Pinnacle Bank Arena has great sightlines, and so does the facility’s interior.
By Randy York
Thursday was the Grand Opening Ribbon Cutting ceremony for Lincoln’s Pinnacle Bank Arena, and the two head coaches whose teams will be the downtown Haymarket area’s primary tenants could not have been more impressed with their new basketball home after seeing it for the first time in at least two months.
“It’s just unbelievable,” Nebraska Men’s Coach Tim Miles said. “It’s well done, well thought out… great sightlines for the fans. I went and sat in the 300-level seats, 200- level seats and club level seats just to try and experience everything a fan might, and I can’t tell you how impressive it was as a facility.”
Husker Women’s Coach Connie Yori was even more effusive in her praise. “I had not been inside the arena for 2½ months. The seats had not even been installed,” she said. “It was jaw-dropping how much detail and planning has gone into this. It’s just more than I would have expected … I was in awe … kind of stunned by the detail … every single facet is just beyond whatever I could have imagined.
“When you think of an arena’s basic structure, you just don’t expect all the options that are there – from our locker room that’s modeled after the Hendricks Training Complex to the ‘Chocolate Wall’ and all of the new concession stands,” Yori said. “We went all the way up to the top level, and I think every seat in the place is a great seat. If I wasn’t coaching, I’d be sitting in the club seats. And all that parking … it’s going to be so much easier for our fans who won’t have to walk so far to get to their seats.”
With thousands of fans attending the ribbon-cutting, long lines formed afterwards for two reasons – 1) to buy women’s basketball season tickets; and 2) to put names on the wait list for men’s basketball season tickets, should they open up after a complete sellout six months before the opening tip. After the women open the regular season, hosting UCLA in a noon game on Friday, Nov. 8, the men that night host Florida Gulf Coast, which returns four starters from the first-ever No. 15 NCAA Tournament seed to reach the Sweet 16.
Miles could not resist envisioning the expected environment and atmosphere of a live game. “The arena is built so steep, I just think it’s going to be a great place for our fans to cheer us on … this place is going to be a lot of fun.”
We asked Yori if there are any other descriptions beside “jaw dropping” and “stunned” and “awe.” True to form for a college Journalism major, she complies. “Perfect!” she said. “That’s the word I should have used first because that’s the word that fits best.”
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