February 15, 2017
Members of the ECCC men’s and women’s tennis teams help cut the ribbon to open the new East Central Community College Tennis Complex Feb. 14, along with head tennis coach Jay Pacelli (far left) and ECCC President Dr. Billy Stewart. (EC Photo)
Representatives of East Central Community College and the local communities gathered Feb. 14 to officially open the new Tennis Complex on the Decatur campus.
A ribbon cutting marked the official opening of the new complex located at the north side of campus between the softball and baseball facilities.
Following the ribbon cutting, the ECCC men’s and women’s tennis teams immediately held their first practices on the new courts while attendees toured the complex.
The $1.2 million Tennis Complex includes eight lighted courts to serve the ECCC men’s and women’s varsity tennis teams, as well as the campus and local communities. The facility includes parking and spectator areas, which were very limited at the current four-court tennis complex on campus that was originally built in 1969.
A fundraising effort is underway to fund the construction of a building near the main entrance of the new Tennis Complex to house men’s and women’s locker rooms, coach’s office, team meeting room, concessions area, and restrooms.
“Today marks a very special day in the history of our institution,” said ECCC President Dr. Billy Stewart. “Not only does this new complex represent progress, I believe it represents what we stand for here at East Central and that is the EC Way, Excellence with Class.
“I want you to know that these courts are something we can all be proud of and I am confident based on several conversations with community college presidents across the state that we are the envy of all tennis playing institutions in Mississippi. I’m also sure that these courts will catch the eyes of several recruits—potential student athletes—whose lives will be eternally changed because of the time they spent here at East Central.”
“This is a grand day,” echoed second year ECCC head tennis coach Jay Pacelli. “I am so excited for our community, our tennis players and everybody attached to East Central athletics and East Central Community College as a whole. It’s an exciting time to be the coach here at East Central.”
Two current ECCC tennis players also spoke at the ribbon cutting. Sophomore Chaney Mills from Newton County High School is a member of the women’s team currently ranked No. 8 regionally by ITA, and Graham Murphree, also from Newton County High School, is a member of the No. 22 nationally ranked men’s team.
“This complex will allow Warrior tennis to compete in a way that has not been possible before,” said Mills.
“Growing up here I never thought this would happen in our community,” commented Murphree. “It’s truly a blessing, and I’m proud to be a part of it and ECCC tennis.”
The new Tennis Complex was designed by Eley Guild Hardy Architects of Biloxi. Construction was by J&J Contractors Inc. of Collinsville.
The ECCC tennis teams conduct their first practice on the new courts. (EC Photo)
The new ECCC Tennis Complex. (EC Photo)