A facilities upgrade at the University of Northern Iowa will find the Panther football team playing on a new surface this season. A new Mondo turf has been installed in the UNI-Dome to replace the old turf that had been in place since 1992. Panther coach Mark Farley says he "did not expect to have turf for this season, nor for my life here."
Farley says they hope to practice on the surface as often as possible to get ready for the season. He says there is not other surface in the country like this as it is a hybrid of the field turf and it is made especially for the UNI-Dome do it can be rolled up.
Among the other upgrades is a brand new weight room. Farley says it will be the first season ever with an athletic weight room, as they have had a student body/athletic shared weight room. He says it will make it easier for athletes to do their weight training and still get to class.Farley says the old weight room had scheduling conflicts where they sometimes could not lift before classes and had to miss some workouts.
Quarterback Pat Grace says all the changes are welcomed. He says the old astroturf was hard to land on and he says the new turf is soft.
Senior defensive lineman James Ruffin says all the upgrades will benefit the program. Ruffin says there has been a lot of change in facilities in the last five years and he says all those things were promised and now they are here.
The first home game for the Panthers is September 12th against South Dakota.