Bobby Knight is arguably the most famous coach in Lubbock’s sports history. But Berl Huffman, a baseball, basketball and football coach at Texas Tech University, promises to become top of mind in the “Hub City”. The newly renovated Berl Huffman Athletic Complex is adding to Lubbock’s roster of venues and is boosting Lubbock’s capabilities of hosting major youth and amateur sporting events.
The renovations of the Berl Huffman Athletic Complex were completed in mid 2020. True to its namesake coach, the facility is multi-pronged and can host a myriad of sports tournaments. It promises to take Lubbock to new heights akin to coach Chris Beard leading the hometown Red Raiders to the Final Four (and nearly winning the championship) in 2019.
That same year, Lubbock hosted 198 sporting events, filling nearly 131,000 room nights and generating more than $40 million in economic impact. With the country ready to reopen, youth sports are sure to lead the way. The Berl Huffman Athletic Complex will be a beacon to sports organizers across the country looking to bring teams to an elite facility in a community that knows how to host visitors.
A facility that is such a big draw is fitting for a city known for being at the hub of the action. This West Texas destination is easy to get to via car or plane. American, Southwest and United offer nonstop flights from each metropolitan area in Texas, as well as Las Vegas, Phoenix and Denver. Five highways surround Lubbock, making it a popular spot for events, including Ironman triathlons, with many Southwestern attendees.
The community is already at the top of its game. The “Hub City” Classic racquetball tournament and Southwest Hoops Labor Day basketball tournament are only two examples proving Lubbock’s commitment to sports. Indeed, Lubbock Christian University was recently awarded the 2023 NCAA Division II Men’s and Women’s Cross Country South Central Regional Championships.
The “Hub City” has a wide range of venues beyond Berl Huffman, including top-flight indoor facilities ready to host large tournaments and events.
Berl Huffman Athletic Complex
Already an award winner, the Berl Huffman Athletic Complex was deemed the 2020 sports project of the year (multi-field) by the Synthetic Turf Council. It’s easy to understand why. The complex features six full-size synthetic turf soccer fields that easily convert to 12 playing areas for youth.
These fields are made of top-of-the-line material and are maintained at a championship level. The more than 70 teams from Texas and New Mexico competing in the Lubbock Sports Labor Day Cup experienced it for themselves this year.
Not only was it a field of dreams, but the event staff worked hand in hand with Visit Lubbock and Lubbock Sports to ensure health and safety protocols were followed as well. The CVB staff also provided marketing assistance.
“They are open and willing to help make your event a success,” says T2 Sporting’s Travis Tew of Lubbock Sports.
Soccer is not the only name of the game at Berl Huffman Athletic Complex.
With 350,000 square feet of playing space, including more than 50 fields, the facility stands ready to host lacrosse, flag football, Ultimate Frisbee, Quidditch, rugby, field hockey and more.
Given Lubbock’s love of sports and 265 days of sunshine per year, it’s easy to see this complex becoming the premier facility in Texas, with top-flight tournaments of all kinds to match the reputation.
A food truck pavilion and expanded entrances and exits add to the amenities that come with elite playing surfaces.
Sports Performance Center at Texas Tech
Opened in 2017, Sports Performance Center is one of three indoor track facilities in Texas. It includes a 200-meter banked track, a 100-yard football field, an athletic training facility, and a strength and conditioning center. Among the track elements are two high jump pits, two horizontal jump sand pits, two throws rings and a pole vault pit.
The venue is not just a benefit for Texas Tech. It is already a big draw for major college events. It hosted the 2019 Big 12 Indoor Track and Field Championship in 2019, and will do so again in 2021 and 2023. Lone Star Conference selected the site for its 2019 and 2020 indoor track and field championships as well.
Texas high schools also use the facility frequently for indoor meets.
There are 750 permanent seats and another 1,250 seats available to accommodate families and fans for these events.
The complex is also an ideal place for training and practice with its indoor field and top-flight exercise equipment. A large video board adds to the experience, and there are several remote-controlled cameras available to capture the practice.
APEX Event Center
Another standout, relatively new indoor facility is APEX Event Center, a Texas-sized venue for basketball, volleyball and other competitions like cheerleading, martial arts and futsal (indoor soccer).
The center first opened in 2014 and has become the area’s premier site for winter events. The 60,000-sq.-ft. facility fits eight basketball courts and eight volleyball courts, and is able to hold 1,000 to 1,500 people per day, making it ideal for youth championship tournaments.
TexStar Cheer and Tumbling and SouthWest Hoops are among event organizers to host multiple events at APEX.
A full-service kitchen, concession stand, fitness center and pro shop help make the venue an all-in-one experience. There is even a T-shirt press to create branded materials for tournaments and players.
Two on-site meeting rooms are also available, and the center can be turned into an awards banquet hall.
Pete Ragus Aquatic Center
Swimming and diving make a big splash in Lubbock at Pete Ragus Aquatic Center. With two eight-lane pools, three 1-meter boards, two 3-meter boards and seating for 290 spectators, the venue is fit for the Lubbock Swimming and Diving Invitational held at the center, a frequent home to University Interscholastic League events.
A state-of-the-art scoreboard and Colorado Time System ensure any event at Pete Ragus Aquatic Center feels like an Olympic qualifier.
Tom Martin Youth Sports Complex
Renamed after a former mayor of Lubbock in 2019 who was an avid baseball fan, Tom Martin Youth Sports Complex includes 16 fields with lights, each with seating for 250 spectators. The venue is a particular hit among softball tournament organizers, whether the events feature 50 teams or 200. The United States Specialty Sports Association frequents the complex for annual events in West Texas. Area high schools and colleges also use the fields.
By: Lacie Freelen
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By: Visit Lubbock Interns