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Newell-Grissom Building Home of mississippi state volleyball

The Newell-Grissom Building, with a colorful and varied history as a campus landmark that spans seven decades, is in its 23rd year as the home for Mississippi State’s Volleyball Bulldogs in 2019.

The spacious facility has served as the Bulldogs’ on-campus volleyball home since 1997. Mississippi State played Georgia (October 3, 1997) in the first volleyball match at the Newell-Grissom Building. Now, 22 years later, second-year head coach Julie Darty will lead the Bulldogs in a total of 15 home matches, which also includes hosting the StarkVegas Classic to start the season.

Including nearly 600 maroon chair back seats installed in the arena’s east stands prior to the start of the 2006 campaign, the volleyball-exclusive facility, featuring 12,000 square feet of hardwood flooring, has arena seating for more than 2,000.

Fifteen of the 20 most-attended volleyball events at the Newell-Grissom Building have occurred in the last five years. MSU eclipsed the 1,000-mark in attendance twice in 2011, including a facility-record 3,021 that packed the arena August 26 for a season-opening match against Southern Illinois. MSU and Florida were the only SEC teams to eclipse the 3,000-attendance mark in a regular season match in 2011. The Bulldogs also brought in a crowd of 4,525 in a 3-0 victory against No. 25 Kentucky in an Oct. 14 matchup at Humphrey Coliseum, setting the state of Mississippi’s attendance record for a volleyball match.

In 2013, the Bulldogs posted four of the top 10 attendance figures. MSU had the second-highest attendance in program history as well in 2013, when 1,633 packed State’s home venue in an ESPNU broadcast against in-state rival Ole Miss. In 2017, MSU posted three attendance showings in facility's top 15.

Located adjacent to State’s football stadium, Davis Wade Stadium, the Newell-Grissom Building has undergone a myriad of significant transformations since its arrival on the MSU scene in the early 1950s.

Since 2004, the facility has seen the addition of an air conditioning system, chair back seating and a new sound system. The locker rooms and team areas have undergone renovations, a concession facility has been added to service the needs of a growing fan base, and a new sound system and scoreboard have been installed to enhance the game experience.

In 2012, The Griss saw the installation of a new lighting system that improves the illumination of volleyball-exclusive markings on a resurfaced court and colorful decorative interior and exterior banners that have been installed to give the facility an added Mississippi State flavor.

Prior to the 2016 season, The Griss received a number of upgrades, including one of the few gray courts, as the Newell-Grissom floor was stripped and resurfaced.

To kick off the Julie Darty era, significant renovations were done to Newell-Grissom with the addition of a high-definition Daktronics video board, as well as DVSport replay capabilities. Other upgrades included new graphics inside the facility, which brings a whole new feeling to the arena: new window banners on all windows, “StarkVegas” wall wraps in the main lobby, both ends of the court and locker room hallways. The hospitality room is now called the Family Room, which includes Hail State dimensional lettering and door wraps that will be used for pregame meals and other activities for the players. There has also been an addition of an officials’ locker room with ample room for officials.

Prior to year two of the Julie Darty era, the Newell-Grissom Building was renovated to enhance the student-athlete experience. The updates included an improved locker room and the addition of a study lounge, video room, team lounge and fueling station.

Locker Room

Study Lounge

Video Room

Team Lounge

Fueling Station

As its early nickname, “the cow barn,” indicates that the Newell-Grissom Building was designed primarily as a facility for rodeos, livestock shows and equestrian competitions. It eventually developed into the campus and regional center for concerts and other entertainment events, and the building’s size and central location on campus also made it a natural for graduation ceremonies, class registration operations and other university functions.

In 1978, the arena was formally named in honor of two long-time leaders in MSU’s animal science department, Paul F. Newell (1910) and E.E. Grissom (1932). The structure went largely unused in the 1980s and early 1990s, and it gradually fell into disrepair.

Faced with an expensive “tear-it-down-or-fix-it-up” proposition, the university, partnered with the MSU Department of Athletics, embarked in early 1995 on a million-dollar renovation project. That initial project included reroofing, the installation of a hardwood floor and a lighting system, the construction of locker rooms and team meeting areas, and the addition of public restroom facilities. The renovated Newell-Grissom Building initially served as an auxiliary practice site for volleyball and both the men’s and women’s basketball teams at Mississippi State in 1996 while Humphrey Coliseum served as the primary on-campus competition site for all three teams.

The Newell-Grissom Building is the third on-campus home of intercollegiate volleyball in 43 full seasons at Mississippi State University. MSU’s first volleyball teams competed in McCarthy Gymnasium prior to moving to Humphrey Coliseum in the 1970s.