Desoto County News

Southaven awards new volleyball contract

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.

6 thoughts on “Southaven awards new volleyball contract

  • Kathy Copeland

    I personally think that the Memphis Volleyball Academy should change their name to Mississippi Volleyball Academy since they are going to be playing in Mississippi now. I know the city of Southaven doesn’t really have anything to do with the naming of the organization though. My granddaughter played for Legacy and loved it. I’m disappointed that Legacy didn’t get the bid but I realize it’s “all about the money “.

    • We were Memphis Volleyball Academy and have been in MS. We were in Olive branch.

  • I find it hard to believe that Southaven, MS arena is being taken away from Desoto Legacy Volleyball, who have been in that arena for almost 3 years. DLV has a GREAT volleyball program for LOCAL kids of all ages. They have fulfilled even bested all requests from the Park and Rec. Dept. while in the arena only to be told to get out, with just a 2 week notice. I understand that Memphis Volleyball Academy has some local kids but look at the numbers. I have also been informed that a certain high ranking official has 2 daughters that play for MVA. Just wondering how much that had to do with the abrupt change. Then how rude to in one letter tell the team they need out in 120 days and then 2 days later say we found a loop hole in the contract and now you must be out by the end of May (12 days!). Shame on you for not supporting local programs and people!!!!

  • (NOTE: We are posting this comment because it was the first we received. Another comment was also submitted but is an exact replica of this one, except the commenter identifed as a parent rather than a grandparent. Please remember ALL comments are reviewed and approved before they are allowed to be posted. We reserve that right to do that.)

    As a grandparent of. DLV player I am saddened they are leaving this facility. As a government retiree I understand the need and requirement the City has for the bidding process.

    But I am completely flabbergasted by the letter DLV ownership sent out. This is unacceptable and seals the fate of DLV if they try to work with the City ever again. Here’s what they sent.

    Dear DLV family,

    As many of you have heard by now, we have lost our lease at the Southaven Arena and asked to vacate the building by 5/31/2021. We realize this may be as shocking for you, however we were blindsided as well.

    The city opened and informed us of a bid on 4/29/2021 for a recompete of the lease. We were told at that time the decision would be based on the best value to the city. Prior to this recompete, since the lease inception, nearly every interaction between DLV and the City of Southaven has been constructive and positive. During that same time frame, several members of the staff from the city have sung praises of the work being done by DLV, including the mayor himself and the parks and rec director who went as far to say that we were the best vendor he has worked with. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive, and the outlook for DLV and the city was grand.

    DLV was informed that money alone would not be the driving factor in determining the awardee of the lease. The city would base the lease decision on which entity would provide the best value to the community. The lease terms remained the same from the previous agreement DLV had in place for the arena.

    To highlight some facts:
    -DLV was contractually obligated to run the city league for the city consisting of 8 teams of 8 players, for a total of 64 kids. The smallest city league we ran in the three seasons was north of 90 kids, with the largest league happening in 2020 with more than 150 players. DLV paid coaches to train these kids, without seeing a dollar of revenue from the city for this program. Every kid that signed up for this league was through the city’s website, meaning they made every dollar off of a league that they had zero involvement in.

    -The lease did not specify who was responsible for the removal of the floors for the annual Crystal Ball event. However, both times the Crystal Ball was hosted while we were in the arena, DLV managed and paid for the removal and reinstallation of the floors.

    -We cared for and maintained the sport courts throughout the lease. We purchased the correct brushes, new batteries, and cleaning solutions for the city’s factory cat (floor scrubbing machine), which added up to thousands of dollars. We mapped out and managed installation of holes for court poles and initial layout to maximize space in the facility.

    -Without notice, the city informed us we would only be able to operate on 2 courts while they raised the lowered bowl in 2019. We managed to navigate running clinics, private lessons, and the city league during this, only using two courts.

    These are just a few highlights of how DLV over delivered on our end of the agreement, only to be thrown to the curb on the notion of promises rather than analyzing past performance.

    With all of this, we need your help. The city is giving us an out date of 5/31/21. We must get all our equipment out and get what we can into a storage unit while we begin to figure out what is next for us.

    We realize you are our client, and you owe us nothing. However, if you are available, we could use your help this weekend to help get all of this cleared out. Starting Saturday, 5/22, we will begin clearing out all our belongings. We can use people for the following times (or longer if you are available):

    Saturday (5/22/21)

    Sunday (5/23/21)

    We need your help! If you’re able to help during any of those times, please email so that she can coordinate those time slots.

    We appreciate your loyalty over the last 6 years, and we feel like this was a terrible order of business and that our organization was done wrong. MVA proved they are out for nothing more than money; growing the game is not nearly as important to them as padding their pockets. MVA knew by doing this, they are in essence putting another organization in a lose-lose situation.

    DLV as an organization would absolutely not conduct business this way, and we are extremely unhappy that an organization such as MVA is now representing our great community. If you would like to voice any of your concerns to the city, here is where they can be reached:

    Wes Brown
    Parks and Rec Director

    Darren Musselwhite
    Mayor of Southaven

    Feel free to reach out and ask any questions or make any statements you would like as a concerned DLV parent and or taxpaying citizen. The city showed their true colors by ultimately deciding to award the new lease to MEMPHIS Volleyball Academy in lieu of DESOTO Legacy Volleyball. MVA is not registered in and is not from this community. They’ve had ample opportunity to decide to rebrand in order to align with their community and have chosen not to, as they’ve been in operation in Olive Branch, MS for more than a decade.

    Once again, we thank you for your loyalty and being a part of the DLV Family. We so appreciate you and are very thankful for the opportunity to train your kids and get to know your families. Once we have concrete plans on how we move forward, we will reach out.

    Thank you again; see you soon!

    Clay Swindle
    John Tague
    Lisa Lewis

    DLV Executive Staff

    • Georgette- imagine how flabbergasted we were when we found out we were losing a lease that we had 100% over delivered on, only after we were told directly that money was not the driving force behind the awarding decision. If by standing up for our hard work and our clients we “sealed our fate”, then so be it. Carry on.

      • Why would you put down another club just because you didn’t pay your bills?? The city but this up for bids- you be mad at your city- not the club that is moving in!! Shame on you!!

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