Stanhope Elmore court

For the first time since the new gym was built on campus at Stanhope Elmore, the gym floor got a new design and some much-needed revitalization as the Mustangs get ready to hit the court again for a new year next month. Volleyball and basketball players were introduced to the new floor last month and the reception was more than the administration could have asked for.

“They were super excited,” Stanhope Elmore boys basketball coach David Cochran said. “We all wanted them to know this was done for them. It was for everybody that plays on that court. They had a great reaction and everyone wanted to play right away.”

Aside from the regular scheduled buffering the floor gets every year, the court received a much more in-depth upgrade this summer. It was sanded down to a lighter colored wood and the area inside the paint of the basketball court was stained. Stanhope Elmore also added a 35-foot logo of a mustang to the middle of the court.

“They’re very excited about it,” SEHS volleyball coach Virginia Barber said. “They love how big the mustang is and how unique our court is going to be. I’m excited that it just brightens up the whole gym.”

Barber has been in charge of the volleyball program for four years and has been looking forward to making some changes to the facilities and equipment for the players. The court shows the progress but that’s not all that will see an upgrade this year.

“That was one of our goals for the volleyball team,” Barber said. “They deserve it. We got two brand new nets that will have our logo on it and new padding for the nets. We got some new volleyballs in. They just really do deserve this.”

With the positive changes being made around the program, Barber hopes it brings more attention on to the players and can even bring more people to the team.

“Anything that’s new and nice is exciting,” Barber said. “It’s also good for them to take pride in what we have and it attracts more students to us. Not every school gets to have what we have. Our middle school kids coming up get to see the big new court and hopefully they see the attraction.”

There is plenty of excitement for the basketball team as well. Cochran is entering his first year in charge of the program and he believes having the court upgrades will only add on to the excitement of taking over the team.

“Everybody talks about the staple or mark you want to leave and now I’m getting started with one,” Cochran said. “Having a new fresh start and a new identity is what it’s all about. That gym floor, when the community sees it, everyone is going to be speechless. It’s that nice in there. I’m just excited to get started.”

Cochran said the players are already excited about the opportunity to play on the new court but he is hoping that turns into a new homecourt advantage for the Mustangs.

“We always want to play well at home in front of home fans and all that,” Cochran said. “But now, we want to take some more pride in it. We hope having these new additions will get more people in there and we can play at a high level in front of them. If you look good, you play good.”

And Cochran is confident the court looks good enough to help give a boost to the Stanhope Elmore basketball programs. 

“It’s by far one of the top floors I’ve ever seen in a high school gym,” Cochran said. “It’s immaculate in there.”

Caleb Turrentine is a sports writer for Tallapoosa Publishers Inc.