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Matthew Brown/HHJ
 
By MATTHEW BROWN
Journal Sports Writer
mbrown@sunmulti.com
Bobby Brown certainly didn’t need an on-campus gym to get Middle Georgia Technical College going on a winning track. Just two years into the job, his Titans won both the regular-season and the tournament championship of the TCSGAA in 2010-11.
Last season, Middle Georgia Technical, with a both and men’s and women’s basketball team, jumped into the GCAA, Division III, with several of their TCSGAA rivals.
The 2012-13 campaign, the fourth overall for the Titans as an intercollegiate program, brings on a new era as Middle Georgia Technical College now has a campus facility for practices and games.
No more trekking around Houston County looking to share practice time with a middle school. No more ‘home’ games at Ft. Valley State University. The Titans are now 100 percent Middle Georgia Technical College’s team.
On Tuesday, the first doubleheader at home takes place with a women’s game against Brewton-Parker’s junior varsity beginning at 5:30 p.m. The men will follow.
Normally, general admission tickets are $3 each (children age 12 & under admitted free). On this debut evening, anyone who brings a canned food item, which the Titans are collecting for the ‘Feed the City’ charity, will get into the games free of charge.
Games are free all season long for Middle Georgia Technical students, staff and faculty with the proper identification.
“I’m just glad it’s up,” said Brown about the building called “G Extension” located behind the G Building, which is near the shipping and the trucking departments. “We did the dedication on the 24th last month. We’ve been excited about having this facility open.
“I think it will hold a little more than 500 for a game. That’s more than enough for what we need. In the past, when we played at Ft. Valley State, our attendance was around the 300 to 500 range.”
The gym has locker rooms for the men’s and women’s home and visiting teams and referees, plus a fitness room open to all students and classrooms with a tutor lab and a computer lab where the basketball players hold study hall. For basketball spectators, there will be a concession stand with what amounts to a full kitchen and a dining room where one can get their food.
Fans may also notice a different kind of playing surface, one that Brown said meets NCAA specifications. He said it has a good bounce, and the players have had time to practice on it and acclimate themselves to it.
“The (players) have really embraced having their own place to practice,” said Brown. “In the past our practice times had to be limited. Now we’ve been able to come together and have time where we can really work on things and take our time in practice to go over things.
“With the locker rooms, they have their own individual space. It does make them feel like this is a big college event in their mindsets.”
That extends to the student body and MGTC faculty.
“I’ve been hearing from a lot of the faculty and staff here, their excitement about coming out and watching these young men and women play this year,” said Brown. “The students are real eager about the games, checking out the schedule. I think the faculty and staff will really embrace us this year.”
Cambri Steadman of the Middle Georgia Technical marketing and public relations department said the Chick-fil-A cow will be at the home opener to help with halftime promotions. The restaurant personnel will hand out coupons and stage a dance contest.
After Thanksgiving, the Titans have home doubleheaders on Nov. 26 against Albany Technical College and Nov. 28 against East Georgia College.
Even bigger for Middle Georgia Technical is that the GCAA Division III championship tournaments for men and women are coming to Warner Robins Feb. 22-24. Plus, an NJCAA national qualifying game for women’s basketball between the GCAA (Region 17) champion and Region 10 will be here at the end of February.
“We will have a lot of basketball going on at that time,” said Brown. “I’ve been working on the manual. We have a couple of local hotels who have come on board to serve as hosts for housing our visiting teams. I think it’s going to be a big thing for our community.”
Now, the not so good news around Titans basketball. Both the Middle Georgia Technical men and women are off to an 0-3 start, all games played on the road. That included season-openers at Division I powerhouse Georgia Perimeter College Nov. 1 and this past Wednesday at East Georgia in Swainsboro.
“Our women’s team played two tough games against Division I opponents,” said Brown, whose wife Lawanda is the Lady Titans’ head coach. At Chattanooga State in Tennessee Nov. 3, the ladies lost by five after missing clutch foul shots down the stretch.
“(At East Georgia) they were without some of their key players. One of them tweaked her ankle and her starting point guard had a death in the family. They played as well as they could.
“On the men’s side, we started out with a tough schedule. This is a young team. Most of them are freshmen. We only have two returning from last year. Some of our players had an opportunity to go on and play.”
That includes former Northside High Eagle Dess Culpepper, who went to Clark University in Atlanta. Brown said the program is always happy to see their players get picked up by four-year schools.
“We’re still trying to find ourselves,” said Brown. “Trying to get that team chemistry down. We have great components in place, a lot of things we haven’t had: shooters, guys who can get to the basket who are very athletic. We did very well in the preseason (scrimmaging in places like Lilburn, Columbus and Waycross).
“We’re always driven on defense. I think it’s just learning, jumping from high school up. Even though we are at the lowest level of college basketball, it’s still a big curve to jump up to and learn what we are expecting.
“We expect to be doing great when we’re hosting that tournament. We’re always looking to win a championship. We have the components to do what we need to do as long as we keep working and playing disciplined basketball. I have no doubt we will be champions at the end.”
So Brown is getting ready for a new season and opening a new gym, and preparing for a conference tournament … and recruiting future Titans. That’s something else that should be much easier with a brand new gym. A ‘gem’ of his incoming freshman class is Dublin High’s D’Meco Rozier, who was the Most Valuable Player of the Houston County High Bear Brawl.
“A lot of kids (and parents) ask ‘Where do we play?’ ‘Where do we practice?’” said Brown. “We were able to get some star talent this year. We’ve gotten a lot of calls about kids who are looking at us and considering us. We want our local young men and women to check us out and look at opportunities of playing here in the future.”


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