By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Ultimate Indoor Football League first-year commissioner Jared Lorenzen expects Mississippi Hound Dogs football to be “a blast” this spring when it kicks off at BancorpSouth Arena.
“Arena ball to me is so much fun, you’re so confined with the fans,” said Lorenzen, the former University of Kentucky quarterback, who was the UIFL’s MVP last season with Northern Kentucky. “I’ll never go back to outdoor ball. It was a blast for me.
“I’m extremely excited about this,” he added during Monday’s news conference at BCS Arena to announce the team’s nickname and provide more details about the new team.
The Hound Dogs will play a 14-game schedule with seven home dates. Most of the games will be played on Fridays and Saturdays, but the team wants to open its season with a special Monday night kickoff.
Training camp opens Feb. 15 and teams – featuring 18-player rosters – begin play the first week of March.
If the new team’s Elvis-connected Hound Dogs nickname has a familiar ring to it, it already has a history here.
Tupelo’s first of six previous pro sports franchises, a 1997 entry in the now-defunct Eastern Indoor Soccer League, was the Tupelo Hound Dogs.
Tupelo’s other pro-level teams over the last 15 years were the Tornado (baseball), T-Rex (hockey), FireAnts and Mudcats (indoor football) and the Rock-n-Rollers (basketball).
The Mudcats played here in 2007-08. The Rock-n-Rollers’ first and only season was in 2009.
“I know there have been multiple sports teams here that have come and gone,” said Andrew Haines, Hound Dogs co-owner and UIFL co-founder. “Just have an open mind and give us a chance.
“You’ll soon see that we will follow up with what we say we’re going to do.”
Haines said the league expects to post its full 2012 schedule later this week or perhaps early next week.