It is tough to compete in your league’s indoor tennis season when you don’t have an dedicated indoor tennis facility, but that’s the position Mississippi State coach Per Nilsson found himself in last year. When the Bulldogs moved indoors to McCarthy Gym for the winter, they had to compete for time and space with the university’s robotics and physical education programs. As if that competitive disadvantage wasn’t enough, the retrofitted multi-purpose rubberized floor made the bounce of the tennis ball anything but true.
Coach Nilsson knew he needed a better situation, so he convinced the university to give him exclusive use of the former basketball arena if he paid to have the floor resurfaced. Then he turned his attention to just what that surface should be.
Nilsson called on Competition Athletic Surfaces, the company that had installed his outdoor tennis surface two years earlier. Company president Lee Murray worked with a couple of manufacturers to find a surface that would adhere to the rubberized surface already in place on the gym floor. Based on those discussions, Murray felt the PlexiPave PG system, manufactured by California Products, would be the best solution, but he wanted to test it first. In December the Competition Athletic Construction crew installed a few test areas, and then invited the tennis team in to “kick, scuff, rub, slide and abuse it every way they could,” Murray said.
The surface held up, and in January, Competition Athletic Surfaces installed the rest of the floor. The project proved to be an immense challenge, said Murray. “Like many old buildings, this one had accessibility issues, so we had to shuttle all our materials and equipment down a 40-foot corridor. The old rubber floor was so slick that we found we couldn’t apply the new surface in the standard manner using a squeegee. So we devised a way to spray it on instead,” said Murray.
Despite the challenges, the surface was in and ready for play in time for the beginning of the indoor season. Nilsson was delighted, calling the investment “the best thing we’ve done since we got here.”
Murray cites the Mississippi State project as a great example of Competition Athletic Surfaces’ ability to find innovative solutions to difficult challenges. “As more and more buildings and courts are being adaptively re-used, this kind of creative thinking is going to become increasingly important. But you need good partners like we had in Starkville,” said Murray.
Founded in 2000, Competition Athletic Surfaces, Inc. builds, resurfaces and repairs tennis courts, running tracks and other athletic surfaces throughout the southeastern United States. Many other NCAA tennis programs are playing on surfaces installed by Competition Athletic Surfaces – University of Tennessee, University of Alabama, Murray State, Austin Peay, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, East Tennessee University, University of the South, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham Southern, Lee University, University of North Carolina, Jacksonville State, among others.