Directly in the geographic center of the state of Tennessee, you'll find Middle Tennessee State University, home of the Blue Raiders.
The Blue Raiders are enjoying great success at the Murphy Center, where their men's and women's basketball teams play. In fact, both the men's and women's basketball teams have now won a combined 27-straight regular season games at Murphy Center. The football team has also enjoyed reasonable success at their venue, Floyd Stadium.
MTSU athletic director Chris Massaro has unveiled what he's calling a "master plan" to renovate these athletic facilities, along with others.
(Photo taken by Middle Tennessee Sports Information.)
Although Murphy Center offers a great atmosphere for college basketball, the venue's construction makes it a bit outdated. It's built more like a box than an arena. With the recent success enjoyed by the Blue Raider basketball program, it makes a lot of sense to revamp this historic venue. New suites and seating will be added as part of this renovation project at Murphy Center. The current seating capacity at Murphy Center is a modest 11,802.
There is an indoor track that currently runs behind the bleacher seating, which takes up valuable space that could be used for fitting in more fans. With a multi-purpose facility being part of the "master plan", the track team would no longer need to use the track inside the Murphy Center.
The demand is certainly there. The most recent home game for the Blue Raiders saw over 10,000 fans attend to see them play rival Western Kentucky. As the old saying goes, "if you build it, they will come". Adding more seats could mean bringing bigger programs into Murfreesboro as well, which would lead to more national recognition.
It is unknown how much these indoor renovations could cost, but the total could easily approach $10 million. Some renovations have already occurred to give Murphy Center a more impressive look, including the addition of LED scoreboards above the tunnels.
The football team has gotten a little more national attention over the past few years, but Floyd Stadium could still use some renovations of its own. The club level is the main part of Floyd Stadium that could see upgrades soon, including adding glass suites for fans to enjoy the game in an enclosed atmosphere. This addition would open up more opportunities for local businesses to buy out suites for their company. Making upgrades to Floyd Stadium could also help with recruiting. Recruits want to be proud of where they will be playing their college football on Saturdays, as do the passionate fans.
It will be interesting to see how Massaro's plan continues to unfold over the next few years, but it looks as though these historic venues have a bright future in Murfreesboro.