Click here to locate the McCarthy Gymnasium on the MSU campus map.
Fifty years later, the Mississippi State Gymnasium, first known as State's "New Gym", has transformed into the first modern indoor tennis facility ever for the MSU tennis program.
The long-time Mississippi State basketball facility was converted in 1999 into a two-court indoor tennis complex. The facility is being utilized primarily for practices in times of inclement weather, but also serves as a competitive arena when matches at MSU's primary outdoor stadium, the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre, are in jeopardy.
The building, which was opened in 1950, is actually one of the most storied athletic facilities in MSU history, serving as home to some of State's most successful basketball teams ever.
The most prominent of those teams were those which played under late head coach James H. "Babe" McCarthy. McCarthy led State to SEC Championships in 1959, '61, '62, and '63. He was 169-85 overall, including a 99-20 mark at the MSU Gym.
Four MSU all-Americans played in the gym, including consensus selection Bailey Howell. The NBA Hall of Famer, who resides in Starkville, is one of State's loyal tennis boosters.
The gym was later named for McCarthy, a four-time SEC Coach of the Year selection, following his death in 1975.
Since that time, the Bulldogs have played basketball in Humphrey Coliseum, constructed in 1975, and the old gym has been utilized primarily by MSU's Recreational Sports department for various activities.
In 1998, the MSU Athletic Department reacquired the facility for the purpose of creating a much-needed indoor area for the nationally-prominent tennis program. An expansive renovation ensued and was completed in the fall of 1999.
The two courts in the Centre are a synthetic surface by Robbins. Curtains were also added in front of the existing concrete walls where retractable stands once stood.
The renovation also included several structural improvements, including new roofing elements, lighting enhancements and repainting of several areas.
The facility, which sat 5,000 fans when it first opened in 1950, seats 3,000 today (since retractable seating was removed), and provides yet another outstanding facility for the MSU tennis program.
State has already begun to add to the sports legend which is associated with the facility. Four matches were played at McCarthy Gym by the Bulldog and Lady Bulldog tennis teams during the 2000 season when inclement weather invaded Starkville. State's men's went 3-0 with wins over Southern Miss, South Carolina and Auburn, while the Lady Bulldogs downed Southern Miss in their only match there. State's women ran the teams' combined record in the facility to 5-0 in 2001 in the only MSU match held there during the season, besting UAB 4-3. The teams combined for a 1-2 mark in 2002 at McCarthy, to bring the record to 6-2 overall in the facility. In 2003, the Lady Bulldogs played the only home matches indoors, going 3-1 to run the two teams' record to 9-3 there. In '04, the Bulldogs went 2-0 at McCarthy, while State's women went 2-2. In 2005, the teams combined for a 4-1 mark indoors at McCarthy (Bulldogs 2-1, Lady Bulldogs 2-0). In 2006, the men went 1-0 and the women had a 1-1 record. In 2008, the Bulldogs played one match in the gym against UAB in which they won the match 4-1. Most recently, in the last two seasons, the Lady Bulldogs have gone 1-1 in matches played at McCarthy, which gives the teams a cumulative record of 21-8 in the facility.
In addition to those matches, the facility has already crowned a Southeastern Conference tennis champion. When the championship match of the 2000 SEC Men's Tennis Tournament was finally forced indoors, the deciding matches were played at McCarthy, with Florida downing Georgia for the title.