Walker Gift Honored at Soccer Complex Dedication
As the setting sun illuminated the gate to the new soccer facility that bears his name, John Walker, surrounded by his family and a throng of Red Raider fans, summed up the importance of the occasion.
“We make our gifts with passion,” said Walker. “I’m passionate about soccer, and I’m deeply passionate about Texas Tech.”
The John B. Walker Soccer Complex, dedicated during an Oct. 2 ceremony honoring Walker and his family, reflects both those loves.
Completed in September, the complex features a 1,500-seat grandstand designed to keep fans close to the action and a soccer house outfitted with team locker rooms, athletic training facilities, coaches’ offices, a public lounge and a team meeting room equipped with a state-of-the-art video system for film study.
The $5 million facility is the only soccer pitch in the Big 12 Conference covered with FieldTurf, a mix of synthetic blades of grass supported by an infill of sand and rubber. FieldTurf was the first synthetic turf system to receive FIFA recommended status, according to the manufacturer’s Web site, and the synthetic playing field surface is used at 50 NCAA facilities and 21 NFL stadiums nationwide.
“You have to have good facilities to compete in the Big 12,” said Gerald Myers, director of athletics for Texas Tech University. “To compete in the nation you have to have great facilities, and that’s what [the Walkers] have given us.”
Walker, who is CEO and president of EnerVest Management Partners in Houston, graduated from Texas Tech University in 1968 with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in finance. Walker, his wife, Lisa, and their family contributed $2.25 million toward the project.
Construction of the soccer complex began in 2006 with the soccer pitch installed in time for the 2008 season. Prior to 2008, the Texas Tech women’s soccer team competed on the infield of the Terry and Linda Fuller Track.
“We are really thankful to Mr. Walker for supporting us and giving us a home,” said senior captain and midfielder Maegan Wilber, a broadcast journalism major from Tijeras, N.M.
The John B. Walker Soccer Complex was designed by Parkhill Smith and Cooper, and features an iron entry gate emblazoned with the Double T. The gate, designed by Lars Stanley Metalworks of Austin is part of the university’s award-winning public art collection. Lee Lewis Construction served as contractor for the project.