By Joe Scalzo
Over the past five years, Youngstown State athletic director Ron Strollo has wanted to upgrade the Beeghly Center scoreboard.
Over the next few months, he might get his wish.
YSU is looking to replace its current scoreboard with one that will feature a videoboard on all four sides — the latest update to the 40-year-old facility.
“We think we’ve found a price within our budget and hopefully we’ll get that done between now and basketball season,” said Strollo, speaking at the Curbstone Coaches’ Monday luncheon at the Blue Wolf Banquet Center. “We’ve had hurdles to cross and we’ve got to make sure we have the resources but I’m hoping it can be done in time for our first volleyball game.”
The videoboard would allow the Penguins to show video replays and expanded statistics and have more flexibility with promotions, he said.
YSU has invested more than $4 million in Beeghly Center over the past five years, installing a new court in 2008 while updating the lighting, locker rooms and offices.
YSU is also looking to play at least one non-league basketball game at the downtown Covelli Centre next season, Strollo said.
“Both sides would like to do it; we’ve just got to find the right date and the right opponent,” Strollo said. “We wouldn’t play a Horizon League game for competitive purposes, but maybe one of our [non-league] games, especially if we can do a doubleheader with the men and the women.”
Other topics covered by Strollo included:
Butler’s interest in leaving the Horizon League for the Atlantic 10.
“My initial feedback is that Butler doesn’t have any interest in moving out of the Horizon League but the reality is, anything’s possible,” said Strollo. “Really, the only people who really know what’s going on is probably the commissioner of the Atlantic 10 and the president of Butler.
“I expect Butler to be part of our league for a long time.”
Football “guarantee games.”
After playing Pitt in the opener on Sept. 1, the Penguins will return to Michigan State in 2013 (most likely in the third week of the season) then travel to Illinois for the first time in 2014.
“It should be a fun game; that will be a different experience for us,” said Strollo of Illinois. “When you talk about guarantee games, we’re always trying to go out and earn as much money as we can while staying close so our fans can enjoy it.
“We’re constantly in discussions with Michigan, West Virginia and Ohio State and, at some point, we want to get back down to the state of Florida. We have a lot of [alumni] down there and we recruit down there, so every once in awhile, we try to get back down that way.”
YSU last played in Florida in 2002, at Florida Atlantic.
Strollo said he has discussed playing one of the guarantee games on a Thursday, “which kind of helps everyone.”
“It gives the kids more time to heal and you can report early to [training] camp,” he said.
The new softball and soccer stadiums.
Strollo said bids are out for building the new facilities, which would be located across the street from Stambaugh Stadium near the current M27 parking lot.
YSU’s softball team now plays in Canfield while the soccer team plays at Stambaugh on a field that’s smaller than regulation size.