Memorial Coliseum: Home of Kentucky Women's Volleyball
In a continuing effort to ensure that UK student-athletes are competing at a first-class level, the volleyball facilities at Memorial Coliseum have undergone a facelift. The volleyball squad is just about to move into a brand new, state-of-the-art locker room in the location of the former men's basketball locker room, which overlooks the playing court. The spacious facilities are in addition to the new offices for coaches and volleyball staff that will make Memorial Coliseum second-to-none.
Kentucky is one of only four schools in the Southeastern Conference (Arkansas, Florida and LSU being the others) to compete in its school's main athletics arena. The expansion has also made Memorial Coliseum the exclusive practice home of the volleyball squad as well. With the construction of the Joe Craft Center, which features practice courts for the men's and women's basketball teams, the volleyball squad never has to worry about sharing practice time with basketball.
The UK volleyball team plays all of its home matches at the Coliseum, the home of the program since it came into existence in 1977. The Wildcats have compiled a 279-128 record, good for a .686 winning percentage in 30 seasons of play in the facility. The Coliseum provides a tremendous home-court advantage for the Wildcats, who went a remarkable 13-2 at home in 2006. It was Kentucky's best home mark since the 1993 season.
Since Skinner's arrival prior to the start of the 2005 season, attendance at Memorial Coliseum has skyrocketed. The Wildcats doubled their home-match attendance in 2006 and were one of only two schools in the Southeastern Conference to average 1,000 or more fans per home contest. The fifth-largest crowd in school history witnessed a near-Kentucky upset of No. 10 Florida in a five-game thriller and also watched as the Wildcats knocked off a top-25 opponent for the first time since the 1993 campaign.
"When our fans come one, they're going to want to come again," UK Coach Craig Skinner said. "We put an exciting team out on the floor that plays with a lot of passion and enthusiasm. I think when kids come to watch our team play, they are going to walk away wanting to be a part of it."
Completed in 1950 at a cost of $3,995,000, the building serves as a memorial to the more than 10,000 Kentuckians who lost their lives in World War II and the Korean conflict. In 1990, a $1 million renovation project added spacious weight training and conditioning facilities, new administrative offices, a players' lounge and team meeting room. As a result, the capacity was reduced from 11,500 to 8,700. During the current renovations, the capacity has dropped to 5,600.
The Coliseum has played host to first and second round NCAA volleyball action as well as the 1983 NCAA Volleyball Final Four. Memorial also currently serves as the home court of the UK women's basketball and gymnastics teams. The storied gymnasium also housed some of the greatest moments in UK men's basketball history as its home for 26 seasons from 1950 to 1976.
In addition to the updated weight training and conditioning facilities, the team can relax in its private locker room or receive treatment in the state-of-the-art training room. The building also houses UK's Center for Academic and Tutorial Services (CATS), a $2.4 million facility which opened in 1998.
From professional tennis exhibitions featuring the likes of Jim Courier and John McEnroe to the annual commencement ceremonies, Memorial Coliseum has played host to just about every type of event imaginable.
Shively Strength & Conditioning Facility
The Kentucky volleyball team calls Shively Training Center its home for strength and conditioning. The 2,000-square foot complex is under the direction of Coach Stephanie Tracey and features a variety of free weight equipment, which complements the training philosophy of the Shively staff.
“Our top goal is to create a comprehensive training program, which encompasses the areas of speed, power, strength, agility, flexibility, balance and nutrition,” Tracey said. “Through these avenues, we are providing the athletes with the tools they need to reach their athletic potential while remaining injury-free.”
The primary focus of the facility is the development of core strength using ground-based, multi-joint lifting through use of the Olympic lifts. By incorporating this explosive style of lifting, athletes become more powerful, resulting in an increase in speed. The core of the athlete’s body also is trained and complemented with a variety of lifts, including squats, lunges, plyometrics, presses, pulls, trunk rotation and abdominal exercise. Through the combination of these exercises, the athletes are better able to reach their goals.
Another major focus of the strength staff is the development of sport-specific speed, agility and conditioning. This facet of training is organized through different types of footwork patterns, drills and linear fitness. While nearly all of UK’s Olympic sports teams train at Shively, they also take part in “Speed School,” a twice-weekly seven-week training session in Nutter Field House.
"Stephanie is one of the premier strength coaches in the country," Skinner said. "She understands what it takes to be an elite athlete and pushes our players each day to reach their potential. The UK volleyball program is in good hands with Coach Tracey."
With the help of staff nutritionist Jill Kindy, the Shively staff also helps educate the athletes on nutrition and supplement awareness.
Every squad trains together at Shively, promoting team chemistry and teamwork. Through this set-up, teams work on mental toughness, attacking goals and maintaining a positive attitude, keeping everyone moving toward a common goal.