Money will go to improving training facility, other improvements

STILLWATER, Okla. -- A $3 million gift by Oklahoma State University alumnus Boone Pickens and a business partner will fund new synthetic turf, an upgrade of an athletic strength and conditioning training facility and modernization of the football team's locker area, officials said Tuesday.

Pickens matched a $1.5 million donation from former classmate and business partner Sherman Smith, founder of Service Drilling Co. of Tulsa.

"Coach [Mike] Gundy has assembled an outstanding staff and his bold vision for our football program bodes well for the future of Oklahoma State football," Smith said in a news release from the school.

Gundy said he pursued the funding to "continue the momentum we've built in developing a top-tier football program."

"This gift will greatly improve our program, giving our athletes a new field at Boone Pickens Stadium as well as improved training and locker room facilities," Gundy said.

The new turf is scheduled to be installed over the summer, officials said. The renovation and upgrade of the training facility will feature new strength and conditioning equipment and the new locker room will feature updated dressing and shower facilities and a players lounge.

"Championship programs have championship facilities, and we have made tremendous progress the past five years at OSU when it comes to facilities," said athletic director Harry Birdwell. "Thanks to the leadership of supporters like Sherman and Boone we will
continue to make major strides with our facilities."