Liberty Athletics: New Liberty Arena floor to be named Hiepler Court
The Flames Club received a gift from Mark and Michelle Hiepler in honor of Mark’s father and mother, two individuals who were moved by the spiritual outreach and ministry focus of the Liberty men’s basketball program.
“We are honored to recognize this wonderful family that embodies excellence, service and faith through the naming of the court at Liberty Arena. Moreover, we are deeply indebted for this generous leadership gift that we expect will encourage others to come alongside to support this exciting project,” Liberty Athletics Director Ian McCaw said.
“We are honored that the Hiepler family would make such an extraordinary gesture to not only benefit our athletics department and University, but also to honor the legacy and the life of two incredibly well-lived people,” Liberty basketball coach Ritchie McKay said. “Dr. Orville was a man that was a servant who pursued bringing glory to God and advancing the Kingdom. We will be proud to play and coach on a floor that bears his name.”
Dr. Orville and Florence Hiepler served in ministry together for over 70 years. Their sole purpose for being in ministry was to help people find Christ as their Lord and Savior. They recognized athletics, specifically basketball, as a vehicle to help build relationships that led to the opportunity to share the Gospel.
Known for starting five Lutheran churches from scratch throughout the greater Los Angeles area, Dr. Hiepler’s energetic love never ceased, even founding the final church at the age of 98.
Orville became familiar with Liberty while watching Dr. Jerry Falwell Sr. on the Old Time Gospel Hour with his young son, Mark. Orville connected with Liberty’s mission to Train Champions for Christ and in 2015, Orville was able to make his way to the Liberty University campus, when he visited his grandson, Ryan, who was a member of the Liberty basketball team from 2015-18.
During his visits to campus, he became friends with Liberty University Professor Dr. David Wheeler, and on occasion prayed and spoke in his classes. His last visit to Liberty was to watch Ryan at Commencement in 2018.
In March 2019, Orville passed away, and Mark wanted to honor both his parents and their love for Liberty, as well as their heart for ministry, by naming the court in the new Liberty Arena in their memory.
“Dr. Orville and Florence represented excellence, they represented intentionality to help people find Christ, and that is what I have seen all throughout Liberty Athletics,” Mark Hiepler said. “The funding is not just to put their name on the floor, but to help Liberty, through basketball, be a sweet fragrance of Christ, light & salt, and to help people come to know Christ through sports. This was my mom and dad’s purpose in life.”
The state-of-the-art Liberty Arena, which is located directly next to the Vines Center, will seat approximately 4,000 fans and is set to open in Fall 2020 in time for the 2020-21 volleyball and basketball seasons.
In the new Liberty Arena, qualified Flames Club members can enjoy several new premium hospitality options. Courtside ticket holders will have a specific court level Club Room and restrooms.
All Club seating ticket holders can enjoy access to the concourse level Club Room with premium concessions and private restrooms. Additionally, the Liberty Arena offers 16 loge boxes with seating for four and Club Room Access.
Naming opportunities remain available throughout Liberty Arena. Those interested in a Legacy Giving: to honor a loved one, an individual’s passion for Liberty, or simply to provide an enduring impact on the lives of current and future generations of Liberty student-athletes should contact the Flames Club at (434) 582-CLUB (2582), by email firstname.lastname@example.org or find out more information at www.LibertyFlames.com/LegacyGiving.