Director of Athletics Gerald Harrison speaks at the October 2020 groundbreaking of F&M Bank Arena. KELSEY STORY | THE ALL STATE

The future home of Austin Peay’s men’s and women’s basketball program took another step in its development late last month.

Previously referred to as the Multi-Purpose Event Center, the MPEC and APSU officially inked a 30-year lease in October of 2020 and broke ground at the construction site one month later.

On July 29, officials from F&M Bank, the Nashville Predators, Montgomery County government, Austin Peay State University and the City of Clarksville announced the downtown development’s permanent name: the F&M Bank Arena.

“The MPEC—with its naming rights recently secured by F&M Bank—is poised to become one of the preeminent entertainment facilities not just in the Midstate area but around the Southeast, and it will be located in the heart of Clarksville, right in our own backyard,” said Director of Athletics Gerald Harrison in an annual address.

“A revival to the downtown corridor is coming, with Austin Peay serving as the backbone for an area poised for explosive growth in the months and years ahead.”

Harrison added that the new venue isn’t the sole expansion planned for the athletic department’s facilities. Upgrades are soon to be scheduled for football, baseball and softball as well.

In addition to F&M Bank, Sabertooth Sports & Entertainment (SS&E) – owned and operated by Predators Holdings – has also agreed to a long-term naming rights agreement.

Nashville Predators and SS&E President and CEO Sean Henry said in a release that arena’s naming was “another milestone on the way to creating something special in Clarksville.”

“Seeing the next chapter in this venue’s life will be written by a dynamic, local organization like F&M Bank, led by President and CEO Sammy Stuard, with meaningful input from Mayor (Jim) Durrett, City of Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts and Austin Peay State University Athletic Director Gerald Harrison, is proof of what can happen when passionate, creative individuals collaborate for the greater good of their communities.”

The venue is scheduled to open during the 2022-23 basketball season. The volleyball program is expected to serve as the main team housed in a revamped Dunn Center after the arena opens.