By Andrew Glover
COYLE, Okla. —
Last season, if you were to look in the stands at Langston University during Coyle home football games, you would think, not many people were there because of the large amount of empty seats. This year the Bluejackets hope to have the ninth man in the stands as they begin their first season in their own stadium.
“It will be nice to have everyone crowded in and close to the field,” football coach Shane Weathers said. “Hopefully, it will give us a nice homefield advantage.”
The field is near completion as grass is growing in. The two goal posts are also installed.
“We have to put up the lights this week,” Weathers said. “Then the real work begins with the kids.”
The Bluejackets, who advanced to the Class B 8-man playoffs for the second straight season, will open the new field Sept. 6 against Covington-Douglas.
“It’s going to be really nice for the fan base to have something they can call their own,” Weathers said. “I’m excited and the kids are excited.”
The new gymnasium is also in the final stages of completion after only being a pile of dirt last year.
“We just had the floor put in,” boys basketball coach Josh Sumrall said. “They should be painting the graphics on the floor soon.”
The gym will also house the locker rooms for boys and girls basketball. Each locker room has a clock that is connected to the scoreboard to show how much time the teams have until the start of the game and halftime ending.
In case of severe weather, the gym has two tornado shelters behind each set of bleachers. One of the shelter areas will serve as the weight room for all athletic squads.
Coyle’s previous gym, which was 86 years old, only seated a little more than 300 people. The new gym will be able to seat 1,100. Sumrall said the larger capacity should help the Bluejackets host postseason.
“We definitely built the gym for that reason,” Sumrall said. “With our success we are capable of hosting districts and regionals.”
The Bluejackets continued their winning tradition last season as they advanced to the Class A state championship. On Dec. 3 Coyle opens the new gym with the same school that closed the previous gym — Mulhall-Orlando.
“There really wasn’t any significance with that,” Sumrall said. “It’s just another team and that’s the way it played out. I think other visiting school are going to like the bigger facility. The district is excited about having a new facility.”
The girls basketball team will use the new gym when it starts preseason on Oct. 1. The boys will start using it, after football season ends.
The first event the gym will host is the Oklahoma State school board meeting on September 19. As soon as the football field and gym are completed, Coyle will have a ribbon-cutting event.