By Steve Beavers/The Daily Corinthian
CORINTH — Havis Hurley wasn’t looking for another job.
He had two that kept him busy.
The former executive director of the Corinth Sportsplex couldn’t pass up the chance to help bring back a place he played a big part in building. Hurley has been hired part time by the Sportsplex board as the program director.
The facility is in a transition after going through financial issues for some time.
“I believe we can do it,” said Hurley about getting the Sportsplex back to what it was when he was executive director from 1987-2006.
“I realize it will take a while, but we are going to put the old rules back in play.”
Hurley, who drives a bus for the Corinth School District and also works at Gunn Drug Company, is already looking at starting youth and adult leagues.
“We have to let kids play and not sit on the bench,” he said. “Families also need something to do while their kids are here.”
Around five teams have signed up for a coed volleyball league.
“That’s a start,” said Hurley.
“We are going to bring our leagues back, and that’s where Havis comes in,” said volunteer director Shane Casabella. “Everyone equates this place with him.”
Hurley, a part-time employee, is in charge of getting the programs at the facility back and running.
“I told them I would try to help anyway possible,” said Hurley.
The old gym is scheduled to be transformed back to a place for youth basketball and volleyball. The gym was being used as an indoor baseball facility.
The part-time program director is also looking at a basketball league and flag football for adults.
“All we are asking for is another shot,” said Hurley. “Families have tried us in the past, and we want them to try us again.”
Monthly dues to become a member are $50 for a family, $45 for couple, $40 for adult, $25 for student, $30 for college student and senior citizen, and $40 for senior citizen couple. Individuals can buy a day pass for $5 per day.
“The Sportsplex is vital to the continued growth of young people in Alcorn County and surrounding areas,” said Casabella. “It is deeply rooted in the community, and all our efforts should be centered around saving the facility.”
Casabella, the administrator at North Corinth Christian Academy, was approached about the school buying the facility in October.
“The staff and families of NCCA decided the Sportsplex was worth fighting for and they along with students have been heavily involved in the transition,” said Casabella. “The Sportsplex is still the Sportsplex, just with more organization and consistency.”
A new seven-person board has been put in place.
Casabella said NCCA began efforts to keep the Sportsplex, which received its charter as the Corinth YMCA in 1946, with a monetary investment and plenty of volunteer labor.
“The first step was cleaning it up because it was a mess,” he said.
Casabella also said the Sportsplex had become a place where people would come in and use the facility without paying anything.
“Members were tired of the open-door access that allowed others to just walk in,” he said.
A major cleanup project was the draining of the pool along with a leak by the pool area.
“The Sportsplex is safe and will continue to run as a local youth organization with added staff and oversight.
“NCCA counts it a privilege to be a small part in the revitalization process and eagerly anticipates once again seeing the Sportsplex being the place where lifelong memories are made,” he said.
“This was all just a dream at one time,” said Susan Hutchins, Sportsplex secretary.
Hutchins began working at the Corinth YMCA in 1966.
“I remember there were times when it was tough making ends meet here in the ’60s,” she said. “It got done then, and it can be done today.”
Some of the changes planned call for the moving of the indoor baseball facility from the old gym to the old martial arts area.
Classes for Zumba, Yoga, Pilates and Body Pump are still available as well as the fitness area.
“One of the best weight rooms around is right here,” said Hurley.
There is also plans for a resource center for autistic and special-needs children.
Casabella knows it will take time to get the Sportsplex back to where it was at one time.
“There is no easy fix,” said Casabella. “But I am confident this is going to work.”