NCAA BK

Devaney Center's days coming to end

Share This Story

   
 

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP)

It's the end of an era for the house that cigarettes built.

HOOPS HOMES

Whether it's the history of Allen Fieldhouse or the frenzy of Cameron Indoor, college basketball boasts many distinctive arenas. Did your team's home court make the list?

The Devaney Sports Center will host its last college basketball game Wednesday night when Nebraska plays Minnesota, ending a 37-year run as the home of the Cornhuskers.

After a $20 million facelift, it will reopen in the fall as the women's volleyball venue. The basketball teams, which moved into a new practice facility in 2011, will play games in the Pinnacle Bank Arena just west of campus.

''We're going to have state-of-the-art facilities for any major college basketball team or any professional franchise,'' first-year coach Tim Miles said. ''At the same time, it's a sentimental time because there is so much historical value to the Devaney.''

Nebraska certainly isn't a bastion of basketball tradition. The Huskers haven't won a conference championship since 1950 or any of their six all-time NCAA tournament games.

But on the Devaney court, Nebraska has won 75 percent of its games overall (446-148) and 60 percent of its conference games (166-111).

''A lot of good memories,'' said Beau Reid, who provided a couple of the building's highlights during his career from 1988-91. ''It's bittersweet. Sweet because our program is moving on and getting a new facility that will help make us relevant. Bitter because it's not like the Devaney is some dump people move out of. It's still a really nice, clean arena, and I think the volleyball girls will like playing there.''

The building is named for Nebraska's Hall of Fame football coach Bob Devaney, who led the Huskers to national championships in 1970-71 and served as athletic director until 1992. Devaney pushed for a new multi-sports facility to replace the Nebraska Coliseum in 1971. After much consternation, state lawmakers approved a 5-cent increase to the state cigarette tax to fund the construction.

FOXIEST FANS

Check out the FOXiest fans from arenas across the country and tweet us your photo.

The final cost was $13.8 million for the 13,595-seat building that opened in March 1976 as the Nebraska Sports Complex. It was renamed the Bob Devaney Sports Center in November 1978 and has been the Huskers' home through the Big Eight and Big 12 years, and their first two seasons in the Big Ten.

The most exciting years were from 1986-2000 under coach Danny Nee, whose .572 winning percentage is best in program history. He led the Huskers to four straight NCAA tournaments (1991-94) and another in 1998, and coached future pros such as Tyronn Lue, Eric Piatkowski, Erick Strickland and Mikki Moore.

Nee's first visit to the Devaney was in 1980, when he was an assistant under Digger Phelps at Notre Dame. The Irish were in town and lost to Missouri in the NCAA tournament. The building hosted NCAA first- and second-round games three times in the `80s.

''I was so impressed with how it was designed, and the size was really cool,'' Nee said. ''That coach Devaney could get that done with the cigarette tax at such an economical price just astounded me. I didn't know that six years later I would come back to coach in that facility.''

Nebraska beat 33 ranked opponents at the Devaney, but maybe the most memorable win was against an unranked Kansas team led by Danny Manning in January 1988. Reid's 18-foot shot at the buzzer beat the Jayhawks 70-68, the last game ''Danny and the Miracles'' lost on their way to the national championship.

The Huskers trailed Kansas by as many as 16 points, but they stayed in the game because the Jayhawks missed a bunch of late free throws.

Reid recalled this week that in the final seconds, he and his teammates were supposed to clear out and let Eric Johnson make a play. Reid started to hand the ball to Johnson when the Jayhawks came with a trap.

The ball popped loose. Reid picked it up, took a dribble and got his shot off just in time. It was the freshman's only basket of the game.

''I got my body squared in the air and the ball came off my hand really, really good,'' Reid said. ''I was pretty pleased as it left my hand and hopeful it was going to be good.''

Three years later, as a senior, Reid made a 3-pointer with 2 seconds left to beat fifth-ranked Michigan State 71-69 for one of Nebraska's handful of signature wins. Nee, now the coach at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, said Tuesday that the atmosphere was at its best when big and loud crowds showed up for conference games.

''That building had charisma,'' Nee said. ''If you were behind and started making a comeback, the roof would come off that place.''

Nebraska (13-16, 4-12) plans a night of celebration around Wednesday's game against Minnesota (20-9, 8-8).

An autograph session with former players will be held before the game, a video tribute and introduction of the Devaney family will highlight halftime, and the All-Devaney Center team will be announced. Seniors Andre Almeida, Dylan Talley and Brandon Ubel also will be honored.

Tagged: Nebraska

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



NCAA BK Videos

Georgetown, Syracuse to renew CBK rivalry Posted: Jun 10, 2014
Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson III on the renewal of the rivalry betw...

Cuonzo Martin new head coach at Cal Posted: Apr 16, 2014
Cuonzo Martin is introduced as Cal's new head coach.

UConn tops Notre Dame in women's final Posted: Apr 09, 2014
Hear from Geno Auriemma and his players after their National Championship victor...

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike Florida Gators #1 Replica Elite Basketball Jersey - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/885881/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_885000/ff_885881_xl.jpg&w=100 74.95 Nike Florida Gators #1 Replica Elite Basketball Jersey - Black
    Nike Georgetown Hoyas #22 Hyper Elite Road Performance Jersey - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Georgetown_Hoyas/browse/featuredproduct/1030243/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1030000/ff_1030243_xl.jpg&w=100 119.95 Nike Georgetown Hoyas #22 Hyper Elite Road Performance Jersey - Navy Blue
    Nike Duke Blue Devils #5 Tourney Takeover Replica T-Shirt - Duke Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Duke_Blue_Devils/browse/featuredproduct/1032710/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1032000/ff_1032710_xl.jpg&w=100 27.95 Nike Duke Blue Devils #5 Tourney Takeover Replica T-Shirt - Duke Blue
    Nike Oregon Ducks X-Ray Ball T-Shirt - Green http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oregon_Ducks/browse/featuredproduct/1052002/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1052000/ff_1052002_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Oregon Ducks X-Ray Ball T-Shirt - Green
    Nike Ohio State Buckeyes Road Warrior Tri-blend T-Shirt - Scarlet http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Ohio_State_Buckeyes/browse/featuredproduct/1052645/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1052000/ff_1052645_xl.jpg&w=100 29.95 Nike Ohio State Buckeyes Road Warrior Tri-blend T-Shirt - Scarlet
    Indiana Hoosiers 2013 NCAA Men\'s Basketball Road to March Madness T-Shirt - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Indiana_Hoosiers/browse/featuredproduct/1124528/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1124000/ff_1124528_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 Indiana Hoosiers 2013 NCAA Men\'s Basketball Road to March Madness T-Shirt - Cri..
    adidas Louisville Cardinals 2013 March Madness #10 Premier Swingman Jersey - Red http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Louisville_Cardinals/browse/featuredproduct/1127200/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1127000/ff_1127200_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas Louisville Cardinals 2013 March Madness #10 Premier Swingman Jersey - Red
    adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2013 March Madness #45 Premier Swingman Jersey - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish/browse/featuredproduct/1127218/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1127000/ff_1127218_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2013 March Madness #45 Premier Swingman Jersey ..
    Nike Gonzaga Bulldogs March Madness Bracketville T-Shirt - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Gonzaga_Bulldogs/browse/featuredproduct/1155821/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1155000/ff_1155821_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Gonzaga Bulldogs March Madness Bracketville T-Shirt - Navy Blue
    Top of the World Miami Hurricanes 2013 NCAA ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament Champions Adjustable Hat – Green http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Hurricanes/browse/featuredproduct/1177723/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1177000/ff_1177723_xl.jpg&w=100 25.95 Top of the World Miami Hurricanes 2013 NCAA ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament Cham..