Hoop dreams realized: Grand opening for new facility

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By Rachel Follender

Hampton Union, September 17, 2013

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

The Rim Sports Complex
The Rim sports complex, located at 311 Winnacunnet Road
next to the Seacoast United Soccer Club, held a grand opening
event on Saturday. [Ionna Raptis photo]

HAMPTON — Local sports enthusiasts gathered at 311 Winnacunnet Road in Hampton on Saturday to break in five brand new basketball and volleyball courts at Above The Rim, the Seacoast's new state-of-the-art sports complex.

Hundreds attended the grand opening ribbon cutting ceremony, partaking in the complimentary cookout and pickup basketball games inside the facility. Owners Tom Viviano of Hampton and Peter Maher of Exeter said they were excited to finally open the complex nicknamed "The Rim."

"It's been a four-year process from the original concept to the completion of the project," Viviano said.

Viviano got the idea for The Rim years ago when he would drive his children to basketball practices and tournaments all over the area.

"There were no indoor facilities for basketball in the Seacoast," he said.

But The Rim is much more than a few courts. The facility, which is located next to the Seacoast United Soccer Club, has classrooms where children can learn about health and nutrition, and will also be used to provide tutoring and study spaces as part of after-school programs. The 36,000-square-foot sports complex also comes fully equipped with a weight-training center and concession area for healthy snacks.

"We want kids to understand that education is first and foremost, and we want them to be healthy," Viviano said. "We want to be considered an elite facility, but anybody can come and learn to be the best athlete they can be."

While The Rim welcomes athletes of all ages and abilities (there are memberships and programs for the elderly), the staff members are among the best in the area. The Rim has partnerships with The Athletic Performance Center of Exeter Hospital, Spartans Basketball, Visionary Basketball Group, Great Bay Volleyball Club and Zero Gravity Basketball.

"We're surrounding ourselves with the best people," Maher said. "We're all about developing the complete athlete and teaching kids things they can learn and develop throughout their lives."

Spartans Basketball Director Chris Coates said he's thrilled to have a new home base after being at the mercy of local schools to get access to basketball courts. He said he's looking forward to working with so many different coaches and trainers.

"It's a great staff," Coates said. "There are no egos. It's all about the kids and getting the community involved."

"This is a great model to develop the complete athlete," said Anthony Taylor of Visionary Basketball Group, a former Division 1 basketball player for Miami University of Ohio.

"The kids will learn the physical aspects, how to be a leader, and the educational piece as well."

Coates added that the proximity to Seacoast United would allow for a beneficial partnership helping to further develop a shared message of health, leadership and education.

"We help market for each other so we can both be successful," he said.

In addition to team practices and after-school programs, The Rim will host basketball and volleyball tournaments and will be available to rent for company outings and birthday parties.

"It's a lot of fun," said 14-year-old Liam Viviano, a member of Visionary Basketball Group and son of co-owner Tom Viviano. "I'm excited to be spending a lot of time here."

Basketball game at The RimRich Ruffin of Seabrook jumps to deflect a shot by Darius Tibbs of
North Hampton during a game of basketball at Above The Rim sports
complex at 311 Winnacunnet Road in Hampton. Owners held a grand
opening event Saturday at the new sports complex. [Ionna Raptis photo]

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