(Covington, La.) — Over the summer break, St. Paul’s School innovated their sports program with the addition of a jumbotron in Hunter Stadium to provide videos, such as instant replay, during games.
According to SPS President, Bro. Ray Bulliard, FSC, the school was approached by a group of sponsors willing to make it happen, if he was interested. He thought the biggest struggle in all of this would be getting enough sponsors to fully finance the project. However, he said it turned out not to be a problem at all.
“Fortunately, Resource Bank, Hornbeck Offshore Services, Mugshots, Dominos Pizza, and Banner Automotive stepped up and made this possible,” Bro. Ray said, assuring that the jumbotron could be accessible by all sports who use Hunter Stadium, not just football.
The jumbotron provides a large screen on the top of the new scoreboard that will show highlights, music videos, and possibly be used for instant replay. It will be operated by staff and students involved with the school’s sports teams.
The jumbotron will make its debut at the football jamboree to be held in Hunter Stadium this Friday. However, Head Football Coach Ken Sears does not feel its presence will give SPS an advantage, although he admits it may be an intimidation factor.
“A visiting team could also use it as a motivation factor,” added Sears.
“[The jumbotron] does give the school an advantage to get more kids involved,” said Sears, who feels it helps the students get more of an understanding of the game.
When asked if the addition of the jumbotron was a symbol of his team’s success with him at the helm as head coach, Sears agreed, but noted that he considers it more a symbol of all of the sports that call Hunter Stadium home that can also claim plenty of success in recent years.
Many feel that jumbotrons take high school sports a bit too far, since the screens are mostly used for sports at the collegiate and professional levels. However, Sears noted that a standard has been set for the size of high school jumbotrons that is nowhere close to the size of a college or NFL team big-screen. However, he added that one high school, West Monroe High, has already broken the standard.
SPS Athletic Director Craig Ketelsen sees jumbotrons as an emerging trend in high school sports.
“It is a definite trend with Mandeville, West Monroe, St. Thomas Moore, and now us,” said Ketelsen, who also confirmed that Covington High will be installing one by October.
Many students feel that this new trend will make for an exciting football season and look forward to seeing the Wolves boast their highlights on their new jumbotron.
According to Bro. Ray, the school has no plans at this time to use the jumbotron for any non-sporting events.
(photos by Nico Arcuri)