“Go Big or Go Home” By: Sadie Wise
A.E. Wood Coliseum just got a whole lot brighter. On Feb. 9, two new scoreboards were installed in the Golden Dome at Mississippi College. The boards have been a long-awaited upgrade, as the old ones had been up for almost two decades. The old boards included basic functions like keeping score and time, but now, there’s almost nothing the new ones can’t do.
There were two brand-new scoreboards installed in the coliseum, but the biggest upgrade is the one on the east end of the gym. The board, which is made up of several smaller LED screens, measures 16 feet tall by 26 feet wide and reaches across nearly the entire right side of the wall behind the goal, replacing the banners that once hung there.
David Nichols, the Assistant Athletic Director for Athletic Communications at Mississippi College, explained that a new video board had been on the program’s “wish list” for a while, but it was just a waiting game when it came to funding. “We eventually had some people step up and say they wanted to help us out with this idea,” Nichols said.
Oscar Miskelly of Miskelly Furniture, and Bob Boyte of Bob Boyte Honda were two contributors in the funding of the new video board. Long time Athletic Director Mike Jones said, “Oscar was out here one day, and he asked me how big we were going to make it.” Jones said he told Miskelly that they’d make it as big as they could with the funding that was provided. It was then that Miskelly said, “We gotta go big or go home.”
“It took us about a year to get everything locked down on pricing, what we wanted, and how we wanted it, but once we did, we were finally able to pull the trigger,” Jones said. “We’re very thankful for Bob Boyte and Oscar Miskelly.”
As far as capabilities, the new video board can do a lot. “It’s a much more detailed board,” Nichols said. “We can keep up with the players who are in the game, how many points they’ve scored, and how many fouls they have.” Along with displaying more game details, the board also enables the program to run advertisements and show crowd interaction. “We have the capabilities to run just as much video as we want up there,” Nichols said.
Nichols also touched on the fact that the new board could be used as a recruiting tool. “We can bring recruits in, put their names up on the board, and make them feel welcome,” he said. Jones added that along with recruiting, the new video board will improve MC’s game day environment. “We haven’t even touched the tip of the iceberg with what it can do and what we can do with it,” Jones said.
Nichols and Jones both feel that the new board will give the basketball and volleyball teams an elevated home court advantage. “We just want to create a really good environment for our players, students, and fans,” Jones said. “When other teams come in here, it’s definitely a wow factor,” he added.
Not only will this board be used by the Choctaw teams that play in A.E. Wood Coliseum, but there is potential for it to reach the MC student body along with the Clinton community, as well. “The thought is to eventually have movie nights in the coliseum using the new board,” Nichols said after explaining how they can transform the screen to play any type of video. “With the movie night idea, there are options for us to advertise them as fundraising events, it really does give us an opportunity to involve others,” Jones added.
We could be seeing some more upgrades to the coliseum in the future. “The long-range goal is to improve the seating on the upper level,” Jones said. As far as a timeline, there really isn’t one. “All of these things are based on when we’re able to secure funds.” Jones explained that this applies to all the athletic facilities within the department, as they plan to renovate other facilities around campus in the future.
Both Nichols and Jones encourage the faculty, staff, and students of Mississippi College, along with the community to come out and see the new video board, and support MC’s student athletes.