Updated Sep 21, 2005 09:55:06
Techster Locker Room Receives Upgrade
By Scott Beder
RUSTON — The Louisiana Tech women's basketball team will be in for a nice surprise when it reports for its first practice on Oct. 15.
When the Lady Techsters enter their locker room, they won't recognize the place. The Techsters' inner sanctum is currently undergoing a complete overhaul that will bring the program in line with other top programs.
"I think this is an absolute necessity for us to get this done," said first-year head coach Chris Long. "I think it's very, very important in this day and time to have a very up-to-date and modern locker room. This one's going to be very nice."
The renovations will cost between $60,000 to $70,000 — all raised by the Techster program — and will feature new paint and carpeting, a newly created players' lounge, a big screen plasma television, new furniture and chairs to watch film as well as new lighting.
"It's extremely important when we look at the program as a whole," said assistant coach Brooke Stoehr, a former Lady Techster point guard. "We talk about having a family atmosphere and (the players) spend a lot of time in the locker room and around the team and coaches. We want them to be comfortable and make them feel at home."
The new-look locker room will also showcase the rich tradition of a program that has won three national championships and been to 13 Final Fours and produced 11 Kodak All-Americans.
"We want to put the tradition of this program in the forefront," said Long, who spent six seasons as a Techster assistant. (The locker room) is going to be very nice."
One wall will feature a huge color mural of former Lady Techsters who have played in the WNBA. Next to it will be a silhouette of a player with the inscription "Who's next"?
"This is definitely important not only in keeping up but moving ahead of everyone else," Stoehr said. "It's a great opportunity to showcase the tradition here and also treat the student-athletes the way they should be treated."
The players' lounge — created out of a storage area — will feature a television, sectional sofa and computer station.
"Facility upgrades are always important to the recruiting efforts and recruiting is essential to have the student-athletes necessary to win ballgames," Tech athletics director Jim Oakes said. "We are indebted to Mickey McHale, who headed up the fund-raising effort that enabled Chris to go forward with the renovation to the locker room."
The entryway will also have a new look. The entrance will feature bamboo hardwood floors and a large glass partition separating it from the actual locker room.
"I think it will be exciting," said junior forward Ty Moore. "It's a good change for everybody. We'll be more comfortable and have different places to go. Everybody's overwhelmed."
Different areas of the locker room will be used to display the Techsters' many trophies and other and other items in what Long said would be an ongoing project.
"It will be exciting for the returning players to go in there," Long said. "I took them in there the other day and let them see it all stripped down. The next time they get to see it, it will be finished. They are very, very excited about it."