More than sports headed to the new Myrtle Beach sports complex

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - There's no doubt the Myrtle Beach Sports Center will bring more sporting events to the beach, but that's not all city leaders have planned for the new building.

Now that the foundation for the sports center is up, talk is underway to decide what will take place inside.

"Really want to brand the facility other than a sports competition venue to try to give back something to the community and the athletes that are coming to the community," said General Manager of the Myrtle Beach Sports Complex John McDonald.

City leaders have met to come up with a new leadership program to take place through the sport center's doors.

Just as the sports center is being built from the ground up, so is this brand new leadership program, only it's just in the foundation stages, with a team, ready to build it up.

The tools behind the program are: leadership, integrity, sportsmanship and teamwork, which stands for LIST: Buddy's list. It's named after James T. "Buddy" Rogers.

"A historic name in this community," said McDonald. "He gave back all the time whether it was coaching, teaching and we really want to make that a focus of the venue and let kids know there's other things than the desired outcome of just winning an event but also learn life long, life skills and qualities."

One local coach who tries to instill these qualities in our kids, every day, is Colin Stevens, he says this program will help more than just the players.

"To help some parents and coaches to understand the influence they have on some athletes," said Manzer Basketball Academy Leader Colin Stevens.

With his basketball academy, Stevens works with third graders to pros. He finds well rounded players shoot and aim higher, to be well rounded adults. A program like this, can expand beyond the game.

"For them to be able to recollect things they learned here to be positive leaders in life, later on," he said.

Local leaders feel good character, builds well rounded athletes and the foundation for a team. They see it as a community benefit and a program they hope to take nationwide.

While the driving force behind this program isn't money, there's no doubt the sports center in general will create a boom for Myrtle Beach. In building the center, the goal was to draw more sports tourism events to the Grand Strand, like competitions and tournaments. Each event will bring a boom in sports tourism to the area.

"It could be well over a million dollars because you're talking about teams but you're also talking about parents, coaches potential recruiters, so the numbers are quite impressive when you look at a large scale event that cover a couple of days and a weekend," said McDonald.

For the time when tourists may not be in town, the plan is to host "different events," from pickleball to shuffleboard tournaments, a place not just for kids, but senior citizens and the community as a whole.

The general manager of the center says there are many more plans underway, which he'd rather not discuss, but the overall goal in building the center is to drive in sports tourism, which we will see once the building is finished in March.

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