By PRISCILLA KADOLPH

Staff Writer

In 2011, it started out as one gym, no heat, minimum lighting, no restrooms, filthy floor, 55 male and female basketball players and six weeks of tournaments.

Tim Copsey and his wife, Brenda, built the MAC gym from nothing and created it into one of the most important sports programs for the county.

Tim Copsey is a sports fanatic, a referee and has a passion for keeping the youth of the community active. His wife matched that passion with a proposal to the owner of the MAC building to have a few sporting events to attract members of the community to its assisted living facility.

MAC is short for McLaughlin Athletic Center. Its namesake is from Thomas McLaughlin, III. He was the head of the group that purchased the building in 2005.

The MAC building has transitioned from the original gym built in 1936, to an elementary school, with a pool and gym, to an assisted living facility, to mecca of youth sports in Paulding County.

Today, the MAC gym is not only the center for basketball; it houses volleyball, indoor soccer and pickle ball tournaments and it is home to the Antwerp Wrestling Club and K&S Tumblefit.

The businesses in Antwerp are an integral component of the MAC gym. Their sponsorships help immensely to keep things going.

Tim and his wife initially reached out to the public by putting ads in local papers and reaching out to Tim’s contacts he built throughout the years of referring games.

After the initial six week league was successful they noticed a significant interest from the local schools. They created fliers and went to each school in the surrounding area to distribute them.

After that, the basketball program took off and applications to play inundated them. This year teams were turned away because the enrollment was too high to maintain.

Tim and his wife were approached by someone in the community about a volleyball league next. Shortly after, they were approached about an indoor soccer league, and a pickle ball league.

The transitions were not easy, especially creating the destination of youth sports in the area. It required and still requires an immense amount of time and effort. Tim and his wife are at the end of their MAC league journey and are seeking someone to fill their shoes and expand the program further.

Tim is optimistic and believes that with the right person in charge the league can continue to expand. He hopes to one day see the league have a kickball league for kids under third grade. He believes that all kids should have the opportunity to participate in sports activities.

In order for the MAC league to continue to succeed and expand, there must be someone in charge that is community oriented, believes that physical activities and sports are integral to children.

More information about MAC league can be found on the website macgymohio.com or you can email Tim Copsey at tim.copsey7@gmail.com.