‘Aha’ Moment Leads to Edwards Family Athletics Center

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.

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.

Ready and “weighting” …

… 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…

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