entrance is on the south side of the building and there will be thumb and fingerprint security to gain entrance.
• Lobby is dramatic with a photo of an athlete representing all 21 USC sports standing with a backdrop of the beach. The message is that all athletes are part of the JMC.
• Lobby elevator door features a picture of McKay.
• The JMC is home to the Stevens Academic Center, which is the foundation of the entire JMC with a primary mission of graduating Trojans student-athletes. It features a study room with 25 tutorial computer stations, an additional computer lab and a library-like study area.
• The first floor is purposely not geared to athletics but scholastics. There are two classrooms with 40 people per room for academics and an area to encourage students to study with a library atmosphere.
• Computer labs are enclosed in glass with the design to look uncluttered. There is a wall listing the Trojans academic All-Americans.
• The west end of first floor is a place where students can hang out and relax. There is a bust of former Trojans tailback great Ricky Bell. Down another long corridor is a photo of astronaut Neil Armstrong, a USC grad.
• There is an archway ramp outside the building leading down to the bottom floor and the Trojans locker room, weight room, and medical facilities. At the entrance to ramp is a Trojans sword in “stone” and an archway that has Greek words above the archway. Down the ramp on the right are plaques with the names of all the Trojans All-America football players (including T.J. McDonald and Robert Woods). On left of the ramps is a quotation from John McKay. Opposite the door way on the bottom of the ramp is a large “FIGHT ON.”
• There is a large display of Trojans athletic uniforms, which includes a mannequin wearing a home football uniform with a helmet. There is a large video screen that can show recruits how each sports uniform looks. It is an impressive Nike interactive display.
• The Trojans football locker room is shaped like a football and each aisle lists one of the five attributes of a Trojans. Each locker is customized for each player with name, number, and hometown. There are 114 lockers. Room is designed so that the head coach can address the entire team. Players were allowed to give their input.
• There is a players’ lounge. Lane Kiffin was heavily involved in design with thoughts on how this would play to an 18-year-old recruit. Room includes a Pop-A-Shot, an area to sleep, TV screens, a pool table, and an area that emphasizes the Rose Bowl. In the Rose Bowl area a sign says, “We Own The Rose Bowl.” There are huge photos next to the Rose Bowl that includes past Trojans greats like quarterback Mark Sanchez and chairs for players are executive leather with cup holders.
• There is an underground field with artificial turf to be used for sports teams and eventual social events.
• Next to the underground field is a nutritional center and a huge weight room that looks like a 24-Hour Fitness center. It is state of the art. There are 24 “platforms” and “racks”. There are big monitors above one wall, which show past great Trojans athletes.
• There is a hallway that is intended to connect the JMC and Heritage Hall for athletes. The idea is to make HH and the JMC seem as one.
• Across from weight room is the medical area for keeping athletes healthy and for recovery. There are three glass-enclosed Jacuzzis designed for rehab. Along the wall is recognition for the Trojans team doctors and staff.
• Just outside the medical area is a hallway dedicated to USC Olympic greats, which includes results of the recently completed London Olympics. The theme of this area is about courage.
• The top floor has an outdoor lounge dedicated to former football coach Pete Carroll. It includes chairs and couches and a table fireplace.
• In the football reception area, there are replicas of all the Trojans AP national championship trophies, and a large photo of a number of celebrated former players like Ronnie Lott, Anthony Munoz, Tony Boselli, Junior Seau, and Marcus Allen, who also has his photo on an elevator.
• Down the hallway leading to a team meeting room are various exhibits, including a special montage of the Trojans being on TV and a special monitor and photos highlighting the best of Los Angeles.
• The player team meeting area is impressive yet simple. At the front of the mini auditorium is the L.A. skyline at night with the words “We Own L.A.” On the hallway leading out of the auditorium is an impressive historical display of Trojans that have been drafted (over 500-plus) into the NFL.
• There is a recruiting lounge, which faces a 33-by-15-foot tall high-teach video screen, the centerpiece of the area which towers over the lobby of the building. The lounge includes couches and chairs. The area is geared towards the recruit of this era, which means lot of technology.
• There will be future public tours of the JMC, but not at this time.
Note – the coaches offices were off-limits to the media tour due to compliance reasons.