A new entity will be renting the Southaven Arena for volleyball and be in charge of the recreational volleyball offerings for the City of Southaven.
The Board of Aldermen Tuesday night awarded the contract to Memphis Volleyball Academy, which will pay the city $12,500 monthly for use of the facility. The current organization using the Arena, DeSoto Legacy Volleyball, offered $5,500 a month to continue to locate there.
DeSoto Legacy Volleyball had been overseeing the city’s volleyball program since Southaven first offered the sport,
As the contract was up for renewal, the city advertised for bids. The organization operating inside the Arena is responsible for booking, promoting and coordinating various volleyball tournaments, practices and events inside. In addition, the organization was charged with coordinating a summer recreational league at the Arena with their instructors operating the league.
Another part of the agreement is that the City would receive all gate and concession revenue from tournaments that are held there.
Bill Brewer, representing DeSoto Legacy, spoke of the involvement that their coaches have done in the past number of years.
“We’re all involved in the community around DeSoto County,” Brewer said. “Our high school from Center Hill (Robbie Veazey) won a state championship in the past couple of years. John (Tague) is an assistant coach at DeSoto Central, which won a state championship. We fully represent DeSoto Legacy.”
However, In-Sik Hwang, Club Director of Memphis Volleyball Academy, told aldermen his program has shown tremendous success since it started more than 10 years ago.
“We’ve shown a success rate that is unmatched in our region,” he said. “We’ve got a lineup of coaches that is unmatched. We have nine current or past college coaches and we have nine high school coaches who have won multiple state championships.”
Hwang, who is also the head volleyball coach at Christian Brothers University, said commitments had already been received for teams from Louisiana, Alabama and the Gulf Coast willing to come to Southaven to play in tournaments, if MVA had the agreement with the city.
Southaven Mayor Darren Musselwhite complimented Brewer and Tague for what has been done with volleyball over the contract length. However, Musselwhite added the city has to be concerned about revenues.
“Obviously money is an issue, as we are a public organization, but that’s not the only issue,” Musselwhite said. “We do appreciate the development of the young ladies in the sport .”
Before the board approved the contract with Memphis Volleyball Academy, Aldermen Charlie Hoots continued to press an issue from a previous meeting about trying to get a walking trail inside the building. That led to a brief exchange with Musselwhite, with the mayor saying that wasn’t something the volleyball groups would decide, but it would be a city decision as owner of the building.
Musselwhite said it was something he’d be open to looking into further, but walking trails would require moving the volleyball courts and that would open the city to additional liability problems.
“It’s not a club issue, the city owns the facility,” Mussewhite said. “Regardless of who we go with, the city manages the facility. We’re going to look into that, to see if we can add a walking trail. This decision is not going to be made by either one of these organizations.”
Alderman Joel Gallagher added that the city has a walking trail at Snowden Grove Park.
Note: further comments on this story are now closed.