Belton, Texas--University of Mary Hardin-Baylor announced today that Elizabeth and Drayton McLane, Jr., have made the largest gift in the history of Mary Hardin-Baylor for the university’s new football stadium. The facility will be named Crusader Stadium.
“We decided as a family that we wanted to help UMHB build an on-campus football stadium because we believe that athletic programs play a fundamental role in tying the student body to the university and strengthen school spirit,” the McLanes said. “We love supporting UMHB because the university is committed to Christian values, and Christian values have been important to the McLane family for generations. Our son, Drayton III, is a member of the UMHB Board of Trustees; he and his wife, Amy, and their sons Drayton IV, Brooks, and Walker, and our son Denton and his wife, Amy, and sons Jeff and Jake join us in our continued support of Christian higher education at Mary Hardin-Baylor. We are excited about the momentum and direction of the university and want to be a part of what it can accomplish.”
“When Elizabeth and Drayton first learned that the university was considering an on-campus football stadium, they immediately expressed an interest in the project and became our greatest champions for making this dream come true,” said Dr. Randy O’Rear, UMHB president. “The new stadium, with its connection to a new student union building, will transform the student life experience at Mary Hardin-Baylor. The university has been richly blessed by the friendship and generosity of the McLanes for many years, and we could not be more grateful to Elizabeth, Drayton, and their family for making this transformational gift.”
Crusader Stadium will be built on University Drive in the heart of the campus. It will hold 8,000-10,000 spectators and will include a press box, locker rooms, meeting rooms, suites for entertaining university guests, and a high definition video board. The video display will not only enhance game day activities but will also be used for commencement ceremonies, concerts, movie nights, and other special events and student life programs that will take place in the stadium.
The stadium has been designed in tandem with a new three-story student union building that incorporates views of the playing field throughout the facility. The distinctive complex will merge student life and sports into an authentic experience in the center of the UMHB campus.
“Elizabeth and Drayton McLane have supported Crusader football from day one when a gift from the family helped pay for equipment and the team’s first set of uniforms in 1998,” said Pete Fredenburg, head football coach. “This stadium is going to move our program to a new level of prominence and it would not have come to life without this generous gift from the McLane family. Their generosity is amazing, and it is hard to find words to adequately express how grateful we are to this wonderful family.”
The stadium will be the first permanent home for the Crusader football team, which has played at Belton High School’s Tiger Field since its inaugural season in 1998. The program rapidly achieved national prominence and has posted an impressive 133-33 win-loss record in 14 seasons. UMHB has won or shared nine of the last ten American Southwest Conference championships and played in the Stagg Bowl for the NCAA Division III National Championship in 2004.
An official groundbreaking ceremony for the new football stadium and student union building complex was held on February 3, 2012. Construction will begin this spring, and plans call for the project to be complete in the summer of 2013.