Photo: From left, Justin Stevens, Clay Swindle, and John Tague of Hernando Sportsplex. (Bob Bakken/desotocountynews.com)
Courtside operations of the Gatorade Fieldhouse in Hernando are now under a new group which looks to add more than just hoop dreams to the lives of DeSoto County area athletes.
Under the name Hernando Sportsplex, the group, led by Clay Swindle, John Tague and Justin Stevens, began scheduling events and operating what goes on the four courts of the Gatorade Fieldhouse, located on Green T Road East in Hernando east of McIngvale Road, on Oct. 1.
Swindle and Stevens operate the TCBY franchises in the Mid-South and Tague is the club director and master coach for the Relentless Volleyball Academy.
Swindle also is involved in the Relentless Volleyball Academy as a marketing director and senior coach. Tague is also assistant volleyball coach at DeSoto Central High School.
You may obviously notice by the background of the new operators that volleyball is a major tenant along with basketball, and now other sports at the Gatorade Fieldhouse. The Relentless Volleyball Academy has centered there and Swindle said the possibilities for activities at the four-court facility are endless.
“Anything from pickleball to volleyball, basketball can be here,” Swindle said. “We’ve got cornhole tournaments coming up and everything in between.”
Swindle said their involvement in the facility is to help grow youth sports and local sports, and give kids a place to hang out.
“From open gyms to events, tournaments, leagues, things of that nature, we want this to be a place where athletes can come and be a part of something,” Swindle said. “I think the possibilities are endless for local events and tournaments, anything from pickleball to basketball, volleyball. We’ve got cornhole events coming up, we have martial arts competitions in the books and cheer competitions.”
The group believes the importance of the Gatorade Fieldhouse for indoor sports can be compared to a facility known for outdoor sports.
“I think if you look at what Snowden Grove has done for baseball in this area, it’s no different,” Swindle said. “They built that 20-something years ago and fast forward 20 years, it’s produced MLB athletes from the county and such. I think this building can do the same thing.”
The Hernando Parks Department hosts its basketball there along with Relentless Volleyball Academy, so expect several tournaments to be held there in the next 3-4 months, Swindle said.
Tague said the Fieldhouse can be a valuable place for kids to stay active.
“We host a lot of open gym nights on the weekend,” Tague said. “It’s just a place they can get moving and stay moving and not look at their phone for however long they stay here. Sports help their lives in so many ways, so this gives them a nice, safe environment to do it.”
Stevens added life lessons will be learned there, in winning, losing and in growing up.
All three said they will be open to “holding anything that can be held indoors” at the Gatorade Fieldhouse. You can learn more when you find Hernando Sportsplex on Facebook.