Back to the second of our three-part tour of the new R. Kirk Landon FIU fieldhouse (left) with a look at your Panthers locker room and the rest of the first floor. We'll also walk you through the tunnel that your Panthers will come storming out of on game days.
Before we head on over to the FIU locker room here are some of the other features on the 1st floor of FIU football headquarters. **Click on each photo to enlarge it**
To begin with located north of the FIU locker room is the spacious equipment room (photo, right) -- an equipment manager's dream. The equipment room (photo right) is about half the size of the FIU locker room and located just east of the weight room.
Just south of the equipment room is the laundry room (photo, left), which has a pretty neat feature. In the photo below on the left you see what looks like a large hole in the wall. That hole you see in the photo will eventually have individual slots marked with each player's jersey number for your Panthers to drop their dirty laundry, shoes and all into. Sort of like a laundry chute. The idea comes from the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins have a very similar system for their laundry over at will-always-be-Joe Robbie Stadium to me.
Before we step into the Panthers locker room, we'll give you some shots of the new cleaning facilities. The players got to eventually get clean after the game and here on the right are a look at the new showers and one of the bathrooms. The shower room (photo, right) has 22 shower heads to match the number of starters on offense and defense. So depending on who has the better game, whether it be offense, defense or special teams -- 2 of the 3 FIU units will get first dibs on the showers.
Here on the left is a shot of one of the new bathrooms. Wish I could give you a more detailed account of the bathroom, but we all know what a bathroom features: toilets, urinals and hand wash sinks. No, there will not be a bathroom valet offering mints, mouthwash or cologne to your Panthers.
OK, let's step into the FIU locker room. Like the weight room, when you first step foot in the locker room, the first thing that hits you is the size of the place. Although the locker room is not as big as the weight room, the locker room is plenty big enough with nearly 5,000 square feet (more than 1/3 the size of the 14,000 square-foot weight room) and there will be 120 locker stalls for 120 players should FIU decide to keep that many players on the team.
Here on the right are some different views from the entrance of the locker room. It might not be easy to gauge the size of the locker room with it being all white right now, but when we go back to shoot some more photos in July you might get a better idea of the depth of the place.
Another tidbit about the FIU locker room is that originally there were 2 pillars in the middle of the room. However, in order for MC to stand in the middle of the room to address the Panthers and no player have an obstructed view of their coach and teammates, the pillars were removed. In the photo above on the left, PG in the suit is standing where one of the pillars would have been. Here on the right below the 2 photos of the locker room is a photo of the 2 horizontal beams that were installed to support the area where the 2 pillars would have been.
Let's get the FIU Stadium jumbotron cranking with the Panther running through the Everglades and jumping buildings throughout Miami and pump up AC/DC's "Thunderstruck", you're about to run out of the same tunnel that your Panthers will storm out of on Sept. 26 against Toledo for the first home game of the 2009 season.
At the exit of the tunnel stand a couple of players that will attempt to walk-on to the FIU team in August. Here in the photo on the right are offensive lineman Ralph Garcia-Toledo (left). RGT comes from a Kansas JUCO and is 6-0, 330 lbs. The other player is kicker Manny Juiz (right), who arrived at FIU from the Czech Republic, where he was a talented high school soccer player. MJ can kick field goals with either leg and his career-long is from 72 yards out with his left leg. With the right leg, MJ has a career-long of 68 yards.
We'll finish up the fieldhouse tour next time with a look at the 2nd floor where the 6 extra meeting rooms/suites with the patio deck overlooking the FIU Stadium field are located. Plus, we'll show you MC's office and the 125-seat auditorium for team meetings.
You've gotten a preliminary look at the 1st floor of the FIU fieldhouse. (If you need another look at our 1st tour of the fieldhouse click on the link above on the left). With the first 2 tours in mind, tell us what you like the most.