One of many firsts for the brand-new Northeast Mississippi Community College volleyball program is on the horizon.
The inaugural National Signing Day (NSD) for the Tigers is set for Tuesday, Nov. 1. It is the culmination of four months full of recruiting for Northeast head coach Brenda Mayes.
Mayes has left a few stones unturned this fall in seeking talent for her initial roster. She saw at least one match for almost every high school inside Northeast’s traditional five-county service area, which includes Alcorn, Prentiss, Tippah, Tishomingo and Union counties.
She was recently in attendance for both the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) North Regional in Huntsville, Ala., and the Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) state championships on the campus of Mississippi State University.
Mayes, who won four state titles in a row while coaching at Muscle Shoals (Ala.) High School, has enjoyed getting to meet and cultivate relationships with prospective student-athletes and their prep coaches as well.
She was proud to see several local programs thrive in the postseason. Belmont and Ingomar high schools captured state championships while Alcorn Central was the runner-up in their respective classifications.
“It’s been good to see some competitive volleyball over the last couple of weeks,” said Mayes. “I’ve been pleased to visit all these schools. I think the level of play for volleyball in our area is picking up.”
Mayes has been just as busy on the Booneville campus when not traveling on the recruiting trail. The equipment necessary to transform historic Bonner Arnold Coliseum into a two-sport venue has started to arrive.
The on-court system, including the standards, antennae, officials stand, net and personalized padding, all reached their new home in mid-September. The pads look sharp with a primarily black background, gold fade and Northeast’s tiger head logo with lettering on both sides.
The Tigers’ dressing room in the southwest corner of the gymnasium is also beginning to come together. Approximately 15 state-of-the-art lockers were recently installed with more improvements planned for the near future.
“Things have been going pretty good,” Mayes said. “When our recruits come on campus, we’ve got something to show them. We should be getting our balls and our carts in soon. We’re looking forward to what’s next.”
Northeast is the fourth member of the Mississippi Association of Community Colleges Conference (MACCC) to add volleyball to its athletic offerings. The Tigers are now around nine months away from their first matches.
Nov. 1st is also the start of the signing period for baseball, men’s basketball, men’s golf, men’s tennis, softball, women’s basketball and women’s tennis at Northeast and other National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) affiliates.