GLVC moves tournaments to Missouri

Bradie Gray

The location of this season’s Great Lakes Valley Conference basketball tournaments has both Rodney Watson and Rick Stein disappointed, to say the least.

After two consecutive years of holding the GLVC basketball tournaments at the Ford Center in downtown Evansville, the ball games have been moved two hours away to Family Arena in St. Charles, Missouri.

“The decision was made because the contract had run out here, but I know that everyone in the league really enjoyed the tournament being here because it was well done,” Coach Watson said. “However, due to conflict with the facility, we couldn’t get the Ford Center for the next two years.”

The University of Evansville’s Women’s Basketball team would not have been able to finish its regular season games at home in the Ford Center because the tournaments were scheduled at the same place and time.

To allow UE to finish at home, the GLVC had no choice but to move.

Watson is disappointed by the move, but said that other than the Ford Center, the Family Arena is the best place to hold the tournaments.

“I know it’s a nice place. I’m just afraid the atmosphere is not going to be nearly what it is at the Ford Center,” Watson said. “We put on such a good tournament and we put so much energy and effort into it that people became accustomed to it and how well everything was done. We’ll have to wait and see what kind of show they can put on.”

Despite his disappointment, Watson said the tournaments are more than just where they are located and what facility they are held in.

“A conference tournament isn’t just (about) playing it in a building,” he said. “It’s about a special event and it takes effort for those things to happen. It’s important to student athletes, especially seniors. It’s their last go around, and for a lot of them, it’s their last tournament, and for that to be a special thing is really nice.”

The biggest concern for both coaches is the number of students who will be willing to travel two hours to watch in the tournaments.

“It’s going to take a lot of effort and, hopefully, we’ll have a good team and we’ll be a team that the students want to follow because that makes such a big difference,” Watson said.

Stein had a more positive outlook on the matter.

“We’re always working hard to get students to attend and we generally travel well with fans,” Stein said. “I think the more people we have in the fan section, the better, but they have to find ways to win even if there isn’t a big crowd watching.”

Coach Stein has no doubt in his mind that the tournaments will someday return to Evansville.

“It’s got to,” Stein said. “When you look at the kind of hosts Evansville and the Ford Center are, there is no question whether it will be back here after these couple of years away.”