In recent years, Auburn has upgraded its athletic facilities with a new Plainsman Park for baseball, a new home for women's gymnastics, a new weight room for football, a new indoor football practice field, a softball park, a new home golf course and there are plans for new track and tennis complexes. Auburn recently announced upgrades to Jordan-Hare Stadium. The Tigers are not alone when it comes to keeping up with the Joneses.
One of the most impressive new facilities in the league has been built in Fayetteville. The University of Arkansas recently dedicated the $6.1 million Bev Lewis Center. The building, located next to the renovated football stadium, provides a state of the art training facility for the gymnastics team, which just completed its first season of competition. Auburn officials say the McWhorter Center is the top collegiate gymnastics training facility in the nation, but UA officials claimed they have trumped the Tigers.
The Bev Lewis Center will also have offices for women's team coaches as well as a weight room and workout area designed especially for female athletes. The money was donated by Marilyn and Bob Bogle. Bob Bogle is credited with coming up with the name "Wal-Mart" for the retailing giant as one of the key executives to the company's founder, Sam Walton.
Matt Jones is expected to share quarterback duties in 2003.
Around The League: Arkansas football coach Houston Nutt says he plans to use a two-quarterback system with Matt Jones and Ryan Sorahan sharing the position. In addition to playing QB, Jones is also expected to see spot duty at wide receiver. Last year, Nutt tried the same system with Taravaris Jackson, a QB the Razorbacks signed out of Sidney Lanier High in Montgomery, Ala. Jackson left Arkansas this year and transferred to hometown Alabama State. Nutt said that the Arkansas staff made a mistake last year by trying to play Jackson, who he says couldn't get the job done...Another Sidney Lanier High football star has participated in spring drills at Alabama State after transferring from an SEC school. Tailback Keldrick Williams, who was a 2001 signee like Jackson, left Tennessee in hopes of finding playing time at the Division I-AA level. Auburn did not offer a scholarship to either Sidney Lanier High player, but did take a serious look at Williams as a running back...During spring football drills at South Carolina, the Gamecocks got a boost on the defensive front from 6-2, 299-pound defensive tackle Darrell Shropshire. Head coach Lou Holtz, a former secondary coach, has personally taken charge of coaching the safeties this season for the Gamecocks with some help from graduate assistant coach David Reaves and John Gutekunst, who coaches the cornerbacks...A pair of senior cornerbacks had a rough spring at Georgia. Decory Bryant separated a shoulder in practice and Bruce Thornton broke a bone in his foot...Georgia offensive tackle Jon Stinchcomb received a an NCAA postgraduate scholarship. The microbiology major was an All-SEC football selection and an Academic All-American pick last season.
Lou Holtz hopes his Gamecocks can bounce back from a disappointing 2002 season.
Ole Miss is upgrading its track and field complex, adding 2,500 seats,, locker rooms, meeting rooms, concession areas and restrooms. The facility will be the site of the 2004 SEC Track and Field Championships....Arkansas has hired Susie Gardner of Austin Peay to replace Gary Blair as head women's basketball coach. Gardner, who played on three SEC Championship teams at Georgia, coached her team to three consecutive NCAA Tournaments. The Lady Governors had a 22-game winning streak this season before losing 72-70 to North Carolina, a three seed, in NCAA play...At LSU, sophomore Joseph Addai is expected to take over as the main man in the running game with LaBrandon Toefield ready to make a living in pro football. Addai, a 6-0, 202 sophomore, is considered a power runner. Shyrone Carey, a 5-6, 185-pound junior, is Addai's top challenger.