Monday, February 19, 2007

More Practice Facility Talk

I have stated before that I am in complete disagreement with this plan. Ole Miss is not going to build a new basketball arena in the near future. And personally I do not think we need to. I think we need to pump about $25 million into the current coliseum and make it a better place. Schools have done this in the past decade and it has been a huge success. Ole Miss does not need a 15,000 seat arena. When you only have 7,500 people at a game when you are in first place of the SEC West, you know there is little support for the program.

With that being said, why would you build a practice facility away from the current coliseum. The location, while not far, is not even within a true person's walking distance from the arena. It makes no sense at all in my opinion to build a facility away where they have planned. Why not build a practice facility to connect and have it house new coaches offices, practice courts, locker rooms, etc. Why would you want two different locker rooms? Under the current plan you would prepare for practice in one locker room and prepare for a game in another. When you have the opportunity to avoid it, why not capitalize your efforts to try and make it happen.

Here is a portion of the article from Parrish Alford of the Daily Journal in Tupelo:

OXFORD - Ole Miss athletics director Pete Boone hopes to be able to announce plans for a new practice facility for basketball within 60 days."It needs to be sooner rather than later," Boone said, "so we can get into the fundraising aspect. Hopefully within 60 days we can have a basic plan, a look and a cost estimate."In the modern-day landscape of the game, the practice gym is the recruiting tool for basketball that an indoor facility is for football.Beyond recruiting, there is another need for the new gym. Tad Smith Coliseum doubles as a practice area for the men's and women's teams, forcing the teams to schedule around one another for years.The practice gym would have two full-size courts. The teams would share some areas like the weight room and training room.It is unclear right now whether coaches offices would be at the practice gym or remain at the coliseum.The proposed site for the new facility is the dirt lot across Coliseum Drive from the Gillom Center.An arena to replace 8,700-seat Tad Smith, which opened in 1966, is not a part of any present discussion."That's not a reasonable thing to consider," Boone said. "It would have to be state-funded, and quite frankly, there are better uses of state funds right now. Our arena does pretty good when it's packed."Building a new one would be pretty neat to do, but is it something we really need? Probably not. What we do really need is a great recruiting and practice facility."