New Southeast scoreboard is in the works

Monday, August 9, 2010

Southeast Missouri State athletic director John Shafer had good news and bad news for Redhawks football fans tired of and embarrassed by the tiny, junior-high caliber scoreboard at Houck Stadium.

Shafer told me Friday that the university has purchased an impressive new scoreboard for this season. That's the good news.

The only problem is that the scoreboard almost certainly is not going to be in place for the Sept. 25 home opener against Tennessee Tech. That's the bad news.

Shafer told me several final details regarding the scoreboard still have to be worked out, including determining the area of ground best suited to hold the structure and bidding to have it placed into the ground. And the preferred site for the scoreboard then must be inspected by professionals to make sure there will not be complications caused by any structures under the surface.

Shafer did not say when he expects the scoreboard to be put up, but assured me that it would be some time this season.

The original scoreboard had to come down before the 2008 season because of construction of a dormitory added to the west end of Houck Stadium. The ground floor of the building houses a game-day locker room and athletic training room for the football program.

I can't argue with those who are embarrassed by the mini-scoreboard that has been in use at Houck the past two years. It's certainly not the kind of thing you expect to see in any college stadium, let alone on the Division I-AA level.

I guess everybody is going to need a little more patience because relief is on the way.

Southeast held its media day Friday after starting practice Thursday, the University of Missouri also began working out last week, area high school teams hold their opening practices today and the St. Louis Rams are well into their training camp.

Football is definitely in the air. I don't know about you, but I'm excited.

Preseason polls are an inexact science and not always on target.

Southeast soccer and volleyball fans hope that's the case because those sports that so often have fared well over the years are predicted to struggle again in Ohio Valley Conference play.

The squads were picked seventh in the OVC based on voting by the league's coaches and sports information directors, meaning they would miss the six-team conference tournaments.

Southeast soccer, among the OVC's most successful programs since its inception, has failed to make the conference tournament the past two seasons.

Southeast volleyball had its record string of 18 straight OVC tournament appearances end last year as the Redhawks failed to qualify for the first time since joining the league in 1991.

A.J. Ellis, who lived in Jackson until age 11 before he and his family moved away for good, is back in the major leagues.

Ellis was recalled last week by the Los Angeles Dodgers from Class AAA Albuquerque after he had spent virtually all of the season as their backup catcher.

Ellis was sent down to the minors a few weeks ago when Brad Ausmus exited the disabled list, however he was brought back up when starting catcher Russell Martin went on the DL.

With Martin likely lost for the season, Ellis should get a decent amount of playing time as the backup to Ausmus, who at 41 years old figures to need his share of rest.

Speaking of the Dodgers, I can't imagine Blake DeWitt's family being unhappy by his recent trade from Los Angeles to the Chicago Cubs.

With DeWitt now playing his home games so much closer to his native Sikeston, it should make traveling to watch him play much easier for his family.

Marty Mishow is a sports writer for the Southeast Missourian.

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