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  • Richard Smith

John Hunt Park Sand Volleyball Complex – CCSA and C-USA Beach Volleyball Championships


Photos by Richard Smith, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.86

John Hunt Park Sand Volleyball Complex 2295 Airport Road Huntsville, AL 35801



Year Opened: 2019 Capacity: 500

 

North Alabama Beach

In 2019 Huntsville Alabama opened a state of the art beach volleyball complex called the John Hunt Park Sand Volleyball Complex. The 17-acre complex has 15 Sand Volleyball Courts, LED lighted courts, a cooling room to keep players from overheating, and full locker rooms with restrooms, showers and dressing rooms.


The Coastal Collegiate Sports Association (CCSA) is an NCAA Division I college athletic conference that started as the Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association by the ASUN Conference, Big South Conference, Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, and the Southern Conference to create a centralized home for their members with swimming and diving programs. In October 2015, the CCSA added the newly recognized NCAA sport of beach volleyball and rebranded itself the Coastal Collegiate Sports Association.


CCSA beach volleyball went through major changes in 2021. The CCSA entered into a beach volleyball partnership with Conference USA (C-USA) under which the 2021 CCSA championship in that sport was split into two groups, with the six full C-USA and Sun Belt Conference members playing in one group. Following the 2021 championship, those six schools—C-USA members Florida Atlantic, FIU, Southern Miss, and UAB, plus Sun Belt members Georgia State and Louisiana–Monroe (ULM)—formed a new C-USA beach volleyball league, with another Sun Belt member, Coastal Carolina, joining them. At the same time, Charleston and UNC Wilmington (UNCW) left CCSA beach volleyball for the ASUN. The CCSA now has 17 member schools.



Food & Beverage 3

There is a simple food stand and a few various food trucks over the life of the tournament. The options are limited for a large meal, but it will do for quick bites.


Atmosphere 4

There is a wonderful festive atmosphere to the joint volleyball championships here at John Hunt Park. There are no regular seats unless you pay for the VIP package, but you may not mind. Sit along the beach courts, take your shoes off, and enjoy the great action.


Neighborhood 4

Huntsville is now the largest city in Alabama (Birmingham has a larger metro area) with a population of 194,585 people. The area is home to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, the United States Army Aviation and Missile Command nearby at the Redstone Arsenal, and the state-owned US Space & Rocket Center. The replica Saturn V at the center can be seen quite aways away, especially on the nearby UAH campus.


Nearby University Drive going west towards Madison has a plethora of food options, from both chains to small operations. Phil Sandoval’s Mexican Restaurante, Shaggy’s Burgers and Tacos, ChopChop and TopGolf are some of the best options in that area. One should also look at the numerous brewpub options around the area.

Downtown Huntsville is also becoming a nice quaint place for a stroll. There will be a few food and drink options down there as well.


The Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment complex is an old factory and mill that houses numerous small artist studios as well as food and drink from options like Piper & Leaf Artisan Tea Company and Alchemy Lounge.


Fans 4

The fans are extremely knowledgeable and well engaged with the action. Many are family or friends, but they are good, loud and supportive fans. With this many schools participating you will see many fans wearing school colors.


Access 5

Huntsville is served by several U.S. Highways, including 72, 231, 431 and an Interstate highway spur, I-565, that links the two cities of Huntsville and Decatur to I-65. The John Hunt Park is off of Airport Road and near Memorial Parkway.


Return on Investment 4

The games are free to attend unless you are paying for the VIP tent area.


Extras 3

The John Hunt Park is a a 428-acre site offering many sports options. There are fields for various sports, bike trails, tennis courts and many other options for entertainment.


The north part of the park holds the remains of the Joe W. Davis Stadium, former home of the Southern League’s Huntsville Stars.


The John Hunt Park was the location of an earlier airport for the city. That is why the road near the park is called Airport Road although the regular airport is located quite away from this location. It used to be that you could see some items from the old airfield, but that is getting harder and harder as time goes along. The U.S. Veterans Memorial Museum, also located within the park area, is about the only remnant of the old air facility.


Final Thoughts

Northern Alabama may not be an area you consider a beach volleyball hotspot, but the John Hunt Park Sand Volleyball Complex is a great facility for an upcoming college sport.


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