"Today, the Nebraska School Activities Association (NSAA) announced that the State High School Volleyball Tournament will return to Lincoln for three years starting in 2014. I want to begin by thanking the NSAA Board of Directors for their support of our community. This is exciting news for our City. I'm pleased that Jeff Maul from the Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau can be here. In May, Jeff, along with Tom Lorenz from SMG and representatives from the Lincoln Public Schools presented Lincoln's bid to host the tournament. Thank you, Jeff, and congratulations on your successful proposal.
"Lincoln hosted the tournament for nearly 30 years before it moved to Grand Island. That City has been an outstanding host for the event for three years, and we wish them much success again with the 2013 tournament.
"At the same time, we feel strongly that it's time for the State volleyball tournament to come 'home' to the State's Capital City. Lincoln has long had a tradition as a championship City, and we are ready to reclaim that title in a big way.
"In April of 2009 when the NSAA first announced that the tournament would move to Grand Island, I issued a statement. I said the decision should 'strengthen this community's resolve to make the West Haymarket project a reality.' At that time, I said that 'every year we wait, we cost the community millions of dollars in revenue - revenue that we can use to keep our community strong and position us for future success.'
"A year later, the voters of Lincoln approved the construction of a new arena for this community. And I want to again thank the voters for their confidence and their vision. Today's announcement is a victory for all those who believed in the project.
"A week from tomorrow, we cut the ribbon on the new Pinnacle Bank Arena, the new home of the Husker basketball program. The new arena led to the renovation of the Devaney Center. Those facilities were the key to bringing this great State event back to Lincoln. When State volleyball players, coaches and fans come back to Lincoln in November 2014, we can promise them not just new and updated facilities, but new hotels, new restaurants and new entertainment options to enjoy.
"Again, congratulations to Jeff and his team, thank you to the NSAA Board of Directors and thank you to the community for supporting Lincoln's growth."