Hearnes Center - Volleyball
Over the years, the Mizzou volleyball program has called the Hearnes Center its home. Once dubbed as one of the loudest and most raucous atmospheres in college basketball, the Hearnes Center became the full-time home of Mizzou volleyball upon the opening of Mizzou Arena in 2004. Since that time, the Hearnes Center has developed into one of the most intimidating venues in college volleyball and it has even been voted as the toughest place to play in the Big 12 by the Lincoln Journal-Star.
Todd Henrichs of the Lincoln Journal-Star had this to say about the Hearnes Center: “One of the most energetic and best-organized student groups is the “VolleyZOU” at Missouri. Their energy has drawn other fans to the Mizzou matches and their enthusiasm has helped turn Missouri’s home court into as intimidating a venue as there is in the Big 12.”
The Tigers are now charged with the task of introducing the Hearnes Center to opponents in the SEC. As Mizzou put together its finest season in memory in 2013, the fans flocked to Mizzou. The Tigers finished ranked sixth nationally in average attendance and third in total attendance, hosting the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament. In fact, Mizzou welcomed more than 7,000 fans twice in 2013, resetting the attendance record as it lifted the SEC Championship trophy in front of 7,879 fans. On senior night, 7,437 fans came to watch Mizzou send off seniors Molly Kreklow and Lisa Henning with a perfect 34-0 regular season record.
Since the Kreklows took over the Mizzou volleyball program, one of their first initiatives was to build a strong fan base and 12 years later, that is still a high priority for the program. Spirit groups such as the student-only ‘VolleyZOU’ and the senior citizen fan club ‘The Golden Tigers’ are a big reason why Mizzou has ranked in the nation’s top 20 in average annual attendance for each of the past 12 seasons. In 2005, Missouri ranked sixth nationally in attendance, shattering the previous school record with a 2,670 fan average through 15 home matches.
Since 2000, the Hearnes Center has been one of the toughest buildings for opponents to win, and the numbers prove it. In fact, the Tigers are 119-39 (.753) in that span. To put that number into perspective, in the 12 years prior to 2000 (before Wayne and Susan Kreklow took over the program), Mizzou had won just 125 total matches, which is just six more than the amount of home matches that Mizzou has won under the Kreklows.
The Kreklows can look around the Hearnes Center proudly on any given night of a home match and see at least 2,000 fans, most of them anxious for another stirring performance by the Tiger volleyball squad. Volleyball matches at Mizzou offer a little bit of everything for everyone and are very budget friendly. Families have benefited as their sons and daughters witness the hard-work and great-attitudes of the Mizzou volleyball family and get to meet the student-athletes up close in a variety of ways, ranging from post-match autograph sessions to pre-match youth clinics.
With a returning squad that will be poised to position themselves on top once again, the atmosphere for Tiger fans and Missouri students will continue far into the future. Student groups such as Volley Zou and the Kreklow Krazies have started a volleyball-fan tradition that continues to grow at Mizzou.
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