Nebraska U. volleyball will call Devaney Sports Center home in 2013

By Staff Report

After the passage of the new Haymarket Arena in May, there were new questions about the future home of Nebraska volleyball.

It now appears Nebraska U. coach John Cook has found an answer to those questions.

Cook told the Lincoln Journal Star his Cornhuskers plan to move from their current home in the NU Coliseum to the Devaney Sports Center starting in 2013.

According to the report, Nebraska officials are pursuing a $27 million renovation project for the building, a plan that would smooth the transition for the volleyball program.

“It really comes down to this: We could stay (at the Coliseum) and regret, five years from now, not doing something big for the program,” Cook told the paper.

When the new downtown arena was passed in May, NU Athletic Director Tom Osborne announced a $20 million project to renovate Devaney, a 33-year-old building that seats more than 13,000 for basketball games.

Later that day, Cook said he had no interest in moving his program into Devaney. In August, he changed his tone.

“If I was in charge for a day, we would be building a brand new arena,” Cook said. “But I am not in charge today. We have to try and look at what we have. Devaney now is providing a possible opportunity for the expansion of Nebraska volleyball.”

What changed his mind? For one, the results of a survey Nebraska’s Athletic Department circulated in August that gauged volleyball fans’ interest in seating capacity upgrade.

Cook has said he believes his teams could continually draw between 7,000 and 8,000 fans in a larger arena — the Coliseum holds 4,030 — and Husker fans agreed that 7,000-seat sellouts are possible. They also showed a strong interest in more courtside seating.

The Coliseum currently offers 50 courtside seats. A renovated Devaney would reportedly offer both more courtside seating, as well as skyboxes.

“I feel like we’ve got to take a shot to see if we can get more fans in and build our fan base,” Cook said.

In the end, Cook has insisted his program must not lose its electric atmosphere and home-court advantage the intimate, fan-friendly Coliseum provides.

“We want it to look like a volleyball arena,” Cook said. “When you walk in (the Coliseum), it feels like a volleyball arena. It has to have that feel.”

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