116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR FALLS — An emotional groundbreaking ceremony for Northern Iowa football’s first outdoor turf practice field took place Tuesday morning.
A donation from Doug and Ann Goschke, Iowa natives and residents of Florida, made the facility possible.
The Doug and Ann Goschke Outdoor Practice Facility — In Memory of Junean Goschke — is named in honor of Doug’s older sister, who was a UNI alum and longtime teacher in Cedar Falls.
The facility — expected to be completed in time for preseason camp — will feature an oversized turf field, lights and fencing and give the Panthers their first reliable, safe outdoor surface they can practice on year-round. It also will alleviate scheduling conflicts in the UNI-Dome with other sports and allow the team to have a consistent practice schedule.
After opening remarks from athletics director David Harris, UNI football coach Mark Farley took to the podium, gave his thanks to Doug and Ann — who were in attendance — and described to the large crowd how impactful the new facility will be.
In an interview with The Gazette after the ceremony, Farley said Tuesday’s event was one of the most special moments of his career.
“Just being a former player here (and) walking in this place (the UNI-Dome) it’s who we are,” he said. “This was our field and this was where we did our work and this was all we knew. Then, to have all our teams go through (here) over the past 20 years doing the same thing and have former players come back and tell the stories that we’ve lived through here, it’s all part of our legacy.
“But now we got a whole different legacy with this field being gifted.”
Entering his 21st year as head coach, Farley said it feels like the beginning of a new, exciting chapter for the program.
“It elevates the program and it just elevates everything we do here,” Farley said. “This is like new life or a new beginning if you want to call it that.
“It’s like a rebirth, if you will, of the excitement that can follow from an event like this.”
— Sources told The Gazette that six-year assistant coach Nick Danielson — who coached running backs the past two seasons — has left the staff for a job at Hudl in Lincoln, Neb.
Former UNI All-American Brandon Keith — who joined UNI’s staff for the spring season as a volunteer — is expected to be officially announced as an assistant coach soon, per sources.
— The Panthers also have made a notable addition to their quarterbacks room this summer.
Michigan State transfer quarterback Theo Day — a former four-star recruit — announced his decision to transfer to UNI recently.
Day, a Dearborn, Mich., native, spent three seasons with the Spartans, but a redshirt in 2018 and extra year of eligibility from the pandemic leaves him with three years of remaining eligibility. He appeared in just two games at Michigan State.