Rolfs Athletics Hall dedicated as men’s, women’s basketball practice facility
Observer Staff Report | Wednesday, May 8, 2019
The newly renovated Rolfs Athletics Hall, which will serve as the practice facility for both the Notre Dame men’s and women’s basketball teams, was dedicated this past weekend, the University announced in a press release Wednesday.
The release said the renovation was made possible with a “foundational gift” from Karen and Kevin Keyes. In addition, further “lead gifts” were made by Andrew and Kirsten Braccia and Ryan and Jen Sweeney — who both graduated in the class of 1999. The projected benefited from the support of other benefactors, including more than 330 former men‘s and women‘s basketball players.
When Rolfs Sports Recreation Center originally opened in 1998, it served as the principal fitness facility for the campus community until the Smith Center for Recreational Sports opened in Duncan Student Center in January 2018, the release said. The original building was made possible by a financial gift from the late brothers Thomas J. and Robert T. Rolfs — graduates of the Notre Dame classes of 1944 and 1950, respectively. Renovation of the facility began in January of 2018.
“What a tremendous boost and opportunity for our program,” Muffet McGraw, head coach for the Notre Dame women’s basketball team, said in the release. “It is so important to our players to have access to a first-class facility that allows them to spend time working on their game. As one of the largest collegiate basketball practice facilities in the country, it will give our student-athletes everything they need to achieve their goals and for our program to continue to be at an elite level. We are so grateful to Karen and Kevin Keyes for their incredible generosity.”
The 77,000-square-foot new Rolfs Athletics Hall, which opened in November, boasts video, team and locker rooms for both basketball programs. The building also includes two practice gyms, a strength and conditioning center, office suites and other amenities, according to the release.
“I’ve been looking forward to the opening of our practice facility since I arrived at Notre Dame, and it couldn’t have been made without the generosity and support of our alumni and so many other key donors,” Mike Brey, head coach for the Notre Dame men’s basketball team, said in the release. “With the NCAA’s renewed focus on student-athlete time commitment, our ability to schedule practice, athletic training, rest and recovery separate from a multi-use facility that was forced to serve three programs will pay immediate dividends to the well-being of our student-athletes and coaches.”
Benefactor Karen Keyes, classes of 1991 and 1995, graduated with a bachelor‘s degree in American Studies and a master’s in business, respectively. She was a member and captain of the Notre Dame women’s basketball team during her time at the University. Currently, Keyes also serves as the chair of Notre Dame‘s Advisory Council for the Student-Athlete. Kevin Keyes received bachelor’s degrees in economics and business administration from the University in 1990. He also played on the varsity tennis team during his time at Notre Dame. Currently, the couple resides in Ridgewood, New Jersey, and have previously supported Notre Dame through another “gift to endow the women’s head basketball coach position, the Joyce Grant-in-Aid Program, President’s Circle and Sorin Society,” the release said.
“We are honored and privileged to support the strong tradition of Notre Dame basketball,” Karen and Kevin Keyes said in the release. “The newly renovated Rolfs Athletics Hall uniquely serves the women’s and men’s programs, which are both deserving of the best practice facility in the nation. Muffet McGraw and Mike Brey, their coaching staffs and players are the definition of class, and we are excited to contribute to their continued success.”