The University of Houston Cougars are poised to make a giant leap, thanks to a major gift from a secret benefactor.
UH Athletics has received a $10 million pledge to help fund the planned Football Development Center (dubbed FDC), the school announced. Notably, the game-changing boost is from an anonymous donor.
This new pledge comes as part of Houston Rise, the school’s newly launched, $150 million fundraising campaign centered on competitive excellence in the Big 12 Conference. As previously reported, UH is set to join the Big 12 in July 2023.
While specific details are still sparse, the proposed state-of-the-art center is set to open in early 2025, a UH representative tells CultureMap. Aimed at providing top-tier facilities for recruits, players, and staff, the FDC will be located between TDECU Stadium and the team’s indoor practice facility and will stand at 100,000 square feet.
Renderings from UH Athletics reveal cutting-edge weight rooms, lockers rooms, food halls, offices, a film room, recreation spaces, a grand lobby, a sprawling courtyard, and more, all targeted at blue-chip recruits who expect and demand such amenities — especially at rival schools.
“The Football Development Center is the missing piece for us at the moment,” Head Football Coach Dana Holgorsen said in a statement. “Our infrastructure is relatively sound but without the FDC, we are well behind our peers. This brings us up to standard and gives us a resource that will allow us to compete for the talent we need to win in the Big 12. Thank you to those who have and will come forward in support. This project is paramount to our goals for Houston Football.”
UH brass notes that the FDC marks a pivotal moment in the school’s new Big 12 era, calling the facility a “cornerstone” meant to “instantly impact recruiting, student-athlete development, and competitiveness.” Officials also hope that this hefty, anonymous gift will spark more giving towards the Houston Rise campaign. (Those interested in donating can get more information here.)
“This incredibly generous gift brings us one step closer to a new home for Houston Football as we continue to invest in and strengthen all of our athletics programs,” said Renu Khator, University of Houston president. “I’m thrilled by the outpouring of support from our alumni, fans and supporters. Investing in our student athletes and facilities is essential to success on the national level and we are committed to doing just that in the Big 12.”
As CultureMap has reported, anonymous gifts to UH are nothing new. In 2019, the school received a landmark, $50 million gift from a secret source. An anonymous couple donated $8 million to Houston Public Media — the largest gift ever to the UH program. And in 2018, UH’s prestigious, top-ranked creative writing program received $4 million from an anonymous donor.