When the Chaminade Julienne faithful return to Mary, Our Lady of Victory Gym to cheer on the Eagles, the look of the new floor will be striking. The real impact of the investment, however, will be felt – not seen.
“I think there are several benefits for the players in our program,” varsity men’s basketball head coach Charlie Szabo said. “First off, safety and health should be vastly improved because of the new floor.”
It had been 70 years since the original floor was installed and time had taken its toll. From splinters to dead spots – where the ball didn’t bounce true – the floor had seen better days.
“We had put some new boards down but it was really just a Band-Aid,” CJ director of facilities Nathan Wilson said. “And the safety of our athletes was our focus.”
With the well-being of the players in mind, Wilson and a team that included several coaches, set out to find a replacement for the vintage gym floor. A road trip to Cincinnati was in order.
Robbins is the flooring company of choice for several NBA teams and NCAA programs alike with the Cavs, Bulls, Duke and UNC among the teams that use the Cincinnati-based company as their court supplier.
“Technology has obviously changed a lot in the 70 or so years since the original floor was installed. One of the big selling points the floor company made when we looked at the different types of gym floors was the amount of research they did on the impact of a gym floor on athletes' bodies,” Szabo said.
“Modern floors try to reduce the impact on joints like the knees and ankles as much as possible. I fully expect to have healthier players as a result of this investment.”
Wilson and the CJ team selected the Robbins Bio-Channel Star floor for vibration control and consistent performance. It features a continuous subfloor and continuous resilient pad providing vibration damping and control. Athletes like the improved shock absorption and ball bounce which results in improved player performance.
“We went with the most tried and true system,” Wilson said. “The old floor didn’t absorb any vibration, so this is a significant upgrade.”
The Robbins’ proprietary floor designs reduce impact to athletes’ joints and muscles to protect their long-term health and career.
“This was a great investment for CJ because of the new technology of the floor which will keep our students healthy,” said Anthony Turner, CJ athletic director. “The technology of today, compared to 70 years ago, will create a great environment for CJ athletes.”
New look and feel
While the players will appreciate the vibration absorption, the fans will be struck by the new court design. Tina Wagoner, director of marketing and communications, created several concepts based on input she received from the community, and worked with Wilson in presenting them.
“We had three really strong options, so it actually took longer to select the design than the floor,” Wilson said.
A group of 45 people – including coaches, CJ staff and students – weighed in on the design options, narrowing the field to the top three choices before selecting the all-around favorite. “Only being at CJ for 6 months at the time, I needed their advice and their insight,” Wilson said. “I wanted this to be a reflection of the CJ community.”
Szabo is excited for his players and fans to see the final product.
“I believe the gym serves as sort of a window into our school,” he said. “Outside of probably the stadium and the school's exterior, the gym is the area where the highest number of people from outside the school experience Chaminade Julienne.
“When we get new uniforms, our players get very excited – I can only imagine what the new floor will do for the energy and enthusiasm in our program and throughout the school.”--This story was published on August 9, 2021.