ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam — The grand opening of what several players and coaches called the best fitness and sports facility they’ve seen coincided with the tipoff of the 2005 March Madness Open Basketball Tournament (See below for results).

About 300 spectators, players and coaches attended a ceremony to open Andersen Air Base’s $17 million Coral Reef Fitness and Sports Complex, which Andersen athletics director Gerry Barnes called a “dream come true.”

“I’ve devoted 11 years of civil service trying to get this facility,” said Barnes, 53, a retired Air Force senior master sergeant who helped design two major Pacific Air Forces fitness centers, including a $10.5 million facility that opened in 2001 at Osan Air Base in South Korea.

Now that Coral Reef is open “I’m elated,” he said.

Dignitaries from as far away as Washington attended, including Art Myers of the Pentagon’s Air Force services directorate and Julie Fetters, Pacific Air Forces plans and programs fitness chief. Col. Terry Crummett, Andersen’s 36th Mission Support Group commander, called the facility the “finest fitness building in PACAF and one of the best in the Air Force.”

The 65,000-square-foot center boasts some $850,000 of fitness equipment, including treadmills, stairmasters and fixed and free weights.

Side by side in the main section stand the facility’s centerpiece: two basketball courts, where most of the March Madness tournament games are to be played through Saturday night’s finals.

Each seats 500 spectators — who can view detailed game information on scoreboards showing everything from the score to individual player totals, even how many timeouts each team has left. Floors are “elastistic,” Barnes said, the same as some NBA teams’ practice facilities. “The floors give. They make you jump,” he said.

“Everything is NBA designed, from the portable baskets right down to the charge/block halos underneath the baskets,” Barnes said, adding that the men’s double-elimination playoffs will follow NBA rules; NCAA rules govern round-robin play and the women’s tournament.

Several players in both March Madness and December’s Osan Pacificwide tournament in South Korea said the new Coral Reef center is a bit better.

“This is so much bigger,” said guard Suzie Lopez of South Korea’s Camp Humphreys Lady Bulldogs. “They have more equipment here. … It’s nice.”

“Phenomenal,” said guard Cliff Claybrooks of the host Andersen Bombers A squad. “The floors on the courts are nice on the knees for us older players” and “it’s open 24 hours a day. If I can’t sleep, I’ll just come in and work out.”

Barnes, who also coached the Bombers A team in its two games Monday, confessed to being tired, both from the day’s rigors and from years of working to make the facility a reality. “All will be well if the customers are happy,” he said.

2005 March Madness Open Tournament

At Coral Reef Fitness and Sports Complex, Andersen Air Force Base, Guam

Day 1

Men's Pool A

Andersen Air Force Base A, Guam 2-0

Ace Hardware, Guam 1-0

Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan 0-1

Naval Station, Guam 0-1

Gamestoppers, Guam 0-1

Monday’s scores

Andersen A 100, Yokosuka 85

Andersen A 2, Naval Station 0, forfeit

Ace 78, Gamestoppers 57

Men's Pool B

Spotlight, Okinawa 1-0

USS Frank Cable, Guam 1-0

Andersen Air Force Base B, Guam 1-1

KFC Dragons, Guam 0-1

Camp Fuji, Japan 0-1

Monday’s scores

USS Frank Cable 91, KFC Dragons 53

Spotlight 71, Andersen B 60

Andersen B 81, Camp Fuji 46

Men's Pool C

Camp Humphreys, South Korea 1-0

Team Guam 1-0

Heat, Okinawa 0-1

Budweiser, Guam 0-1

Monday’s scores

Camp Humphreys 106, Heat 93

Team Guam 111, Budweiser 72

Kunsan Air Base, South Korea 1-0

Osan Air Base, South Korea 1-0

Camp Humphreys, South Korea 1-1

Andersen Air Force Base, Guam 0-1

Bud Light, Guam 0-1

Monday’s scores

Camp Humphreys 86, Bud Light 62

Osan 75, Andersen 54

Kunsan 84, Camp Humphreys 72

author picture
Dave Ornauer has been employed by or assigned to Stars and Stripes Pacific almost continuously since March 5, 1981. He covers interservice and high school sports at DODEA-Pacific schools and manages the Pacific Storm Tracker.

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