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Matya to chair IHSA Destination DeKalb

October 9, 2012

In June, 2012, Northern Illinois University was selected to host the Illinois High School Association state football finals in odd-numbered years beginning in 2013 and running through 2021.

On Tuesday, a chair for the host committee was named.

A website – – will be launched in the near future.

Tom Matya of DeKalb has been selected as chairman of the host committee for the 2013 IHSA state football championships. Matya is employed by Zea Mays Holdings, LLC in Sycamore and currently serves as president of the DeKalb District 428 Board of Education.

“Tom is well known and well respected as a leader in our community,” said Debbie Armstrong, executive director of the DeKalb County Convention and Visitors Bureau. “He has served in leadership roles both in business and on several boards throughout the county, and I know he will do great job in this new and exciting endeavor.”

A joint campus-community steering committee was responsible for bringing the state playoffs to DeKalb, but ultimately, it was the area’s reputation that swayed the IHSA Board of Directors to choose DeKalb.

“Athletic Directors from over 100 IHSA member schools signed the bid, pledging their support for playing the games in DeKalb,” said IHSA executive director Marty Hickman. “Schools from as far away as Galva, Peoria Richwoods and Zion-Benton, places you don’t necessarily associate with DeKalb. It went a long way to showing us how much it meant to the entire region to have the state championships played there.”

Huskie Stadium, which boasts a seating capacity of 24,000, will be the site for each of the eight classes of the state football playoffs. With its FieldTurf playing surface, the state-of-the-art Yordon Center and the soon to be constructed Chessick Practice Center, Huskie Stadium is an excellent venue for football.

Jeff Compher, NIU associate vice president and director of Athletics said, “We are very excited to be hosting this event and look forward to exposing high school students to our incredible facilities and outstanding community.”

NIU will be the fourth-ever host site for the state football title games. Illinois State University hosted the games from their inception in 1974 until 1998 and the University of Illinois has been the championship home since 1999. From 1981-1984, Northwestern University hosted the two largest class games (5A & 6A), while the 1A-4A games were played at ISU.

“It has long been the desire of our community to host the IHSA Football Championships,” said NIU President John G. Peters. “We are extremely excited about the opportunity to showcase all that DeKalb and the NIU community has to offer to high school football teams and fans from across the state.”

NIU head football coach Dave Doeren echoed President Peters’ sentiments.

“We’re really honored and privileged to not only have the opportunity to host the games but to be able to showcase our facilities,” said Doeren. “We think, for the next five events that take place here, people are going to want to come back. We can’t wait to show them why NIU is such a special place.”

“There are many components involved to being the host community for a state championship event,” said Matya. “People, merchants, local and regional businesses want to know how they can get involved…The host committee will help identify, develop and manage the resources we need to make the high school football state championship weekend here in DeKalb a great success.”