WEST MEMPHIS (MidSouthCC.edu) - Mid-South Community College will "raise the woof" on its newest facility and begin a new era for athletics during the Greyhound Tipoff Classic on Friday, Nov. 1.
The MSCC Wellness Center, also known as "The Dog House," will host men's and women's teams from four states for eight games in two days on the Greyhounds' new home court.
"This facility is going to be great for our student-athletes, our institution, and our community," said Chris Parker, MSCC Athletic Director and head men's coach. "We have a beautiful floor and unbelievable sound and video capabilities, and our players and fans will have a lot of fun."
On the other hand, "I assure you that opposing teams will dread coming to play us because of what we've been able to create," Parker added.
Parker said the facility will have a dramatic impact on Greyhound players and the overall basketball program.
"From a coaching and recruiting perspective, it's certainly a game changer. I think it puts us on an entirely different level in terms of being able to attract some of the better student-athletes that are available every year."
"It's also huge for our community and our college to finally have an on-campus facility where people can come together to support something exciting and, in many cases, life changing. It's a great time to be a Greyhound."
Women's coach Kim Ezell said fans will have the opportunity for a great experience at every game.
"The gym is going to be a real crowd pleaser with all of the sound effects and all of the equipment we have," she said. "It's a top-of-the-line facility, and I think the gym itself is enough to get people to come and want to be involved."
"Our floor and the atmosphere will be set up for our fans to have a major impact on the opposing team. I am ecstatic about it, and the girls are definitely looking forward to playing in it."
The facility currently features seating for about 500 fans, and all of them will have the opportunity to feel like a part of the team.
"The fans will be right on top of the action, surrounding our opponent, and that will help create one of the most awesome sporting environments and home-court advantages in the Mid-South," Parker said.
The floor itself is a head turner with a two-tone parquet finish and a giant Greyhound head stretching from center court almost all the way to both three-point lines.
"They gave us a price for putting in a regular floor, and we said, 'What if you did something cool like the old Boston Garden and put down parquet?'" Parker said. "They said, 'Oh, nobody does that anymore, that's passé. And it's going to cost you more money.'"
After looking at the options, however, MSCC bucked the flooring trend.
"The floor looks great, and we figured out a way to do it without spending more money," Parker said. "It gives us something that most facilities in this area don't have." Another great feature of "The Dog House" is its home dressing rooms.
"It may sound strange to the casual fan, but from a recruiting perspective, the locker rooms are huge," Parker said. "Jeff Morgan, the head coach at Harding University, came to look at some of our guys recently, and when he went into the locker room, he took out his camera and started taking pictures."
"You know it's something special when a coach who has been at a school for 20 years and has one of the top Division II programs in our region takes pictures of your locker room."
"Our locker rooms are like none other in two-year colleges," Ezell added. "The lighting is really nice, and it glows fascination for student-athletes. That says a lot to current and future players about the level of commitment we have to our student-athletes."
By having their own home, the Greyhounds and Lady Greyhounds will have many new opportunities.
"We will be able to establish some traditions, and it will help put us on the map in athletics," Ezell said. "It's really hard to call someone else's gym your home, no matter how nice it is. Having our own gym gives the girls a sense of home."
"We'll also be able to help players with injuries since we'll have our own training room. And we will have better opportunities for conditioning as well."
General admission to "The Dog House" will be free, but reserved/preferred seating will be sold early in the season.
"If we accomplish what we're hoping to accomplish, you're not going to have a place to sit down if you don't have one of those reserved seats," Parker predicted. He added, however, that stackable chairs will be available as needed.
MSCC built the center with the help of a $784,010 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The west side of the facility includes a significant amount of space designed to provide temporary protection to students, employees, and local residents in the event of severe weather.