By TODD GOTTULA
KEARNEY – The University of Nebraska at Kearney is entering the final stage of fundraising to renovate its football locker room with a $100,000 lead gift from Brian and Carey Hamilton of Omaha.
The Hamiltons are University of Nebraska alumni and longtime owners of Midway Auto Group in Kearney and Beardmore Chevrolet in Bellevue. Their gift was announced during halftime of Thursday’s season-opening football game between UNK and Northwest Missouri State University.
“In order for UNK to be successful with a new dynamic football coach, you also need great facilities,” Brian Hamilton said. “You need facility improvements like the football locker room, which was in need of updating. We are happy to help with the project, and we know that when the athletic program’s facilities are top notch, students aspire to come to UNK and then the entire community benefits.”
The $250,000 upgrade to football locker rooms located inside the UNK Health and Sports Center will be similar to recent renovations made to volleyball and basketball locker rooms.
Improvements include new flooring, a student lounge and installation of 123 large wooden lockers equipped with USB ports and charging stations. The football locker rooms haven’t been upgraded since they were built in 1990.
“Brian and Carey’s gift means so much to our football program,” UNK Director of Athletics Paul Plinske said. “The football locker room renovation project has been a much-needed endeavor for many years. Our student-athletes deserve the best we can provide them. We are excited to bring in modern lockers, new flooring and a student lounge to help us attract the best and brightest football players to UNK.”
The new locker room will be named Brian and Carey Hamilton Football Locker Room.
“We are truly blessed to live in a community with outstanding people and business owners who generously support the Loper football team,” said UNK head coach Josh Lamberson. “The Hamiltons’ and Midway’s phenomenal donation to our locker room project is another example of how amazing Kearney and the UNK community is.”
Along with the Hamiltons’ gift, the remaining cost of the $250,000 project is being funded by other major gifts through friends and alumni of the Loper football program. Donations for 50 of the 123 lockers available have been made through the Legacy Locker Campaign offered by the University of Nebraska Foundation.
With the goal of having a primarily alumni-backed locker room, former Loper football players have a chance to the project. For a $1,000 donation, a plaque will be placed in the locker containing the player’s name, jersey number, years played, position, hometown and quote of their choice.
“Through the efforts of many people, this locker room renovation will help us attract the best and the brightest for many years to come,” Lamberson said.
Construction of the project and installation of lockers is anticipated to begin after the season, once all funding is secured.
Plinske said the Hamiltons and Midway Chevrolet have also been instrumental in providing vehicles for coaches to use when recruiting. “We are proud to call ourselves partners with such a reputable agency in Kearney. They raise the bar in all they do, and we hope to be able to match their efforts as we strive for greatness in the MIAA and NCAA.”
Individuals interested in contributing to the locker campaign should contact Dusty Jura at 308-698-5278 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Writer: Todd Gottula, Director of Communications, 308.865.8454, email@example.com
Source: Paul Plinske, Director of Athletics, 308.865.8332, firstname.lastname@example.org