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Welcome to the Panthers’ den

Lincoln Prep coaches pleased with new home gym, basketball court
Tuesday, May 23, 2023
Welcome to the Panthers’ den

Leader photo by Matt Belinson
Lincoln Prep officially opened its new gymnasium and basketball court Monday morning, with school officials excited about what the project can provide students.

GRAMBLING — After a long wait, Lincoln Prep finally has a home gymnasium.

Dozens were packed in attendance for the official ribbon-cutting and reveal of Lincoln Prep’s new gym and basketball court Monday, with school and state officials looking on proudly.

While the Panthers and their athletic programs are the ones who will use the court, Lincoln Prep boys basketball coach Antonio Hudson believes the addition is a new gem for the entire Grambling community to celebrate.

“Being from Grambling and being from the community, it’s bigger than just the team,” Hudson said Monday. “This whole deal is for the whole community.

“To finally have a place we can call our own within the last five years and upgrade what we had; one thing about this school and community is it’s built off love, so even without this building, we’ll still always be one family.”

Hudson was joined by Lincoln Prep director Gordan Ford, Louisiana State Treasurer John M. Schroder, Louisiana State Representative Patrick O. Jefferson, and Grambling State President Rick Gallot, among others.

Over the last three seasons, the Panthers have played ‘ home’ games on the road – whether it be New Living Word School, Jonesboro- Hodge, or the Ruston Sports Complex.

Now, Prep can begin working and playing at a place it can truly call home.

And Hudson was all smiles when asked how soon he expects to start practicing on the new hardwood.

“I’d say within the next week,” Hudson said. “ You know, on the sports side of it, to be able to have somewhere that you can practice day- in and day-out, no time limit, no restraints, being able to have an actual home court advantage, that’s a positive,” Hudson said. “Again, the magnitude of what’s happening today oversees everything.”

The new gym will seat close to 930 fans and feature six goals for the boys and girls teams to practice on at the same time, with a screen able to divide the court for simultaneous practices.

A working AC and heating system doesn’t hurt either, as Hudson recalls he never played in a gym at Grambling with working AC or heat in the needed seasonal changes in his playing days.

The upgrade of having six goals at once is another key feature.

“ This is the first time I’ve ever had a gym with more than two goals,” Hudson said. “We’ve got four on the side and two in the middle, so we got six goals.

“First time I’ve ever had that. It’s a blessing.”

Glen Hall, Lincoln Prep athletic director, didn’t know when the Panthers would finally build up their own facility, but now that it’s here, he couldn’t be more pleased with how it looks and how student athletes will benefit.

“It’s an opportunity that seemed so far away when I came here seven years ago when they changed the name of the school,” Hall said. “We’ve got great kids and the kids will benefit from everything that’s going on.

“With these facilities, and for each sport we have now, to be able to practice and play home games, I think it’s going to make everything better.”

Hall said the Grambling community has always supported its schools, but now that Lincoln Prep has a modern and sizeable space for its own use, he expects even more parents and fans to make their way to the gym this winter.

“It gives the parents an opportunity to be there instead of playing a home game at Carroll, Cedar Creek, or Jonesboro, and we appreciate those people,” Hall said. “It’s just a great idea that their parents can come and see them and be a part of the school, their own school.”