by Bill Nestor, Sports Editor
It has been a while since I have had the opportunity to catch a basketball game at Lincoln High School. This past week I had the privilege of broadcasting a key Big 10 Conference matchup as Robert C. Byrd traveled to Shinnston to battle the Cougars.
The game was a thriller that went down to the wire with the Flying Eagles pulling out a narrow win. In spite of the loss, I was impressed with Lincoln’s squad. They were talented and obviously well coached as Jordan Toth has the program going in the right direction.
I was also impressed with some changes that were made in the gymnasium that have made a huge difference in the appearance and functionality of this facility.
Prior to the contest I had a chance to talk with Lincoln Athletic Director Holly Hawkins about the changes at her school and how things were going in general. Hawkins is one of those ADs that puts everything she can into her job and because of that, this school prospers tremendously.
The first topic of conversation was the seating change in the gym and what it has meant to this venue. “We are excited! The original bleachers were 39 years old,” explained Hawkins. The original bleachers had outlived their effectiveness and safety was becoming a concern and some fans couldn’t navigate them very well. “They were not handicap accessible. My older fans are excited to be able to get up into the bleachers safely.”
The fans aren’t the only ones that are enjoying the benefits of enhancement. “The custodial staff is really happy because it is just the push of a button to open and shut them now.”
The short amount of time required to set up the seating allows the school to host more events which will keep Hawkins busy. “This week we will have six straight days in a row with games.”
It is the busiest time of the year for Athletic Directors. However, one variable has been working in their favor this winter. The weather has been cooperating which cuts down on cancelations and rescheduling of events. “We have had few snow days so therefore life is a little less stressful.”
Hawkins has also done her fair share of planning and preparation to take stress out of the equation on game day. She noticed that the new stands were not as bulky and she changed the traffic flow which helped with player safety immensely. “These bleachers aren’t as wide so it makes it easier for fans to walk up the sides (steps with railing) and cut through that way.” This path brings fans out on the middle walkway that allows those attending the option of setting down low or taking a more bird’s eye view.
In the past fans would walk up the bleachers and their path would take them by the players on the bench or during a stoppage in play, close to the huddle. The new route allows more of a separation of fans and players.
Another step up in seating was made by Hawkins to benefit the players and coaches. “We were able to implement chairs like most schools have. Local businesses donated chairs and their name is on the back of them.”
This entire project would not have been possible without the help of several. “We want to thank the Harrison County School Board and the Superintendant. We were able to raise some of the money but not all of it. They helped us out tremendously.”
Several stepped up to help and Hawkins has worked hard to take full advantage of it.
That will do it for now. Until next week … take care and God Bless!