Jayhawks celebrate new arena unveiling

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas volleyball and the athletic department unveiled the new Horejsi Family Volleyball Arena Tuesday, Sept. 10 to donors, staff and others in attendance.

“It was really exciting to see the look on people’s faces as they walked into this beautiful new arena,” said head coach Ray Bechard. “Many people had wide-eye looks and big smiles when they walked into the new arena for the first time.”

The arena provides the Jayhawks with a state-of-the-art facility that was made possible by the facilities namesake, Stew Horejsi.

Horejsi was the original benefactor of the Horejsi Family Athletics Center (HFCA) and further demonstrated his love and passion for Kansas volleyball and athletics with another donation that helped ensure that the Jayhawks had one of the best facilities in the country.

The new arena, which was built in eight months, replaced the HFAC, which was the 20-year home of Kansas volleyball.

In the six-year stretch from 2012-17 in the Horejsi Family Athletics Center, an unprecedented run of success that resulted in regular sellouts at the 1,300-seat HFAC.

During that span the Jayhawks earned six-straight NCAA Tournament bids, reached the NCAA Final Four (2015), the NCAA Sweet 16 (2013), won the program’s first Big 12 Championship (2016) and won 85 percent of their matches in the HFAC (77-14).

The new home of Kansas Volleyball features 30,000-square feet of space that both improve the player and fan experience. In addition, the facility seats 2,265 fans, contains a start-of-the-art Taraflex court, a 324-square foot (12′ 9.8″ by 25′ 3.5″) video board  and 2,500-square foot mezzanine.

“I am beyond excited and happy to see volleyball valued in this community, athletic department and in this campus,” Bechard said. “Thanks to Jeff Long, Mallory Gilliland, our administration and everyone involved that made this possible. The attendance tonight was outstanding.”

Other additions to the facility include custom lockers, expanded showers, a team lounge that includes a film-viewing area with tiered seating, integrated audio-visual, a kitchenette and team storage space.

“Now we have to get a training schedule established because we have been traveling and competing on the road,” said Bechard. “We play Morehead State on Thursday and it is coming up really quick. They have had a high-level of success to start the year and have a long volleyball tradition too.”

Kansas is scheduled to play its first match in the new arena against Morehead State Sept. 12 at 7 p.m., and host the Kansas Invitational Sept. 12-15.

“We will be excited but need to treat it as what it is and take care of the little things,” stated Bechard. “There will be a lot of sensory overload with the video board, additional fans and other distractions that come from a new arena. I think our team will settle in and enjoy the experience of making this place feel like home.”

Fans that are unable to attend the opening match are encouraged to watch via ESPN+/Big 12 Now and follow the Jayhawks on social media for updates, highlights and behind-the-scenes content.