Phil Knight plans to build a national powerhouse with new facilities

The Oregon Ducks $68 million dollar expansion to the Casanova Center is nearing completion. The project also includes renovations and improvements at Autzen Stadium,  the Moshofsky Center, and other portions of the Casanova Center.  (Nate Barrett/Emerald)

The Oregon Ducks $68 million dollar expansion to the Casanova Center is nearing completion. The project also includes renovations and improvements at Autzen Stadium, the Moshofsky Center, and other portions of the Casanova Center. (Nate Barrett/Emerald)

Posted by Hayden Kim on Monday, Jul. 8 at 1:00 pm.

When it comes to state-of-the- art facilities, look no further than Autzen Stadium.

Not only have the Ducks outdone themselves once again on the field, but they have taken something so basic as facilities and turned them into their own as they have with many aspects of the football program, from the no-huddle offense to their unique attire. Oregon may already look fashionable on the field, but its facilities have only recently begun to match the team.

So how much did these new facilities cost?

With the generous help of Nike co-founder and Oregon alum Phil Knight, the total cost for the facilities ended up being $68 million. In addition to renovations at Autzen Stadium, the remainder of the total cost will go toward improvements at the Moshofsky and Casanova centers, making for a complete overhaul in virtually every facility.

Headlining the renovations will be the gigantic 25,000-square-foot weight room, which will include maple locker rooms pricing in at roughly $30,000 a pop. In this locker room, there will be 55-inch flat screen televisions and leather easy chairs for every athlete as well as iPod charging docks in every locker. Connecting everything will be a double-decker sky bridge.

There will also be two movie theaters and nine separate classrooms for the coaches to use at their disposal. Putting the finishing touches on the facilities will be a three-foot thick basalt wall featuring a 12-foot rendition of The Duck mascot with Phil and Penny Knight reflected in its pupils.

So what does this all mean?

Believe it or not, there is an underlying reason for paying so much for new facilities and it doesn’t have to do with merely looking good. Knight’s overall plan is to make Oregon into a college football powerhouse. After appearing in four consecutive BCS bowl appearances, avoiding heavy NCAA sanctions and likely receiving a top five preseason ranking, Knight feels like the program deserved something a little better than what they already had.

Construction crews work on the pathway leading up to the newly constructed building as part of the Casanova Center  extension. (Nate Barrett/Emerald)

Construction crews work on the pathway leading up to the newly constructed building as part of the Casanova Center extension. (Nate Barrett/Emerald)

With what looks to be a mainly black-themed project — if you haven’t already seen pictures — the new buildings come off slightly intimidating and that appears to be the point. Knight wants Oregon football to not only play the best, but look the best. The saying, “Look good, play good” has never been so relevant. The goal with the impressive remodel is to keep top tier recruits signing with Oregon.

In a recent interview with the Register-Guard, Brian Libby, an architecture blogger, had this to say about the renovations: “Recruits will see the ambition that building communicates. This is a complex that aspires to demonstrate that Oregon is at the top of the top when it comes to football programs and their facilities.”

Though the buildings will not be in place until the 2013 football season, the message that Oregon football is becoming a powerhouse has been sent. Winning a national championship is the lone goal of this program and though new facilities are always appreciated, it will merely be no more than a reminder to the program to keep focus on their goals. “Win the Day” was and still is the motto of Oregon football and no facility will be enough to change that.

  • bob chuey

    Scholastics take a distant backseat to athletics.

    • uoalum77

      Never heard of an English department bringing millions of dollars into a community……..never knew of a philosophy department that caused thousands of students to want to attend a school. Your statement reflects outdated thinking. This is truly the Golden Age at the U of O!

    • sheyn

      the knight library and the knight law center came first, not to mention 105 million to Stanford business school.

    • Notmy Name

      Anytime that Scholastics generate the amount of DONATIONS to the U of O Foundation, which supports the entire school, not just the sports program, then they too can have this kind of schoolroom facilities. No problem: Put up the money, or shut up!

      • duckgoose

        Many “donations” to the Foundation are taxpayer-subsidized transactions of season tickets and other perks. Pretty easy for the Foundation to get donations in exchange for actual goods.

    • Strangerinastangeland


    • Mase

      Hey Bob, as a former Masters student in the Conflict and Dispute Resolution program I can assure you that ‘The Knight’s’ made those 3 years amazingly comfortable (the program is housed in the Knight Law Center) with the fabulous facility that they have built for us. One summer I attended Portland State and I could barely stomach the rundown facilities given the luxury I experienced at Oregon Law. I have long stated that if I ever get the chance to personally thank the Knight’s in person they’ll think I am a nut job for the way I carry on about the comforts they have provided all those associated with the University of Oregon.

      • disqus_Zh8hDRwXyI

        Mase, Not disputing the Knight’s generosity to the UO in general, just commenting on priorities w/ the latest/largest gifts. I see the gifts to the athletic facilities as possibly being an investment with returns expected on same. The programs successes are that much more exposure for Knight’s Nike Corp.
        Respectfully I would ask if you felt the amazing comfort contributed significantly to your scholastic development ?

  • Dynasty

    First we make the Natty, then we win The Game

    • Linoleum

      Phil’s on da Bus!

  • uoyeah

    The Duck is NOT PUDDLES!!! How many times does this need to be said!!!

    • alika1732

      Check your duck history and you will find that indeed the duck’s name is puddles.

    • thepar


    • mike

      The ducks name has always been puddle man

    • Strangerinastangeland

      It is Puddles

    • Smitty

      You are correct. Apparently even people writing for the school’s newspaper don’t know the story of the Duck, and very minor role “Puddles” played in it.

      “Puddles” was a live duck that frat boys pulled out of the Millrace in the 30s and started taking to football games. In fact, “Puddles” often not the same duck week-to-week.

      When Oregon and Walt Disney made a “gentleman’s agreement” that UO could use the likeness of Donald Duck, the use of “Donald” in reference to the Duck became common, but the mascot was never officially “Donald” or “Puddles.”

      In fact, the official name of Oregon’s mascot is “The Duck.”

  • Guest

    Stop to think about it and quit with the poor education facilities whining. Phil is paying for it, so the money the school saves by not paying for it themselves goes to education. Not to mention the millions of dollars the school generates from the football program which is because of investment in facilities just like this. Would you rather Phil spend his money on yachts, mansions and gold toilets?

    • Sports righter

      OS needs 30.5% in subsidisies to keep their AD a float compared to U of O’s 2.9% which is money towards academic center and lottery funds. Ever think a U of O students tuition is actually supporting OS sports?

  • Bruce

    All we need now is to have a Nike owned and run TV network for all Duck athletics.

    • Bob


      • Dr. Phil

        How about if we name the team names to the Knights?

  • Sports righter

    I do hope the emerald does a look back story to when Uncle Phil was one of the leaders in academic donations until some students and professors decided his money was not wanted on campus. Dare I think what U of O academics, tuition and services would have been like if Uncle Phil wasn’t chased off campus!

    • Dudemanchu

      They did that story last year. The new editor wrote it.

  • Alum

    I stopped reading at “Puddles.” Not. His. Name.

  • Hayden Kim

    “There’s also a three-feet thick basalt wall (pictured above) that reaches 12 feet in height.There’s also a rendering of Puddles, the Ducks’ mascot, that has subtle images of Phil and Penny Knight reflected in its pupils.”–Yahoo! Sports

  • disqus_JmcFDecx6w

    It would be nice if the rest of the university would upgrade teaching facilities to the 21st century like this.

  • Yoseph

    Yes, Puddles is his name, and has been ever since we were known as the Webfoots and had an actual white Duck as a mascot. Damn band wagoners not knowing the history of their team..

    • Duck Peltzer

      Puddles was a real life duck who’s been dead for along time now which has nothing to do with our current mascot “The Duck”

    • Kyle52

      Um… No. How ignorant. Here is an OFFICIAL poster released by the athletic department to help those of you who don’t know what you’re talking about.

      • Kyle52

        I’ll try the photo again. Or Google “the duck not puddles” and look at the first image result. The Duck has crossed out “Puddles” and written in “The Duck” to make it obvious for everyone that doesn’t know their Ducks history.

  • Kim

    Gotta love Phil Knight!

  • Tillyduck

    Just wait for the expansion of the North Side, adding thousands of seats, then the money will start to flow into the system that Phil and Penny help built.

  • Buff Tony

    Throughout the land, all the pinhead administraitors and their suck up staffs roundly criticize big time athletics because they can’t get their grubby fists on that money and spend the money on their pet projects that would never pass thru a legislative hearing or vote. Yet these same goniffs eagerly jump on board when they can get a “free” vacation to a football bowl game. In the mid 1990′s when Wisconsin athletic dept managed to “lose” money when their Rose bowl cut was over $15 million, the state legislature investigated and found that 932 non athletic dept people and spouses got 5 star hotel and meals paid for courtesy of the football team. When their names were made public these same hypocrites screamed bloody murder that their misdeeds were exposed. Let these same pinheads raise their own money; except they have been unable to for years.

  • The Duck 13

    The Duck, not Puddles. The last live duck named Puddles was in 1947. This article explains (last couple paragraphs):

  • Weston

    Just one question: are those 55″ TVs LED or Plasma? If not plasma, why are they skimping? :P (tfic)

  • Guest

    Puddles is such a cute mascot.

  • disqus_Zh8hDRwXyI

    Fanaticism runs amok, black energy,intimidating,daresn’t speak anything not entirely in agreement with the base.