Coaches See New Facility's Recruiting Value
Randy York's N-Sider
Nebraska Athletics is a national model for, among other things, strength training, nutrition, academics, life skills and total-person development. Anchored in the heart of America, the Huskers aim to compete at the NCAA’s highest level, and today three veteran NU head coaches can give ringing endorsements to that rock-solid commitment. Why? “Because three longtime coaches are getting something they’ve been passionate about for a very long time,” Nebraska Senior Associate Athletic Director Bob Burton said.
“This is a historic day for our Athletic Department and especially for Scott Jacobson, Kerry McDermott and John Walker,” Burton said. “They’ve led those programs for decades, and when the Board of Regents approves a $20.4 million commitment to Nebraska women’s tennis, men’s tennis and women’s soccer, it’s a milestone. It tells everyone that the University is going to do everything it can to enable all three sports to compete against the best.”
Burton has supervised all three sports for long periods of time, so he knows how each coach has tried to maximize potential despite having non-dedicated off-campus facilities. He has a unique perspective about what a major facility upgrade can do for programs determined to compete with the best in both the Big Ten Conference and nationally. He also believes building an on-campus soccer and tennis complex is the best way to remove whatever barriers remained in recruiting the best student-athletes for each sport.
New Tennis Facility Will Have 18 New Courts
“With 12 lighted outdoor courts and six indoor courts, we will be able to show prospects one of the finest indoor/outdoor tennis facilities in the country,” said Jacobson, whose Nebraska women’s tennis team this season was his most successful in 23 years as head coach. The Huskers won the 2013 Big Ten Conference Championship and produced two All-Americans, including NCAA individual runner-up Mary Weatherholt. “Our new facility will really help recruiting within the Big Ten and throughout the nation,” Jacobson said. “We’ll have seating for 1,400 people, and that will really enhance the experience for our players and our fans. Whether it’s a dual indoors or outdoors, we’ll have a fan friendly environment that should help us increase our attendance for home duals.”
McDermott, the second-longest tenured active head coach in the Big Ten, can envision something he’s dreamed about in his first 31 years at the Husker helm for men’s tennis – a world-class facility that he and his team can call home. “This will help us tremendously with our recruiting!” he said. “We’ll be able to showcase some really nice tournaments, and our goal is to bring in some of the top players from across the country and around the world. We can’t wait to be a part of this awesome facility in the near future. It will help us locally and regionally and put us on the map nationally and internationally.”
New Soccer Stadium Will Seat 2,500 Fans
Head Coach John Walker said Nebraska’s new soccer stadium will seat approximately 2,500 people. “That will bring our overall facilities to a stage that puts us on a level playing field with the strongest Big Ten teams,” said Walker, who has led the Huskers to 10 NCAA Tournaments in 19 seasons, including two trips to the Elite Eight and six trips to the Sweet 16. Walker also has coached eight conference championship teams.
Having a soccer-specific stadium on-campus will enable Nebraska to replicate the electricity of its productive past. “We hope to bring ‘Friday Night’ soccer back to Nebraska,” Walker said. “We want to enhance our crowds and make Nebraska a place where recruits want to play and where fans want to come and watch.”
All three veteran head coaches appreciate Nebraska Director of Athletics Shawn Eichorst and his push to create new environments, cultures and homes for three important Husker sports.
Big Ten Champion Coach Likes the Timeline
“I’m grateful for Shawn’s commitment to an on-campus state-of-the-art facility,” Jacobson said. “I’m also grateful for the aggressive timeline to completion. To think that our programs will be practicing outdoors on a brand new facility at this same time next fall is very exciting.”
“I’m grateful that we’re getting such great support across Husker Nation and for making this happen on campus,” McDermott said. “Just having everyone and everything on campus will make a much nicer environment for our student-athletes. We’ll be able to give them more attention and have the time for more one-on-one workouts. It’s a huge benefit and exciting news for Husker Tennis!”
“I am so thankful to our Athletic Department for supporting and providing future Nebraska Soccer teams with a new permanent on-campus home,” Walker said. “It’s exciting to have input into the design of a new facility, and we’re hoping that the new opening will begin an exciting and successful chapter for our program.”
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