14 Sep Making Our Move – Athletics Facilities Master Plan Focuses On Tennis
The future for Bennie Purcell Courts is the focus this week as the Murray State Athletics Facility Master Plan looks at the home of Murray State Women’s Tennis. The recently completed facility master plan serves as a vision for enhancing player development, recruiting and the student-athlete experience throughout the entire MSU athletics facility portfolio.
Since 1990, Bennie Purcell Courts has served as the home for MSU Tennis. The facility is named after legendary tennis and basketball icon, Coach Bennie Purcell, who guided the Racers from 1969-96 and won 11 OVC Men’s Tennis Championships.
There are two pathways to improving Bennie Purcell Courts. One option relocates Purcell Courts to the Waldrop drive location, expanding and enhancing the athletic village on the north side of campus. On the Waldrop Drive site, a new and/or renovated building will feature locker rooms, team room, training room, equipment storage, robust web-streaming system and public restrooms. Additionally, facility lighting will receive upgrades, along with a new scoreboard and resurfaced courts. Between courts 3 and 4, an expanded and intentional spectator area will offer optimal viewing opportunities whether the team is competing in doubles or singles action. Transitioning Bennie Purcell Courts to the Waldrop Drive location, expands indoor team support space for Women’s Soccer, within the Crisp Center, and further strengthens the athletic village on north campus.
The second plan keeps Bennie Purcell Courts at its current location on Chestnut Street, providing new spectator areas, resurfaced courts, scoreboard, more functional fencing configuration, branding and upgraded lighting.
“Our program will significantly benefit from either pathway,” said Racer head coach Jorge Caetano, whose teams are 43-12 at Purcell Courts in his seven seasons. “Either way, it is going to be interesting as the project advances. I played here at Murray State, so I am very accustomed to having Purcell Courts on Chestnut Street. But there are some constraints at that location, including sharing the Crisp Center with soccer. Moving to a new complex on Waldrop Drive, establishes our day-to-day practice and competition facility to the best in the OVC. These are exciting plans that will significantly impact our student-athlete experience, player development and recruiting efforts.”
One of the most innovative and impactful enhancements planned pertains to a multi-camera video streaming system. This system of ethernet cabling, high-definition cameras and server accommodations will allow the Racers to simultaneously and concurrently stream all six courts. These live video streams will be available via GoRacers.com, allowing Racer student-athlete parents to view their daughters anytime, from anywhere in the world.
The plan for Purcell Courts has captured the attention of Racer women’s tennis alumni. That includes Ashley Canty, who was a four-time All-Ohio Valley Conference selection from 2010-13.
“I think the updates are going to be great,” Canty said. “Not just from a player perspective, but also from a family perspective. Having the ability for families to watch the student-athletes is a huge plus for the program. Even back when I played, my family was six hours away and it made me sad sometimes when they couldn’t come to watch. To have that streaming video so that all of the players’ families could watch, that is important especially for the international student-athletes in the tennis program.”
About The MSU Athletics Facility Master Plan
Shared to Racer Nation in August of 2021, the facility master plan provides clarity and sets the Racers up for a great future. The 14-month evaluation process was meticulous and thorough and it provides a vision for a pathway to accomplish the largest advancement of athletics facilities in the history of Murray State University. An in-depth study of each athletic facility was done in consultation with university leadership, architects, engineers and construction professionals to determine the current viability, create a needs assessment and outline scope of work for each venue. The plan is part of the larger capital campaign for Murray State University. The athletics venues that will be touched include the CFSB Center, Roy Stewart Stadium, Bennie Purcell Courts, Pat Spurgin Range, Cutchin Field, Johnny Reagan Field, Marshall Gage Track, Miller Memorial Golf Course, Racer Arena and Racer Field. A new Athletics Performance Center is included in the plan. Those interested in learning more about or how you can support these facility projects can contact Director of Development-Athletics, Taylor Mudd at (270) 809-3517 or email@example.com for further information.
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