Home Sports Rams wave goodbye to their Cal Lutheran era, say hello to camp at LMU

Rams wave goodbye to their Cal Lutheran era, say hello to camp at LMU

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Ram players hold press conferences at William Rolland Stadium on the Cal Lutheran campus.

The Rams used the facilities on Cal Lutheran’s campus for eight years. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

It was supposed to be a temporary home for the ramsa stopover of a few years at most for the NFL team before moving to a new permanent facility at a location to be determined.

Nearly a decade, two Super Bowl appearances and one championship later, the Rams will be on the field for the last time at Cal Lutheran in Thousand Oaks on Tuesday when they conclude their offseason program with a road trip.

In August, after holding training camp at Loyola Marymount, the Rams will not return to what has essentially been a trailer park of 75 contiguous, modernized modular buildings in Ventura County. Instead, they will establish another temporary facility in Woodland Hills on the site that will one day house their permanent headquarters.

In a statement, Cal Lutheran said it was “pleased” to have been the Rams’ practice home and for students to benefit from internships with the team, classes led by Rams professionals and other school and community outreach activities. .

In 2018, a Cal Lutheran choir sang the national anthem before a “Monday Night Football” game against the Kansas City Chiefs. The choir dedicated their performance to alumnus Justin Meek, who was killed in the Borderline Bar and Grill shooting that year.

“We thank the Rams for their support of the Cal Lutheran community and the relationships we have developed with them,” the school said.

Read more: Rams rookie Blake Corum starts running during offseason workouts

Rams president Kevin Demoff echoed Cal Lutheran on the relationship, highlighting the choir’s performance alongside first responders.

“Show the world the resilience, strength and power of community,” Demoff said in a statement. “Thank you to the CLU community for making us feel at home and helping us make history.”

The Rams’ residency in Thousand Oaks began in 2016 when the franchise returned to Southern California after more than two decades in St. Louis. They erected a nondescript 53,000-square-foot facility and built two fields with a plan to stay for three or four years.

That timeline reflected projections of when construction on SoFi Stadium would be completed and the Rams’ search for a separate site to build a permanent home for their business and football operations.

However, the Rams played games at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum during the 2019-20 season. Owner Stan Kroenke did not purchase the Woodland Hills property until 2022.

Meanwhile, in the multibillion-dollar business that is the NFL, the Rams have prospered despite their spartan facilities, which pale in comparison to those of most other teams.

Rams wide receiver JJ Laap goes through a drill as head coach Sean McVay watches during a practice at Cal Lutheran.

Rams wide receiver JJ Laap goes through a drill as head coach Sean McVay watches during a practice at Cal Lutheran. (Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press)

“We have what we need here,” coach Sean McVay said in 2019.

In a 2024 player survey by the NFL Players Association, the Rams ranked 20th out of 32 teams in 11 categories including, but not limited to, dining, locker room and training facilities, coaching and ownership.

“The good staff ratings (players rate McVay highly) ‘cover up’ the lower facility ratings. Respondents also highly value their training staff and strength coaches,” the union said on its website.

However, offensive lineman Rob Havenstein, a 10th-year pro who has been with the team since returning to Los Angeles, said the fancy facility “equals zero” on the football field.

“It’s all window dressing,” Havenstein said recently. “It’s the people in the building: the players, the coaches, the staff and the relationships that are built.

Read more: Rams move training camp to LMU; Matthew Stafford’s contractual situation does not change

“We can achieve the same thing on a roof that leaks every time it rains as if it doesn’t leak. As soon as it starts to rain, buckets come out and, okay, there are some wet spots left. Work to solve it.

“If anything, it gives you more resilience when it comes to facing your usual day.”

Under McVay, the Rams have made five playoff appearances in seven seasons. In 2018, they advanced to Super Bowl LIII. In 2021, they won Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium.

McVay joked last month in a television interview that he longed for a simple luxury: a window in his office.

Don’t be fooled, though: Manic McVay loves not having to deal with distractions at work, even the pleasant ones.

While football operations staff and executives, including general manager Les Snead and vice president Tony Pastoors, will move to Woodland Hills, the commercial part will continue to work from the Agoura Hills offices. Eventually, all of the Rams’ football and business staff will work out of Woodland Hills.

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Relocating to the San Fernando Valley is just one of the moves the Rams will make before opening the season on September 8 against the Detroit Lions in Detroit.

After holding training camp at UC Irvine since 2016, and staying at a luxury hotel for the past few years, the Rams will take on Loyola Marymount in late July. Once again they will be housed in dormitories.

“I did it in college, I did it in the pros,” Havenstein said, “so it won’t be a big deal.”

Star receiver Cooper Kupp said he “loved” the setup in Irvine, but doesn’t mind the move.

“It’s something new,” Kupp said. “New things can sometimes be good.”

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This story originally appeared on Los Angeles Times.

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