LAUREL, MS (WDAM) - Let's play ball.
After nearly 30 years, basketball is making a comeback at Southeastern Baptist College. The announcement was made at a press conference in the college's library on Thursday.
"We are looking forward to the Renaissance of Southeastern Baptist College and for its future," said Southeastern Baptist College president Scott Carson. "It's exciting stuff that's happening around here and we know that we want this school to be the first choice (for students)."
Carson says a lack of interest in the program was the reason the program diminished. However, after evaluating their recruiting process, they realized it was time to make a change.
"We sensed there was a recruiting need for students," said Carson. "We are actively seeking ways to promote the school and to help the school regain the students it once had. Lack of having sports programs helped them (students) make a decision to go elsewhere."
Now, recruiting season is underway. And Brad Phillips is leading that charge as the new basketball coach and athletic director. Phillips, who was hired in February, has 15 years of coaching experience at the high school and junior college level.
"I'm excited to be a part of Southeastern Baptist College and Jones County," Phillips said. "I want to thank Dr. Carson and the board of trustees for giving me this opportunity. We're excited to restart basketball since the 1980s and continue the tradition they've had since the 70s and 80s."
Three players have already committed to the program including South Plaquemine High School's Daron Powell. Southeastern Baptist College hosted their signing day April 5 and they are hoping to add to their rosters.
"We're still in the process of recruiting women's and men's basketball players for the fall," Phillips said. "We'd like to get some local talent to consider SBC as their first choice."
The men and women's basketball team aren't the only thing that's getting revamped.
"We are also looking at renovation of the gymnasium specifically the court and we're looking for corporate sponsors to help us out with that," Carson said adding it will begin in mid-July. "We know that locally Coca-Cola has already stepped up and will provide us with a new scoreboard."
Phillips says they are hoping to join either the Association of Christian College Athletics or the National Christian College Association. The first game, which will be a scrimmage is set for Oct. 27. However, the 15-game schedule has not been released yet.