OLE MISS

 

Starnes Athletic Training Center

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University of Mississippi student-athletes have always strived to be champions. The Michael S. Starnes Athletic Training Center has made their goals a little easier to obtain.

Starnes, the building's benefactor, donated $1 million toward the facility. A 1968 Ole Miss graduate, Starnes is president of Tennessee California Express, Inc., a transportation company.

The Training Center stands just north of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, and the $2.5 million project was a unique combination of renovation and construction. The former Doc Knight Field House was transformed into a modern facility. The first floor houses an expanded, state-of-the-art training room, locker room, coaches dressing room, equipment room, laundry area and seven meeting rooms. The top floor contains another meeting room and a large theater-style team meeting room.

The training area is two and one half times larger than before. It has four offices for the athletic training staff, room for at least 13 treatment tables, six taping stations and countless rehabilitation equipment. It also contains a wet room with a whirlpool. This translates to improved care and injury prevention for Rebel student-athletes.

The facility extends to the east into a similar structure which holds a massive weight room, a lobby, conference room and offices on the ground level.

Dr. Jerry Hollingsworth, an Ole Miss alumnus and general practitioner in Ft. Walton Beach, Fla., joined forces with former Rebel quarterback Archie Manning to establish a recruitment/ memorabilia center.

Hollingsworth/Manning Hall, located on the second level, provides a comfortable setting for coaches to talk with potential student-athletes. It is also a unique showcase of Ole Miss sports trophies, photos and memorabilia displayed in a museum-like atmosphere. A portion of Hollingsworth's $2 million gift to the University went toward the Hall.

The weight room in the Starnes Center is a dramatic improvement from the past. What was once a 3,100-square-foot room full of dumb bells and free weights has been converted into an unparalleled 10,000-square-foot weight training auditorium.

The renovation of the Doc Knight Field House included preserving the stone entryway. The entrance was removed and stored and was reattached to the new addition on the north side.