Virginia Athletics Notes: Tony Elliott’s New Center Input, NIL, Mental Health

Carla Williams speaks at a ceremony for the new Virginia Football Operations Center. ~ Photo courtesy Jim Daves/Virginia Athletics Media Relations

The wheels for the new Virginia Football Operations Center had been put into motion long before Tony Elliott arrived last December, but that did not mean he would inherit a building without input. Since the groundbreaking ceremony and the final stages of approval had not arrived, there was still time for Elliott to provide feedback.

UVA athletics director Carla Williams said she didn’t speak with potential candidates about the facilities too much during the hiring process, but once Elliott accepted the job, he did get the opportunity to look through the plans and discuss the new center.

“We were not finished when we hired him, so he had a chance to look at the schematic designs and have some influence in that. And he did,” Williams said. “There were some small changes, not many, but there were some small changes that we made to accommodate what he thought was really important.”

Coming from Clemson, Elliott understood what areas he wanted to prioritize. At the Allen N. Reeves Football Complex, many things are featured and the fun accommodations – namely a slide and putt-putt – often lead fan chatter. For Elliott, though, other areas had his attention.

For example, the Tigers’ weight room has a nutrition fuel station built directly into it. Their applied science lab includes recovery pods of different types that require space. Those types of things may not be specifically replicated on the interior of the Cavalier complex, but they represented areas of focus for Elliott. Science and technology upgrades should be part of the plans as specifics get worked out in the construction phase for the building.

“For me, it was making sure that we had the proper dining facility and nutrition stations … to be able to fuel the athletes from a nutrition standpoint,” Elliott said. “Making sure we had the right layout and flow of the building, things were in the right order, that we made space to make sure that we have the opportunity for recovery. That’s a big piece. The science piece is becoming a big component of college football so making sure we had all the proper space dedicated to those areas as we move forward.”

Elliott was quick to credit all the work that went into the Football Operations Center before he arrived. He specifically mentioned the work that Williams put into the process and all those that helped move it along as well.

The first-time head coach also wanted to steer the conversation back to the people within the program and University, though. During his first six months on the job, Elliott said he has routinely found confirmation that he made the right choice to come to Virginia.

“I’m very grateful that they gave me some input in the final stages just to make sure that we had everything we need in the facility to make it a full-functioning facility for the football players,” Elliott said. “I’m just excited that I’m here, facilities or not. I’m just excited that this is the place that I found and got confirmation that it was the right place for me to come lead and now that we have the commitment of the facilities, now we can really, really, really go to work on trying to build the model program in college football.”

NIL & Donations

While the groundbreaking ceremony kickstarted an important operational step for the program, Virginia fans