Byrne: MSU Athletic Facilities

Mississippi State Athletic Director Greg Byrne talks about needs MSU athletics has facility-wise and modifications in the campus master plan.

What needs does Mississippi State have facility-wise?
"We have tremendous needs on the facility side. You can go from the golf course to volleyball. Everyone of the sports has serious needs and issues.

"Our men's and women's golf teams are the only ones in the SEC without a designated practice area. Christy Sanders, our women's coach - a very good coach in my opinion and an even better person - sent me a picture from one of their practices and there must have been 30 people from the general public on the driving range and our team was split all over the place. And in the picture she is almost getting hit by a golf club from a person next to one of our players swinging his golf club. Can you imagine trying to conduct practice in that kind of environment? And then we ask her to go out and compete with all the other teams in the SEC. And when student-athletes come in here and see that, they wonder if we are really committed to being successful. Of course, our answer is we are but it takes resources to do that.

"Go over to softball. Arkansas just opened up a new softball facility. Tennessee is opening up a new softball facility. We were just at Florida State for the (softball) regional there. And their softball facility was beautiful. Kids pay attention to those things.

"Moving over to our tennis facility. We are one of three schools that don't have an indoor tennis facility. Florida doesn't have an indoor facility, but they have a covered one. Alabama is building one. And LSU has plans on building one. We are trying to figure out how we can build on. Our locker rooms haven't been touched in 20 years in tennis. What is it like for (our coaches) to bring in a student-athlete and let them see those things, then that student-athlete goes over to Arkansas and see theirs with six indoor courts, nice outdoor courts and good locker rooms. What is that telling them?

"We could go from sport to sport. Our football practice fields don't drain. Our track is bad. But we are about to put 3.5 million dollars into our track, although that won't touch the grandstand or the restrooms."

When will work begin on the track?
"It will start in late summer. And I think it will take something like six months to complete."

What about the baseball stadium?
"We have big issues with Dudy Noble. What are we going to do with all the chair backs, the skyboxes, the bleacher seats? We are still a couple of years away from doing anything significantly with those. Every time it rains the hallways flood in the skyboxes. The restrooms need work. The locker rooms are showing their age. The press box is also showing its age."

So, you see nothing being done to the baseball stadium for at least two years?
"Probably not, but we have to start the process now. We are hiring a company that is going to do a market research study of Davis Wade, Dudy Noble and the Hump to see what our market place can support in (regard to) high-end seating, skyboxes ... those type things."

Are there going to be any modifications with the universities campus master plan?
"We are working with the university. They are about ready to hire an architectural firm to work on the master plan, which athletics will be a part of. It will be a brand new master plan for the university. It will be more than a year before it's complete."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the sports network. You can contact him by emailing

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