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Ohio State unveils new Covelli Center

Ohio State publicly unveiled the new Covelli Center Monday, the home to five varsity sports at the university. If the grades administered by coaches that will spend countless hours there means anything, the building receives high marks.

“This is the world’s finest wrestling complex ever built,” wrestling coach Tom Ryan said.

Located on Defiance Dr. behind Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, the Covelli Center will be the new training home for both men’s and women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s gymnastics and wrestling at Ohio State. The complex is over 81,000 square feet with an arena that houses 3,700. In combination with the new Schumaker Complex and Jennings Family Wrestling Practice Facility, it includes all the amenities necessary for the seven sports: weight rooms, locker rooms, film rooms, meeting rooms, training rooms, rooms for relaxation and lounges.

“[It’s] certainly great for recruiting, great for the program,” women’s volleyball coach Geoff Carlston said. “Our players went over two months without being on social media. They didn’t want to see any posts about this place, any pictures about this place, because they wanted to be surprised.”

Carlston said players shed tears of joy at the reveal last week.

Gratitude is a pillar Carlston implements into his team, and he says the center gives plenty of reason for his athletes to be thankful.

“When you walk into a place like Covelli, it’s almost impossible not to be grateful,” Carlston said.

In today’s Division I athletics atmosphere, the smallest advantages on your opponents can make large impacts. Kevin Burch, men’s volleyball coach, indicates that having a facility like the Covelli Center gives his team an edge.

Burch enters his first year as head volleyball coach, taking over for 35-year staple and three-time national champion Pete Hanson.

“I’m starting off my first year as head coach in the best facility for a men’s volleyball program in the country,” Burch said. “To be in a place like this, it was so well thought out, from everything from the service space to the practice courts, to the amount of cameras and the technology that we have in here is second to none.”

Burch is a first-time head coach at this level of men’s volleyball. In Covelli he’ll be working in proximity with Ryan, Carlston and other experienced Varsity coaches at Ohio State, learning from their processes.

“For me, as a young head coach to be around coaches like Tom Ryan and Geoff Carlston, it’s pretty amazing,” Burch said.

Ryan thinks it wasn’t so much timing as it was the people working behind the scenes that pushed the idea for the complex forward.

“It was always the right time for student-athletes to be in a place that is as cool as they are,” Ryan said.

What made the center a reality, Ryan said, was the leadership of the current Ohio State administration and the generosity of several donors.

The Covelli Center will be used for both practices and games for the Varsity sports occupying it, and will also host occasional tournaments and women’s basketball games. Women’s volleyball hosts the first match there during an NCAA tournament starting Aug. 30.

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