Horejsi Family Again Helps KU Volleyball Reach New Heights
Two decades ago, the generosity of Stew Horejsi and his family helped ensure that Kansas volleyball had a home of its own. Now the Horejsi family is stepping up again, funding the construction of a brand-new home for Kansas volleyball.
Construction has begun on the Horejsi Family Volleyball Arena, which will become the new home of Kansas volleyball in 2019. The new arena will provide 30,000 square feet of new space for KU’s nationally ranked volleyball program, simultaneously improving both the player and fan experience.
“We want to thank Stew Horejsi and his family for their continued generosity toward KU volleyball,” said head coach Ray Bechard. “This beautiful new arena will allow us to create more opportunities for our ever-increasing fan base. The amenities it will provide for our student-athletes and fans, and the environment it will create, will be instrumental in enabling us to maintain and improve upon the success we’ve enjoyed.”
The new arena will contain an expanded two-story entry lobby with 30 feet of glazing, which will create views throughout the arena. The main competition court will feature a state-of-the-art playing surface (Taraflex), while two practice courts will be made of resilient maple hardwood flooring. Expanded team amenities 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.
The Horejsi Family Volleyball Arena will accommodate some 2,400 fans. An approximately 2,500-square-foot hospitality mezzanine with loge seating will overlook center court and provide a direct connection to historic Allen Fieldhouse. A new Hall of Fame corridor will further enhance the visitor experience, as will a new video board and audio system, expanded and improved ticketing and merchandising space, and integrated graphics throughout the facility.
“It means everything to have people like the Horejsi family support not only the volleyball program, but women’s athletics as a whole,” said Allie Nelson, a junior libero on this year’s volleyball team. “It is amazing to see how much this program and all the other female sports at KU have grown over the past few years, and that stems from the support from people like the Horejsi family.
“This facility brings a whole new element to what Kansas volleyball is, and what we want Kansas volleyball to be,” Nelson continued. “Each time I see the renderings of the new facility, I get goosebumps. I love the original Horejsi gym so much, but this new facility is truly a testament to the growth and hard work that this program has had over the last decade. I have been a part of the last three years of Kansas volleyball, and while those years have been exceptional, this facility belongs to all the women who came to KU and paved the way for our current team.”
One of those women is Jill Dorsey-Hall, who, as a libero from 2001-04, helped lead KU to its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament (2003). “Horejsi Family Athletics Center is a special place,” Dorsey-Hall said. “When you have your own dedicated facility it sets you apart from other programs. No question it has enabled success and allowed Kansas volleyball to rise and flourish. You feel a great sense of pride when you walk into Horejsi as a Jayhawk. It is more than a gym or a place where you play games. It’s where you study, hang out, and laugh with best friends. It’s our home – our place to practice, compete, and represent Kansas volleyball to the fullest.
“Thank you to the Horejsi family,” Dorsey-Hall continued. “I hope you know just how much the friendly confines of HFAC have meant to former players, fans, and future Jayhawks. Your generosity is greatly appreciated. I can’t wait to see the “new” Horejsi and all the memories to come and the continued success it creates for Kansas Volleyball.”
The 2018 season was the 20th and final season that Kansas volleyball called the current Horejsi Family Athletics Center home. Since 1999 the Jayhawks have won 68 percent of their matches in Horejsi (199-96). The 2012-17 seasons in particular saw 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).