The new "Husker Nation" announced

Much anticipated have been the announcements of Athlete Director, Steve Pederson regarding some changes to be made at the University. These changes unlike some recent "adjustments" in personnel have actually made fans openly eager about what will be new at UNL. Pederson met with the media today and announced some of what Husker fans would be seeing this up-coming season and beyond.

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 HuskerNation2s.gif - 17276 Byteshave 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."

"By my own experience, during Spring practice after having read a bunch of letters, climbing up to HuskerNation3s.gif - 17125 Bytes sit in the end-zone, wouldn't you know that I got a splinter in my finger."

Not due just to himself being inconvenienced by the sorely-outdated seating, but certainly not absent in it's significance, Steve Pederson announced the changes to end-zone seating that has already taken place.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 HuskerNation4s.gif - 8554 Bytesstadium. 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.

HuskerNation1s.gif - 13301 BytesThe 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:

  • The Kids Zone - try your luck at many inflatable games, test your skills at Husker Power training, or compete in our punt, pass, and kick competition
  • Live Band - come listen to one of the area's most popular bands, as they get you pumped up for the game
  • Cheerleaders - the Pavilion will be the only place on game day, other than Memorial Stadium, where you will be able to see the NU cheer and dance squads
  • Radio Pre-game Show - the radio voice of the Huskers, Jim Rose, will host a live pre-game show inside the Husker Nation Pavilion with special guests
  • NU Marching Band - during its traditional march to the stadium, the NU Marching Band will make an appearance at the Husker Nation Pavilion
  • Food Vendors - a wide range of food vendors will give your taste buds something to cheer about
  • Big Screen TV - if you don't have tickets to the game you can watch the HuskerVision feed live at Husker Nation Pavilion. During pre-game festivities, enjoy other college football games from around the country
  • Authentic Husker Merchandise - get all the latest gear from Huskers Authentic at the Husker Nation Pavilion
  • Husker Athletes - each game there will be current NU Athletes and former NU Legends available to the fans to sign autographs

    Improvements to the stadium:

  • All seats in the north and south end zones have been covered with plastic capping to improve the comfort and safety for Husker fans. This summer the plastic caps have been added to about 40,000 seats in the two end zones. Following the addition of the plastic caps to the end zone seating this summer, all bench seating in the stadium except the 3,758 seats in the East balcony are covered with plastic. Plastic caps will be added to the seating in the East balcony after the completion of waterproofing in that area.
  • Also in response to input from Husker fans, Pederson addressed a common complaint by updating 20 fixtures in restrooms throughout Memorial Stadium. Most of the improvements have been made in women's restrooms where modern fixtures have replaced outdated toilets.
  • The West Stadium will be open to the public on game days, allowing Husker fans an opportunity to view trophies and awards from the 113-year history of Nebraska football. Nebraska's three Sears Trophies, other national championship trophies, three Heisman trophies, eight Outland Trophies, conference championship trophies and memorabilia from the Huskers' 41 bowl appearances are all housed inside the West Stadium. The trophy area inside West Stadium will be open four hours before kickoff on game days.
  • Earlier this summer, the front of the South Stadium received a facelift. Signage was added to the South Stadium offices making the location more identifiable for Husker fans and improving the first impression of the athletic facilities.
  • Additionally, new gate signs will be added to all entrances of Memorial Stadium before the season opener (Gates 19, 20, 21 already completed). The new signage better reflects the traditional architectural design of the stadium and enables fans to see the gate indicators from greater distances.

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