July 26, 2013

UMHB set to open D-III football palace

More news about: Mary Hardin-Baylor
Bundled with a student union, the new Crusader Stadium will seat 7,500 people.
Nicholas Jones Facebook photo by Khang Duong
Fans lined up earlier in July to buy season tickets for the stadium's inaugural year.
UMHB athletics photo

Mary Hardin-Baylor has been playing football since 1998, but has never played a true home game, at least not one on campus.

That changes this fall, when Crusader Stadium opens. And it promises to be the jewel of Division III football. Seating 7,500, with a student union attached, Crusader Stadium opens in Week 3 with No. 3 UMHB hosting a night game against No. 5 Wesley.

More than 2,200 season tickets were sold in the first week they were put on sale.

Until now, UMHB has played its home games at Belton's Tiger Stadium, a couple of miles from campus.

"Our president had a vision to have our new student union building and the stadium together here close to the central part of the campus," Scott Dodd, director of campus construction, told KXTX-TV in the spring. "This will hopefully draw students into the athletic program and enhance the experience for them on campus. We want our students and guests to feel our campus and be a part of what's happening here."

Ground was broken in February 2012 on the project, which was expected to cost $50 million and was made possible by a generous gift from Elizabeth and Drayton McLane, the former owner of the Houston Astros.

The stadium was designed by Populous, which designed the new Yankee Stadium, Houston's Minute Maid Park, and was spun off from famed design firm HOK, which designed the iconic Camden Yards in Baltimore and broke the mold for major league baseball stadiums.

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