New video/scoreboard catches attention at QND
AD Conversations: Part One in a series
QUINCY (WGEM) - When Bill Connell surveys the sprawling outdoor athletic facilities that dot the landscape at Quincy Notre Dame High School, he swells with pride.
But for the upcoming 2022-23 season, the longtime Raiders athletic director is most excited about a new indoor improvement: A large video board/scoreboard that will dominate the west wall of The Pit.
“That’s our A1 large-scale project for this year,” said Connell, who is starting his 31st year at the school and 27th as athletic director. “Our gym is going to look dramatically different to our fans. I can’t stress enough that this doesn’t happen without a lot of people who bleed Blue and Gold.”
The 8-foot x 21-foot video board/scoreboard not only keeps the numbers for basketball, volleyball and wrestling contests but also offers an advertising and sponsorship component that will allow the school extra possibilities for revenue. The new board also complements a video board that was recently installed on the east end of The Pit.
“We can use it for any event we have in the gym, including nonathletic events such as graduation,” Connell said.
Connell said work on dismantling the old scoreboard and installing the new video board/scoreboard began in October 2021 but was suspended during basketball season over fears supply chain issues would delay construction.
“But once basketball season ended, it was pretty quick turnaround,” Connell said. Some parts of the old scoreboard that were dismantled dated back to the 1970s. Connell said the salvaged parts of the old scoreboard will be offered up for auction during the QND Extravaganza.
Connell said most of the Raiders veteran coaching staff will return with two exceptions: Sebastian Fuentes takes over as head cross country coach and longtime cheerleading coach Tracy Grant returns for a second tenure.
The Raiders are coming off two state championship seasons in 2021-22 with titles in girls soccer and basketball, and with a cadre of veteran coaches with state championships or trophies in the school’s display case, Connell is looking for another banner season.
“The bottom line here is we have a great leadership team at our school and we have great leaders in our coaching staff,” Connell said. “We have a lot of stellar people at Quincy Notre Dame and that helps us compete.”
Recently, Connell was asked by some parents and supporters to consider adding trap shooting. Turns out that addition was a bullseye.
“It has been a very positive experience,” Connell said.
Trapshooting is not a sanctioned Illinois High School Association sport and is considered a club team. Because of that, anyone can be on the team and it doesn’t affect status with varsity sports.
So this past year the team, coached by Jeff Agard, had more than 30 participants.
“It is just another positive way to provide more opportunities for our students,” Connell said.
Connell has one wish for this school season. Normalcy
“I just hope we can go back to the way we were (pre-COVID),” Connell said. “I just want to see our kids have the opportunity to work hard, have some fun and find some success.”
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