On a sunny, breezy day, with downtown Houston as a backdrop, University of Houston President Dr. Renu Khator summed-up the process that has led to the start of the long-awaited stadium project.
“If you dream big and you persist, Mahatma Gandhi said, ‘First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.’ Today, we are here having won.”
Right now, there’s a big hole in the ground where the old Robertson Stadium used to sit, but in about a year and a half, the new 40,000 seat stadium will host its first football game. Head coach Tony Levine says he can’t wait.
“It’s something I know a lot of die-hard fans and alumni have been talking about for a long time. It’s something I’ve heard about since I got here in January of 2008 and now it’s becoming a reality, so we’re really excited. It’s great for the program; it’s great for the school; it’s for our community and it’s something everybody is really going to be excited about when 2014 arrives.”
Former Cougar quarterback Lonnie Holland says he can’t believe he’ll soon watch games inside a new stadium. He played back in late 50’s and early 60’s and has had season tickets since he graduated. Back then, UH actually played its home games in Rice Stadium.
“Moving into the Big East, hopefully that works out well. With the new stadium, gosh with the new stadium and the city of Houston, University of Houston sits right in the middle of a great opportunity.”
Longtime Houston sports broadcaster and Cougars play-by-play voice Tom Franklin says it was about time the program got a new stadium.
“You look at the stadium that we played in, it was here for 70 years. It served a great purpose, but it long outlived it’s usefulness for a major college franchise. The Astrodome was great in its days, but we’ve seen what’s happened to the Astrodome and the Texans have built their own facility. We had to get this done to have that same kind of recognition that other major schools in the state have.”
The new stadium is set to open in August of 2014, in time for Cougar football. The team will likely play its home games at Reliant Stadium next season while the new facility is under construction.