The Newell-Grissom Building, with a colorful and varied history as a campus landmark that spans seven decades, is in its 17th year as the home for Mississippi State's Volleyball Bulldogs in 2013.
The spacious facility has served as the Bulldogs' on-campus volleyball home since 1997. Current State head coach Jenny Hazelwood was a member of the Mississippi State team that played Georgia (October 3, 1997) in the first volleyball match at the Newell-Grissom Building. Her fourth MSU volleyball edition is scheduled to play 13 matches at the Newell-Grissom Building this fall, including the season-opening MSU Maroon Classic.
Including nearly 600 maroon chair back seats installed in the arena's east stands prior to the start of the 2006 campaign, the volleyball-exclusive facility, featuring 12,000 square feet of hardwood flooring, has arena seating for more than 2,000.
The five most-attended volleyball events at the Newell-Grissom Building have occurred in the last two years. MSU eclipsed the 1,000-mark in attendance twice in 2011, including a facility-record 3,021 that packed the arena August 26 for a season-opening match against Southern Illinois. MSU and Florida were the only SEC teams to eclipse the 3,000 attendance mark in a regular season match in 2011.
Located adjacent to State's football stadium, Davis Wade Stadium, the Newell-Grissom Building has undergone a myriad of significant transformations since its arrival on the MSU scene in the early 1950s.
Since 2004, the facility has seen the addition of an air conditioning system, chair back seating and a new sound system. The locker rooms and team areas have undergone renovations, a concession facility has been added to service the needs of a growing fan base, and a new sound system and scoreboard have been installed to enhance the game experience.
The latest round in a continuing parade of improvements at the Newell-Grissom Building includes the 2012 installation of a new lighting system that improves the illumination of volleyball-exclusive markings on a resurfaced court and colorful decorative interior and exterior banners that have been installed to give the facility an added Mississippi State flavor.
As its early nick name, "the cow barn" indicates, the Newell-Grissom Building was designed primarily as a facility for rodeos, livestock shows and equestrian competitions. But it eventually developed into the campus and regional center for concerts and other entertainment events, and the building's size and central location on campus also made it a natural for graduation ceremonies, class registration operations and other university functions.
In 1978, the arena was formally named in honor of two long-time leaders in MSU's animal science department, Paul F. Newell (1910) and E.E. Grissom (1932). The structure went largely unused in the 1980s and early 1990s and gradually fell into disrepair.
The Newell-Grissom Building is the third on-campus home in 39 seasons of intercollegiate volleyball at Mississippi State University. MSU's first volleyball teams competed in McCarthy Gymnasium prior to moving to Humphrey Coliseum in the 1970s.