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Choctaw Athletics Continuing to Improve Facilities
Choctaw athletic facilities are undergoing changes across the board in order to keep up with the competitors in the Gulf South Conference and to stay up to date with changes here at MC.
In the ever-changing landscape of college sports, facilities remain one of the most important assets for any athletic program. It's no different here at MC, as the Gulf South Conference is one of the most competitive conferences in the nation in all aspects, facilities included. The Mississippi College athletic department is currently undertaking several projects to keep Choctaw athletic facilities up to a high standard, with future projects on the way to take some facilities to an even higher level.
Described by Athletic Director Kenny Bizot as an immediate need, one of the current projects for Choctaw Athletics is fixing the softball field. Some fans may have noticed the serious drainage issues at the MC Softball Complex causing delays and poor playing conditions following rainfall. Bizot emphasized that fixing this was a priority and that while there would not be major visible changes, the improvements were important and would greatly benefit the facility and the athletes who use it.
The tennis facility is also in the process of receiving major upgrades. Each court has been resurfaced, providing a better playing surface for the players as well as cosmetic improvements. Additionally, there are plans in place for new windscreens, as well as a deck area where Bizot says he hopes to be able to watch tennis, softball, and baseball all at the same time.
Another current project is a new golf facility. Scheduled to be open by the spring of 2024, this facility will provide golfers and coaches with a new space to refine their game. It will feature offices for the coaches, a putting facility, and two hitting bays, as well as state-of-the-art technology that will allow golfers to break down every aspect of their swing.
Another pressing improvement was making repairs to the roof of A.E. Wood Coliseum. On November 26, 2022, the Lady Choctaws’ basketball game against UWF had to be moved to Belhaven's Charles R. Ruggs Arena due to a roof leak that was affecting the playing surface. According to Bizot, the issue has been fixed, and he noted that despite the recent storms, there have been no leaks in the building.
Mississippi College also has campaigns going on currently to raise money for other athletic facilities that need updates. The athletic department is currently raising funding for a new track as the current surface is worn and nearing the end of its lifespan. Also regarding Robinson-Hale Stadium, there is a campaign underway to raise $300,000 in order to rename the field for legendary Choctaw football coach John Williams. Coach of the Choctaws from 1972-90, Williams is the second-winningest football coach in MC history and was at the helm of the 1989 Choctaw team that won the national championship. Bizot mentioned a host of other upgrades he would like to see at Robinson-Hale stadium; however, he described them as “wishlist” items that would not be present in the immediate future.
Also in the fundraising stage is a new baseball stadium that will be built around the existing turf at Frierson Field. Renderings of the proposed stadium were released in spring 2022 alongside a campaign to raise money for its construction. According to Bizot, this is a plan that has been in the works for years but was brought to a halt by the COVID pandemic. He said that the athletic department is making another push to raise the money necessary to complete that project, but there is not a strict timeline on when it will get started.
While all of this is going on, there are also campus-wide changes that will affect all Mississippi College sports as well. The new logos rolled out during Homecoming 2022 have already begun to appear across campus and will continue to do so as athletic teams update their uniforms and facilities. The goal of the athletic department is to have the new logo extremely visible within three years through appearances on uniforms and other apparel. He also hopes to have the new logo appear in at least half of the athletic facilities within that three-year mark.
Choctaw athletic facilities are undergoing changes across the board in order to keep up with the competitors in the Gulf South Conference and to stay up to date with changes here at MC. While not all changes will be immediately visible to Choctaw fans, they will become more and more visible as many projects are undertaken in the near future.
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