Sauki AD Mario Moccia (left) and head coach Justin Ingram (right) along with the SIU seniors.
Nov. 9, 2012
By Bill Ford
CARBONDALE, Ill.— The Southern Illinois volleyball team held a ribbon cutting ceremony Friday afternoon at Davies Hall to officially unveil its renovated locker room.
SIU Director of Athletics Mario Moccia, Chancellor Dr. Rita Cheng and former Saluki Associate AD Charlotte West all spoke before cutting the ribbon along with Saluki coach Justin Ingram and senior players Rachael Brown, Laura Thole, Alysia Mayes and Bailey Yeager.
“This is something we’ve wanted to do for an awful long time. We knew the challenges. We knew Davies Gym has been around for a long time,” Moccia said. “Finally we cobbled together enough money, and we wanted to make sure (the players) have a quality experience.”
The first volleyball coach in SIU history, West described the program's beginnings and how the team didn’t even have its own locker room until the mid-80s.
“We built this locker room back in 1984-85 when Davies was renovated. We were happy just to have a special place just for volleyball,” West said. “We didn’t envision anything like this.”
The renovations to the locker room include brand new carpeting and wooden lockers with player nameplates. Ingram said the locker room renovations will have an impact on the program for years to come.
“The facility upgrades are vital to not just now, but to our future years. We’re showing that there is administrative support. There are a lot of people that put a lot of time and resources into women’s volleyball,” Ingram said. “We couldn’t be more ecstatic about enjoying it now, and certainly future recruits will enjoy the same as well.”
Brown said the renovations are a big departure from what she and her teammates previously had. The senior setter said the facility is much better suited to the team’s needs.
“They showed us the floor plans a while back for what it would look like and we really weren’t sure how it would work,” Brown said. “When we came in and saw it with all of the new lockers in it, we were really excited.”