Thunder & Lightning update
Noel Durfey
Noel Durfey

Posted Apr 12, 2007

A few weeks ago, the Thunder & Lightning support program for the strength and conditioning program was revived. A lot of Rebel fans have responded to the plea to chip in to modernize the Starnes Center weight room for the "other" sports. Please, consider donating to this needed and worthy cause.

The revitalization of the Starnes Center weight room is moving closer to becoming a reality as donations have come in steadily from Rebel fans who want to support the recently-renewed Thunder & Lightning program.

"We have had a significant amount of donations since The Ole Miss Spirit announced the Thunder & Lightning program would be viable again," said Strength Coach Noel Durfey. "We are a long way from reaching our goal, but it's obvious we are going to get there because Ole Miss fans are the best. When they see a real need, the attack it."

For a refresher course, the Starnes Center weight room is an 8,500 square foot facility directly behind the North End Zone of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. It is the main workout hub for all Rebel sports except football.

"We train our basketball teams, baseball team, tennis teams, soccer, track, softball - every athlete on campus other than football players use that weight room," Durfey noted. "It is imperative they have a good facility to get bigger and stronger in.

"The size of the Starnes Center weight room is ideal, but 20 years of wear and tear has left the condition of the facility needing repairs."

The goal is for new Mondo flooring, which the football weight room in the IPF has, and some new equipment. The flooring is the major expense of the projected $200,000 needed to restore the weight room to like-new condition.

"We've gotten a lot of response from Rebel fans, but we need a lot more," Durfey stated. "We are asking all Rebel fans to pitch in. We appreciate all donations, big and small. We also appreciate everyone who has acted on our request to this point. The improvements we need aren't in our budget, but Athletic Director Pete Boone has given us permission to raise the money ourselves, which we appreciate."

In recent years, while the football program is being rebuilt, we've been "hanging our hats" on the success of baseball, tennis, soccer and, more recently, hoops. Those athletes deserve our support and attention.

The project will have a price tag, as we said, upwards of $200,000. Your support will be appreciated and recognized in the Starnes Center.

You can send your earmarked donations to:

Thunder & Lightning Fund C/O UM Loyalty Foundation P.O. Box 355 University, MS 38677

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