Gulf Coast set to open summer hoops on new hardwood

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - What a difference a few weeks makes.

That's been a recurring theme on the Gulf Coast campus and everywhere else during Hurricane Michael cleanup efforts.

Harrison Field House was damaged, forcing the beginning of the 2018 basketball season on the road, although GCSC got it ready to play just a few weeks later.

Last month, the school reevaluated with Impact Sport Surfaces and realized that what seemed like minor water damage was actually extensive, forcing them to rip up the entire floor.

July 1st was the estimated date of completion, but as of the second week of June, the facility is open to the basketball teams.

"They're a little bit behind," athletic director Mike Kandler said of both the men's and women's teams. "The big thing is that both programs are going to be bringing in a bunch of players for the C Session of summer school. Coach Scovel has had her players work out outdoors at courts and they're doing a little bit in the weight room and same with some of the guys that are around, but summer is a big key to development in basketball. Without a gym, it's pretty tough for them to get better. We're really excited that's going to be ready to roll here."

The women's team is the defending national champion. The men hit the floor under the guidance of Phil Gaffney, a career 500 game winner formerly at Georgia Highlands, announced as head coach in May.

Gaffney's top priority during summer is working to find another six recruits to go along with who has signed and the five players returning. At least now he can look ahead to having his new players on a new floor.

"To finally see the beautiful floor, and it's painted beautifully, and it's gorgeous, all brand new--we're really excited," Gaffney said. "It also allows us to get on the floor so we can start working with individuals our third summer school, which is June 20th. We have five young men out here, can't work on your game without a floor. We're excited to have the floor, excited to get them into summer school, and excited to get to work with them a little bit."

The contingent of five returning includes Jacolbey Owens and Blountstown alum Kevon Godwin, both expected to continue playing substantial roles next season.

Gaffney says he's not putting any timetable on himself for filling those last six roster spots, other than when school starts the third week of August.