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Sunday, June 18, 2000
Last modified at 6:04 p.m. on Friday, June 16, 2000
© 2000 - The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

Tech sports ready to raid new season competitions

In September, Texas Tech will start its fifth year of competition in the Big 12 Conference. Red Raider football is among the most popular spectator sports in Lubbock. Tech averaged 45,894 fans in a five-game home schedule last season its highest average since the 1979 season.

The team will play eight home games this fall, including the opener against New Mexico on Aug. 26 in the inaugural Hispanic College Fund Bowl.

Work has begun on a $75-million renovation of Jones Stadium, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1997.

Plans call for a new three-level press box along with 40 suites and 500 club seats. Capacity eventually will be expanded from 50,500 to 60,500. Work on restrooms and concession stands is among the first projects.

Tech's basketball programs thrilled fans in 1999-2000 during their first seasons in 15,050-seat United Spirit Arena.

The Lady Raiders won a third consecutive Big 12 title and smashed all Tech home attendance records during a 28-5 season capped by an 11th consecutive NCAA berth and a run to the Elite Eight. Tech was unbeaten in its new digs and sold more than 203,000 tickets in the process. Late in the season, the one millionth fan to watch the Lady Raiders in Lubbock came through the turnstiles.

United Spirit Arena offered an electric setting and capacity crowd for its first game when the Tech men opened against Bobby Knight's Indiana Hoosiers.

The rest of the season didn't match that opening night as the injury-plagued Raiders slipped to a 12-16 mark despite the efforts of Rayford Young. The senior point guard finished his career second all-time at Tech in assists and steals and topped the 1,500-point mark, as well.

The Tech baseball team recently reach the NCAA playoffs for the sixth consecutive season. The Raiders have won at least 40 games in seven of the past eight campaigns and have hosted an NCAA regional three times in five years.

The Raiders play at Dan Law Field, which seats 5,614 and includes 14 luxury boxes.

During the 1999-2000 school year, the Tech women's golf team participated in NCAA postseason play for the sixth time in seven years.

Tech's volleyball team has reached the postseason three of the past five years, its men's tennis team four of the past six years, and its softball team once in the past two years.

Tech hopes to have a new, $2.5-million softball and tennis complex ready for use by Jan. 1, 2001. The project is a scaled back version of two separate facilities included in the November, 1997 Tech campus master plan. It would be built just north of the Tech freeway and west of the Ronald McDonald House.

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