Kicking off its build up to Saturday's season opener, the Mississippi Hound Dogs held a press conference on Tuesday featuring staff and players at the BancorpSouth Arena.
"I have a passion for sports that has led to this point," said Hound Dogs general manager Marty Cooper. "We're bringing you a team with local talent, and a lot of local ties.
"This is a team we want the city to adopt, and be a part of their family."
The Hound Dogs are the third professional indoor football franchise to play in Tupelo, and will kick off their inaugural season as part of the UIFL Saturday against the Rome (Ga.) Rampage at 7:30 p.m.
The Hound Dogs will have an 11-game regular-season schedule, with seven home contests.
Hound Dogs head coach Martino Theus spoke at the news conference, introducing assistant coach Eric Bingham, and several players including Devon Lewis, Omar Pittman, Fred Homes, Rakiem Rowland, and Reggie Ellis. Bingham played for one of the previous Tupelo teams, the Mudcats.
"I want to make this a Mississippi-based team," Theus said. "Many of these guys gave up everything to be here, and it shows me they're here to win a championship."
Competing for playing time at quarterback will be two former high school players from the area - Richard McFadden from Amory, and Jami Boland from Nettleton.
"I haven't been able to play football for a couple of years, but I thought I would give this a shot," said Boland, who played on the 2006 Nettleton team that lost in the Class 3A championship game. "I've picked up the speed of this game quicker than I thought.
"And that's the thing about this, is the speed of the game."
Tickets for Saturday's game are available through the BancorpSouth Arena box office. There will be a Fan Fest at Fair Park from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. prior to the game.