Aug. 19, 2005
SEATTLE - One of the most noticeable differences about this year's fall football camp -- other than, perhaps, a new coaching staff -- is that it's being held entirely on the UW campus.
For five of the last six years, the Huskies have spent at least a week's worth of their three-week camp in Olympia on the campus of the Evergreen State College. This year, however, all three weeks are taking place at home, on campus.
One reason why? The new Conibear Shellhouse. The Shellhouse, which opened last May, not only houses the Huskies' legendary men's and women's rowing programs, but also the dining hall, academic services, compliance offices, tutoring areas and computer lab for student-athletes in every sport. And, while in the past, the football team was able to find some rewards in getting away from campus, there are now fewer such advantages.
The mammoth dining hall, nearly double the size of the old one, overlooks Union Bay on Lake Washington in what has to be one of the best dining-hall views on any college campus. The updated and upgraded kitchen also means that UW athletes get top-notch meals and a variety of items each day.
Additionally, the spacious computer lab gives student-athletes a convenient place to work on their studies or simply check their email. Additionally, open lounge space throughout the building provides a quiet getaway for that rare downtime.
Players, coaches and staff have had nothing but good things to say about the new Shellhouse.
"I've been impressed," says junior offensive guard Stanley Daniels. "It's really a big step up from what it used to be."
"The dining room is much nicer than it was before," Daniels continues. "The meals are much better than they were. It's all very high quality. It's a better environment since the view is so nice. The computer lab is excellent and so are all the other facilities. It's just 10 times better."
"The tutoring spots are a lot better," says sophomore kicker Michael Braunstein, who can be found working on his laptop in a lounge quite frequently. "It used to be kind of cramped, but now there are bigger stations, so it's a lot easier and nicer. Plus, the academic counselors are all right there. It's a lot more organized now."
Of course, anytime you add new facilities, you take a step forward in recruiting as a place like the Shellhouse is just one more point of pride that coaches can show prospects.
"It think it's awesome for recruiting purposes," Braunstein says. "When I came here, it was kind of a downside. Now, you have this nice building for meals, and there's wireless throughout it, so you can come and eat dinner and get some homework done."
"It's a nice building and everything is brand new," Daniels explains. "You walk in and it's a comfortable atmosphere. It's definitely something that recruits are going to like to see. It adds to our overall program and helps make us one of those top-tier type of programs."
The Huskies held two split-squad practices Friday afternoon at Husky Stadium. Saturday, it's back to a two-a-day practice schedule with full-squad workouts in the morning and afternoon.