Wednesday, January 11, 2017

OT- Reynolds Coliseum

A little bit of a non-baseball, non-baseball card post for today, but if you read down far enough there is a brief mention of some MLB types like Trea Turner, Carlos Rodon, and Mike Caldwell.  If you are a regular reader of this space you no doubt know that I am a graduate of NC State and reside in the Raleigh-Durham metro area.  College sports are king here and there is a tremendous opportunity as a sports fan to see some great athletes, in many sports, before they reach the pros.

Beyond seeing athletes there are also some really cool stadiums and arenas in the area.  Everyone knows Cameron Indoor, but other places like Wallace Wade Stadium (Duke Football) and Carmichael Arena (UNC Basketball) also have historical significance in college sports.  As an NC State grad/fan the Wolfpack faithful has Reynolds Coliseum.

The arena was built in the late 1940s and has been home to many great Wolfpack basketball teams, but also has some significance in terms of NCAA Postseason play.  It was the original home to the ACC Basketball Tournament, as well as the Dixie Classic, which was an important basketball event back in the 1950s.

Here is the marker outside of the arena which has a little brief synopsis of the building's signficance beyond what I have stated above....



The NC State Men's Basketball team moved out of Reynolds long ago, but the old building still hosted one Men's game every year along with being the regular home to the NC State's Women's Basketball team and a few other Olympic sports programs at State such as Volleyball, Wrestling, and Gymnastics.  I was actually able to attend one the last Men's games at Reynolds two years ago before the school decided that the building was dated and needed a major overhaul....


The original configuration of the arena was actually very similar to Duke's Cameron Stadium, same architect, but it was a larger arena with deeper end zones.  It was also a very tough place to play due to the fact that the seats in the arena are rather vertical.  If you sit in the last row of the arena, you still aren't far from the court, and those in the lower seats are basically above the court.  Note the seats on the far side are elevated and close to the scorer's table.  

Former Duke player and current ESPN analyst Jay Bilas described playing at Reynolds:

"To me, the toughest places to play had more to do with the quality of the opposing team than anything else, but Reynolds Coliseum at NC State was the toughest place I played while in college. Reynolds was configured much the same way as Cameron Indoor Stadium, but the end zones were much deeper and the sides were right on top of you. Reynolds was loud, edgy and intense. The Wolfpack under Jim Valvano were a tough out and the games were always fistfights, but the thing I remember most is coming back to a huddle and seeing lips move, but not being able to hear what was said. It was so hot and loud that your head would spin. Of course, having to guard guys like Thurl Bailey, Lorenzo Charles, Cozell McQueen and Chris Washburn probably had something to do with my head spinning." 


Recently I had the chance to visit Reynolds again to see the remodeled version of the historic building.  I was really excited to see the changes that were made to the building.  Besides remodeling the seating area, State also added a Hall of Fame component to the building which is very nice.  Let's look at the Hall of Fame first.  When you walk into the building.....


this is the main hall.  Previously there was a wall right here and the seating bowl inside of the arena book up most of this space.  The sides of this space have offices for the basketball and volleyball teams as well as all sorts of cool displays about some of the successful teams in the school's history, as well as some memorabilia from some of the name players.  

The majority of this space is used to recognize basketball teams and players with the two biggest items in this space being the National Championship trophies from the 1974 and 1983 Men's Basketball teams.  



The 1974 trophy is on the left and the 1983 trophy is on the right.  Back to the picture above for one second...The quotes on the wall at the end of the hallway are from Jim Valvano - "Never give up..." - and the one on the right side of the picture is from The Jungle Book -The strength of the wolf is the pack -

Look back the opposite direction this is the view looking towards the front doors of Reynolds....


The giants GO PACK! sign can be seen from inside the seat bowl as well as the original Reynolds Noise Meter which is hanging on the ceiling to the left of the G.  Up close.....




If you look at the top picture of the arena in it's original state, the noise meter was at the end of the scorer's table.  It was a fixture of games when Reynolds first open, apparently went away for a time, and then came back refurbished recently.

The NC State Hall of Fame also extends down the sides of the concourses leading to the seating areas.  Each of the sports has a display case on the inside the hallway....


Beyond the basketball stuff, I had to stop by the football case to check out the Torry Holt display.  I don't do a ton of football stuff on here, but I do like Torry.  The Greatest Show on Turf teams were fun to watch and showed that St. Louis can support football, even if the NFL keeps moving teams out of the city.  Tory Holt and his brother Torrence actually helped with the remodel of this building.  They do construction work.  


Also stopped by to see the baseball case.  There are some cool ACC Championship Trophies and they do a good job of recognizing a few of the great players at State like Carlos Rodon, Mike Caldwell, etc.   The Hall of Fame in section in Reynolds just opened, and I probably have a more critically eye for the baseball area, but I thought they could have a little bit more about guys like Trea Turner and Dan Plesac.  Again, just opened and I am sure that the school will continue to work on the displays.

There is also a cool display of All-American performers at the school.....


on red and grey tiles on the outside wall of the concourse.  It's not organized by sport, nor by year, but I kind of like that they mixed up the well known athletes from the school along with those who may not be household names.  As I looked at these I went and found three big names: David Thompson, Trea Turner, and Torry Holt.  I learned about all kinds of track athletes, volleyball players, gymnasts, and wrestler who starred in their craft along the way.  

and what about the actual basketball arena inside of the historic building?  It's incredible.  


This is the view of the court from the end zone.  I actually went to two different NC State games at Reynolds.  If you compare this picture with the pre-renovation building at the top of the page, the area you are looking at is the left hand side of the court.  The game in this picture is against Notre Dame.  State won the game, which was a huge upset......


I went last week too and saw the Pack take on Miami.  They did not do as well against the Canes, but it was still fun to see another game in one of the great historic basketball arenas.  This is the view of the court from the side....

  
This gives you a little better idea of how much the inside of the arena has changed.  It was truly a fun experience that I will repeat again in the near future and I would encourage all of my basketball loving readers to check out this building if you ever happen to be in Raleigh.  Since the Hall of Fame is in the building, the arena is actually open during the day for visitors.  Not sure they will let you take a few shots...  

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