Daniel Mayes, Sports Editor
“While the road to recovery may seem long, the people of Jacksonville will rebuild our home,” JSU Athletics Director Greg Seitz said in a statement.
The devastation of the March 19 tornadoes in Jacksonville was felt by the entire community as well as the university, as hundreds of buildings were damaged, including some of the Jacksonville State Athletics facilities.
Pete Mathews Coliseum, the home for JSU basketball and volleyball since its opening in 1974, received the worst of the damage.
The coliseum’s roof was damaged and even left completely bare in some spots, causing extensive flooding of the floors as water and debris found its way in.
The hardwood flooring of the court has already been completely removed and repair work has begun on the roof.
JSU softball’s University field also was majorly affected, as several light poles fell across fences and onto the playing surface, parts of the metal bleachers were left mangled and sitting in the infield, and debris littered the entire field.
The damage to University Field left the softball program without a home for the rest of the season, but, after the Gamecocks returned from their nine-game road trip that began just after the sorms, Oxford’s Choccolocco Park has played host to JSU’s home games and will continue to do so for the rest of the 2018 season.
The JSU Soccer Field and the tennis courts had downed fences and scattered debris.
The remaining athletics facilities all escaped damage other than a few close calls with downed trees in the vicinity.
JSU’s two current major construction projects, the renovations at Rudy Abbott Field and the new campus recreation and wellness center, received minimal damage.
Repairs have begun on all affected areas, and full recovery is expected.