Complex Named Hibner Stadium, Dillon Tennis Center
The soon to be completed University of Nebraska Soccer and Tennis Complex, located on 28 acres directly north of Nebraska Innovation Campus, has officially been named Hibner Stadium and Barbara Hibner Field for soccer and the Sid and Hazel Dillon Tennis Center.
In his third year as Nebraska’s Director of Athletics, Shawn Eichorst said the goal before building the new soccer and tennis complex was to develop a first-class on-campus facility that will provide the University the ability to recruit and develop the nation’s best and brightest student-athletes.
“We are very grateful to Chancellor (Harvey) Perlman, the Board of Regents and our tremendous supporters for their support of this wonderful project,” Eichorst said.
Hibner Stadium features a full-sized competition field with lights and seating for about 2,500 spectators. The Huskers will compete in the new facility beginning this fall, moving from their previous home at the Nebraska Soccer Field, which was the smallest competitive soccer field in the Big Ten and the only field in the conference without lights.
Omaha’s Bill and Ruth Scott, both UNL graduates and generous supporters for the schools within the University of Nebraska system, donated the lead gift for the soccer project. The Scott family also donated the lead gift that revitalized the Bob Devaney Sports Center and created Terry Pettit Court for volleyball.
John Scott, Bill and Ruth Scott’s son who oversees the family foundation, said that when his parents provide philanthropic support for athletics, often it is to help collegiate women and high school girls who participate. “Soccer is their latest investment, giving women and girls what they need to compete at a high level,” he said. “The opportunity also became an ideal time and way to honor Dr. Hibner’s vision and overall leadership.”
Naming the soccer facility is a tribute to a program that Hibner helped launch and championed. She served Nebraska Athletics for nearly three decades as the women’s director of athletics and senior woman administrator.
“It has been more than a 20-year dream to have our team play in a soccer specific stadium near our own campus,” Nebraska Coach John Walker said. “The return of night games, a closer proximity of fans to the action and improved fan amenities will greatly enhance the game-day experience for players and supporters.”
Nebraska Softball Coach Rhonda Revelle recalls Hibner carefully analyzing women’s sports that would fit Nebraska and help the Huskers comply with Title IX requirements in regard to participation, scholarships, equipment, training, facilities and other benefits.
“Dr. Hibner did all the research locally, regionally and nationally and was definitely the catalyst for women’s soccer being a sport here.”
The Sid and Hazel Dillon Tennis Center honors the family’s private donation that provides Husker student-athletes with elite practice and competition facilities that rank among the nation’s best. The tennis facility includes 12 lighted outdoor courts and six indoor courts with a combined total of 1,400 seats for spectators.
Kerry McDermott, Nebraska’s men’s tennis coach for 34 years, said the new facilities will create a better learning environment and increased one-on-one time for coaches and student-athletes.
“This is a dream come true for us to conduct practices and host matches both indoors and outdoors on campus,” McDermott said. “This finally puts us on the same playing field with major programs that have top-tier on-campus facilities.”
Scott Jacobson, who has served as the Husker women’s tennis coach for 25 years, said the Dillon Tennis Center is “a game-changer” for student-athletes, coaches, fans and recruits.
“Having a facility of this magnitude will enhance the opportunity to recruit top talent throughout the nation to this great institution,” Jacobson said.
Honoring the Hibner and Dillon names “reflect our overall commitment to excellence,” Nebraska Executive Associate Athletic Director Marc Boehm said. “Having on-campus practice and competition facilities are high priorities for us. We’re proud to see student-athletes, coaches, staff and fans move to new, well-thought out homes that will improve recruiting, heighten fan interest and enhance the game-day experiences in both sports for generations to come.”
Boehm also acknowledged the generosity of the following donors who helped make the soccer and tennis project a reality: Harold and Marian Andersen, Omaha, Neb.; Don and Nancy Bouc, Denver, Colo.; Gregg and Sharon Classen, Elkhorn, Neb.; Mark and Debra Classen, Medina, Minn.; Charley Eisele Family, Omaha, Neb.; Lloyd and Donna Hinkley, Lincoln, Neb.; Jeff Jackson, Omaha, Neb.; Roger and Margaret Miller, Lincoln, Neb.; Bill and Lisa Roskens, Omaha, Neb.; Larry and Sheryl Snyder, Lincoln, Neb.; Bill and Sherry White, Milford, Neb.; Gail and Michael Yanney, Omaha, Neb.
The two venues will be officially dedicated on Friday, Sept. 25 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the complex. Nebraska will host its first exhibition soccer contest at Hibner Stadium on Wednesday, Aug. 12. The regular season opens on Friday, Aug. 21 against Kansas.