The Harding University Athletic Department announced it is building a $5.2 million indoor football practice facility, the largest indoor practice facility in NCAA Division II and one of the largest in the country for any level. It will be named the Huckeba Field House in honor of longtime football coach, Ronnie Huckeba.
“Naming the facility after Coach Huckeba is a great tribute to him and the investment and influence he has had on Bison Football for most of his life,” said Jeff Morgan, athletic director. “Being a player, assistant coach and head coach covers many years of great service and a lifelong work. Coach Huckeba has been a great teacher, mentor and coach for many. This is a great way to honor him and also a way to honor all his fellow teammates, coaches and players through the years.”
The project, being built behind the University’s First Security Stadium home seating area, includes a 77,146-square-foot facility, with a 133-yard Hellas turf field and a large lobby, complete with photographs and displays that tell the story and history of Bison football.
Head football coach Paul Simmons acknowledged the need for an indoor facility to address weather-related practice issues as the team currently has nowhere to practice in inclement weather. “This facility is a tremendous blessing as it ensures that our young men have every opportunity to maximize their development,” said Simmons. “Even in the worst conditions, we can practice and prepare to compete at the highest level.”
The facility will be completely funded by private donations from the Bison Brotherhood — former players, alumni and friends of the Harding football program. The indoor field will be dedicated to the Smith family, recognizing their lead gift.
“We’re proud of our athletic facilities but only because they reflect our commitment to excellence,” said Simmons. “This building reflects the love of so many former Bisons. We have gifts from guys that played in 1959 as well as commitments from current players that are on the team right now. It’s a testament to the number of lives that have been greatly impacted through Bison football. It’s a building that reflects the influence this program has had on people’s lives and will continue to have for a long time.”
Ground was broken on the facility in July 2018 and is expected to be completed by June 2019.
Harding has won 67 games over the last seven seasons, the most by any college football team in Arkansas. The Bisons were 9-3 in 2018 and qualified for the NCAA Division II playoffs for the third straight year.