‘Aha’ Moment Leads to Edwards Family Athletics Center

Man at podium, addressing UC Davis audience
Bruce Edwards addresses the building dedication audience under sign bearing his family’s name. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

Quick Summary

  • At the dedication, Bruce Edwards recalls how he got involved
  • His gift and others led to facility he labeled a “game changer”
  • It’s a hub for training, medicine, academics and Aggie EVO
  • Center also houses UC Davis Health Sports Medicine Clinic

More than 300 people turned out Saturday (Sept. 24) for the dedication of the Edwards Family Athletics Center, a new hub for Aggie student-athletes — for strength and conditioning, sports medicine and team meetings, and for academic work and Aggie EVO programming for successful launch after graduation.


UC Davis Athletics presents the third annual Gunrock's Gallop 5K, a benefit for the ASUCD Pantry. Participate in person, 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 29, or complete 5K worth of physical activity whenever and wherever you choose. Registration fees include a ticket to the Aggie football game vs. Cal Poly, 4 p.m. Oct. 29. Register your pets, too (they'll get a UC Davis bandanna)!

“The Edwards Family Athletics Center is beacon of pride for our department, campus community and UC Davis Health,” said Rocko DeLuca, director of athletics, addressing the audience that gathered for the ceremony, held outside before the UC Davis-Weber State football game.

The two-story, 50,000-square-foot-plus building sits adjacent to UC Davis Health Stadium. As the exclusive provider of health care services to student-athletes, UC Davis Health also has a presence in the Edwards Family Athletics Center: an outpatient clinic to serve the sports medicine needs of other UC Davis students, as well as faculty, staff and the Davis community.

Bruce Edwards ’60, who, with his wife, Diane, made the lead gift, said in his prepared remarks: “What you will be seeing for yourself in just a few minutes took over 10 years from an idea to planning and now completion. The project went through many changes, additions and alterations along the way. I am confident that what stands here now is an amazing center that will serve our student-athletes and teams for decades to come.”

The “CA” athletics logo is displayed throughout the building. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

‘Passion for Aggie Athletics’

Edwards asked members of his family to raise their hands and thanked his wife in particular “for supporting me in my passion for Aggie Athletics.”

It all started, he said, when he enrolled at UC Davis in 1955 on his way to earning a degree in physical education. “While I was here, I played football and ran track. All my life I had a passion for athletics and still do today.

“After graduation in 1960 — and this may be hard to believe — I took a 45-year break from UC Davis. I was busy with life, work and family, but thanks to a few good friends who are here today I got back involved,” first as a donor and committee member for the construction of Aggie Stadium (now UC Davis Health Stadium) as a replacement for Toomey Field.

Student-athletes at ceremony
Some of the student-athletes who attended the ceremony. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

Around that time, he became a member of the UC Davis Foundation, and as part of a board meeting, he joined the trustees on a tour of other athletic facilities, including the weight room at Toomey.

“We were shocked how small it was to support 650 student-athletes and a Division I program,” he said. “For me that was an aha moment. We needed a much larger weight room to be competitive.”

Weight room 4x bigger

Today, the Edwards Family Athletics Center houses the Paul and Nancy Sallaberry Sports Performance Center, nearly four times the size of the Toomey Field weight room, and thus able to accommodate more student-athletes at the times most convenient to them. Learn about the center’s other components, below.

Closeup of weights in blue, gold and gray with "CA" athletics logo
Ready and “weighting” ...
Mother seated with toddler looking at weights, wanting to use them?
... and waiting to be big enough.

“Everyone did agree that if we had a new athletic center, it would be a game-changer,” Edwards said. “The student-athletes would be so excited to have a state-of-the-art facility. The coaches would have a wonderful tool to convince recruits to choose UC Davis to participate in various sports.”

And, after working with three athletics directors and three chancellors, Edwards saw the project to completion. “With the addition of the Edwards Family Athletic Center, we look forward to many great memories and championships for UC Davis Athletics,” Edwards said before leading the audience in a “Go Ags!” cheer.

The Bruce and Marie West Auditorium.

In a statement before the ceremony, DeLuca said, “Words cannot express the gratitude that we have for Bruce and Diane Edwards and his family as the lead donors to this project.

“Bruce’s generosity is not limited to this project, and his giving spirit has made a transformational impact on our athletics department. He is an active participant in our university community and a friend to many of our coaches and staff.

Three men cut ribbon with giant scissors
Gunrock cheers on the ribbon-cutters, from left, Rocko DeLuca, director of athletics; Bruce Edwards, donor; and Gary S. May, chancellor. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

‘Magnificent front porch’

Chancellor Gary S. May said the opening of the Edwards Family Athletics Center “marks a wonderful new chapter in a long history of excellence for UC Davis Athletics.”

“I like to say that athletics are the ‘front porch’ to a university –– the place where we interact most with the community. With this new facility, I have to say our UC Davis porch is looking magnificent.”

He continued: “Our Aggies are distinguishing themselves on and off the field. With this new training and academic support facility, our amazing coaches, trainers and staff will be able to provide comprehensive support, all under one roof.

And, for UC Davis Health, he said, the center fulfills a goal to have an expanded footprint on the Davis campus and provide sports medicine access to the community.

Crowqd outside
Visitors make their way through the building and its various units, such as the Muir Family Sports Medicine Center. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

Rallying other donors

DeLuca noted how Bruce Edwards’ vision and positive attitude helped rally other donors to athletics center project. Other components (and donors):

  • Muir Family Sports Medicine Center — With hot and cold tubs — a common tool for recovery — to help sports medicine and strength staff implement modern and more effective injury prevention and recovery plans. Named for donors Craig ’82 and Katherine Muir.
  • Koret Foundation Academic Success Center — Study and workspace for student-athletes and location of the athletics department library. Home to academic support staff and athletics administration.
  • Klein Family Educational and Professional Success Center — Where student-athletes can study for exams, work on class projects or enjoy a break from their daily class and workout schedules. This area also includes offices and space for Aggie EVO, the multifaceted program focused on preparing student-athletes for successful launch after graduation. Students can use the Klein Family Educational and Professional Success Center for networking and mock interviews. Named for donors Steve ’82 and Roxy Klein.
  • 4 classrooms — For team and staff meetings, as well as general purpose classes. Lead contributors Mike ’76 and Renee Child ’76 are recognized on signs at the entrances to the two primary classrooms.
  • Bruce and Marie West Auditorium — With a capacity of 140 people. Available for student-athletes, coaches and UC Davis students to organize large gatherings. Named for donors Bruce ’71, M.S. ’73, and Marie West.
  • Team suites — For football and lacrosse (both of which use UC Davis Health Stadium) and basketball and field hockey (with facilities nearby). All of the suites include offices for coaching staff, and the men’s and women’s basketball suites include lounges and kitchenettes.
Basketball suite
Women’s basketball staff members Matt Klemin, foreground, and Stephanie Shadwell, in front of monitor, greet visitors in the team’s suite. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

The project also included:

  • Bob Biggs Practice Field, adjacent to the Edwards Family Athletics Center — With natural turf, available to all teams. The field eliminates the need for student-athletes to travel across campus to practice on grass and helps them create the most time-efficient schedule each week. Named after Aggie alumnus and football coach (head coach, 1993-2012).
  • Bob Foster Team Center, inside the stadium — A full renovation encompassing 16,000 square feet, with updated locker rooms, offices, football lounge and equipment space for football, lacrosse and field hockey. Named after Aggie alumnus and football coach, football coach (head coach, 1989-92).

UC Davis Athletics Communications contributed to this report.

Media Resources

Dateline Staff: Dave Jones, editor, 530-752-6556, dateline@ucdavis.edu; Cody Kitaura, News and Media Relations specialist, 530-752-1932, kitaura@ucdavis.edu.

Primary Category

Secondary Categories

Dateline Student Life