As the "Husker Nation" call has been sounded for over a month now, fans have been wondering what's in store for the storied program. Since Pederson arrived on campus, it's been a variety of changes that have followed in his wake.
Unlike the recent down-sizing, these recent announcements come as a breath of fresh air and a spark of what fans hope will be the beginning of a whole new era in the University's show of appreciation to a fan base that statistically, is the most loyal in all of college football.
Thus, what is considered to be just the beginning of many facility improvements for the athletic program. And, as expected, it starts with the football stadium, the first renovation being focused towards the end-zone seating. "I don't know how many of you have ever sat in the end-zone, but this is what Nebraska fans were sitting on." Pederson stated as held up a piece of aged and tattered wood. "I've had so many people complain about it, the fact that they couldn't read the numbers on it (the wood) and that the seating was uncomfortable."
Not due just to himself being inconvenienced by the sorely-outdated seating, but certainly not absent in it's significance, Steve Pederson announced the changes to end-zone seating that has already taken place. "Every end-zone seat in Memorial, all 40,000 seats have now been capped like the rest of the seats in the stadium with the fiberglass cap and renumbered."
What Pederson considered the most considerable change however is a new Huskers Authentic store that will be located inside the stadium on the West concourse.
Amongst other topics covered was an apparent but considerably voiced displeasure with the lack of being able to see the national championship trophies for the football program. Trophies that have found themselves moved from one spot to another, there hasn't been a permanent home for them or at least, one where fans could view them if desired. Pederson stated that, that was about to change. "We have rectified that now." he said. "The national championship trophies in the west stadium are now on view for the public every day of the week, Monday thru Friday."
"And on game-day, we will open the west stadium area, so that Nebraska fans will have the chance to see all these trophies and view them beginning 4 hours prior to each game."
Alterations to the face of the stadium that were more aesthetic in their purpose were new gate-signs at the entrances around the stadium. In addition to that, a slogan was put over the entrance to gate 20. That slogan reads, "Through these gates pass the greatest fans in college football".
The sign was unveiled by Art Friesen, a resident of Jansen, Nebraska. Friesen is 101 years old and Pederson stated that Friesen's first Husker game that he saw in person was before the Huskers ever played against the "Four Horsemen" of Notre Dame. Friesen was assisted by Paula Varner, the wife of the late "Woody" Varner, former Chancellor and President of the University of Nebraska.
One of the main themes to all the changes have taken place is the "Husker Nation" slogan that has been almost pervasive in University press-releases. Thanks to the idea spawned by two University students, the slogan will now become a venture into apparel, the student-body designing a logo appearing on shirts that will be sold at a discounted rate to students, but will be available to any that wish to purchase one. $5 of the purchase price will be sent directly to the student funded "NuonWheels" program, a safe ride home program to prevent drunk driving.
Along with the new slogan, the plans for the Husker Nation pre-game spectacular was announced in more detail as Pederson indicated just what would be occurring on the 30th, as the much publicized Alumni weekend hit it's peak.
The Husker Nation Pavilion would be an event more than anything, the Ed Weir track set up to sponsor games for kids, an area for the pre-game radio show, fan area, food vendors, areas on the track for corporate tents and appearances by the "Spirit Squad", the University of Nebraska marching band and of course, Lil' Red. This would be a pre-game ceremony that would take place before all home games and aside from the food, all other entertainment is free of charge.
There would also be a Satellite feed that will allow watch parties from around the country to view the festivities at the Husker Pavilion and at the Pavilion, there would likewise be a big screen TV located on the site.
Below is a full list of the changes that were announced today:
Husker Pavillion attractions:
Improvements to the stadium: