2 events, 1 Day
Murphy Center hosts TSSAA and WNIT in One Day
By: Zachary Lohn
MTN Sports Reporter
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Last Thursday, the Murphy Center was transformed from the Tennessee Secondary School’s Athletic Association State Championship’s to a Women’s Invitational Tournament in a matter of 30 minutes.
The Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders hosted the Wofford Terriers in the first round of the WNIT last Thursday a little more than an hour after the last TSSAA State Tournament contest of the day had concluded.
MTSU assistant Athletic Director and Marketing and Fan Engagement Director Chelsea Floyd said that it is “a stressful moment, but you see a whole department come together.”
Floyd said that it is “not easy to host an NIT.” There is a big challenge in “flipping” the Murphy Center from sponsorships to the ticket booth to just cleaning trash. “A couple of years ago, our athletic director (Chris Massaro)… me, him, my staff were literally in the stands picking up trash just making it look presentable” for opponents that are coming into Murphy to watch their teams play.
Parking was also an issue. Floyd said that the fans are “very loyal” and “used to coming in and park.”
She said that there was an effort to educate the fans on how and where to park. There is usually a $5-10 fee to park, but they did not charge to park on Thursday.
There was not a problem in scheduling the game on Thursday according to Associate Director Tony Stinnett. “The TSSAA works with us very well and vice versa.. the past two weeks they have rented the facility, so it has been their show during the day.”
Stinnett said that since the TSSAA added a new class this year, they have been getting done with the tournament games earlier in the day.
According to Stinnett, the TSSAA moved their games up 30 minutes to try and accommodate the WNIT game that night. The biggest challenge was getting the court ready to play that night as Floyd had mentioned.
There is a potential issue in the future if the Lady Raiders were to be one of the top seed in the NCAA Tournament. Stinnett said that it is “virtually impossible” for MTSU to host a regional pod because of it being on the same weekend as the boy’s state championship game.
The events seemed to both go smoothly as the arena was flipped in plenty of time for the game on Thursday. The Lady Raiders dominated Wofford winning by more than 30 points. All of the hard work done by both sides seemed to pay off.