With the addition of jumbotrons, club seating and enhanced technology in the modern era, it can be easy to forget the oldest arena in college basketball has been standing for almost 110 years.
In fact, there are a slew of vintage basketball sites that still serve as homes to Division I college basketball programs across the nation. And none maintain a classic feel more than the 11 oldest active arenas in the sport, starting with Northeastern’s Matthews Arena (1910) in the list below. Not every facility within the compilation houses the respective school’s women’s basketball team.
Some buildings hold almost 15,000 spectators while another seats less than 1,000, but all have played a substantial part in the history of college basketball. See for yourself on the following map where the 11 courts are:
Matthews Arena — Northeastern (men’s basketball only)
Matthews Arena, standing for almost 110 years as of 2019, houses Northeastern’s men’s basketball and ice hockey programs. But the building, also known as the Boston Arena, plays its largest role in the history of the latter sport on the East Coast. The hockey teams of Boston College, Boston University, Harvard, Tufts and even the professional Boston Bruins graced the ice of Matthews Arena at some point in time.
In addition, the Boston Celtics of the NBA, concerts, presidential rallies and even boxing matches have also taken place at Matthews. And the men’s basketball squad made the arena its home in 1981. Its name is dedicated to alumnus George Matthews and his wife, Hope.
Rose Hill Gymnasium — Fordham
Location: Bronx, N.Y.
“The Prairie” accommodates Fordham’s basketball and volleyball teams and is the nation’s oldest on-campus arena that still serves as the primary home to a Division I basketball program.
One of Rose Hill Gym’s most notable events in the past includes former UCLA and NBA star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s final high school game.
Lavietes Pavilion — Harvard
Location: Allston, Mass.
Lavietes Pavilion is technically the third-oldest arena in college basketball, but Harvard’s men’s and women’s hoops programs didn’t start hosting contests in the building until 1982, a year after it was converted from an indoor track facility.
Undergoing extensive renovations over the years, the pavilion was named after former Crimson basketball player Ray Lavietes in 1982.
Palestra — Penn
It isn’t the oldest spot in the nation, but the Palestra has been dubbed the “Cathedral of College Basketball” for its impact on the sport in the United States. Although Villanova, La Salle, Temple and Saint Joseph’s played a part in the venue’s legacy, the men’s and women’s basketball teams at Penn are still its current occupants.
One of the more attention-drawing aspects of the building’s format is the bleacher’s close proximity to the court.
Alaska Airlines Arena at Hec Edmundson Pavilion — Washington
Commonly referred to as “Hec Ed,” Alaska Airlines Arena at Hec Edmundson Pavilion is a brick structure with a vintage feel for the programs (Washington basketball, women’s volleyball and gymnastics) inhabiting the building. Nearing a century old, the pavilion once sported a dirt playing surface, according to the Seattle Times.
Two professional basketball franchises, the former Seattle SuperSonics of the NBA and the WNBA’s Seattle Storm, have frequented the arena for home games. The Storm are temporarily using the facility throughout the 2019 season.
In 1948, the University of Washington Pavilion was renamed after former basketball and track coach Hec Edmundson.
Hinkle Fieldhouse — Butler
From welcoming four professional basketball teams to hosting a circus, Hinkle Fieldhouse pervades architectural history. The classic Indiana arena once held a 15,000-seat capacity, but renovations have bumped that number down to 9,100.
Today, the building, featured in the championship game within the movie “Hoosiers,” provides a home to Butler’s men’s and women’s basketball teams, as well as the school’s volleyball teams.
In 1966, the fieldhouse was renamed after former Bulldogs coach and athletic director Paul Hinkle.
Williams Arena — Minnesota
“The Barn” contains one of the more compelling courts in college basketball with its floor raised two feet above the benches and scorers table. So players actually sit below the hardwood.
Williams Arena is currently the main residence of Minnesota’s men’s and women’s basketball teams, but once housed the men’s hockey program. It was the largest college arena with a seating capacity of 18,025 from 1950 to 1971 but was reduced to 14,625 over years of renovation.
MVPs IN COLLEGE: Where NBA MVPs played college basketball
The University of Minnesota Fieldhouse switched its name to the Williams Arena in 1950 as a dedication to former Gophers football coach Henry Williams.
Payne Whitney Gymnasium — Yale
Location: New Haven, Conn.
The Payne Whitney Gym is an all-inclusive athletics facility that encases the John J. Lee Amphitheater, the spot where Yale’s men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball and gymnastics teams compete.
In 1996, the arena was named after John Lee, a former Bulldogs basketball player.
Avron B. Fogelman Arena in the Devlin Fieldhouse — Tulane
Location: New Orleans
Originally funded by Tulane’s football bid to 1932 Rose Bowl, Devlin Fieldhouse was for years referred to as the “Rose Bowl Gym” around campus. In 1988, the arena within the fieldhouse was named after alumnus Avron Fogelman to commemorate a remodeling that took place.
Today, the facility is home to the Green Wave’s basketball and volleyball programs.
Haas Pavilion — California
Location: Berkeley, Calif.
Cal’s basketball arena underwent a total makeover in 1997 and changed its moniker from Harmon Gym to the Haas Pavilion for the 1999 season. As a result of the renovations just before the turn of the century, the seating capacity almost doubled.
The court is occupied by Cal’s basketball, volleyball and gymnastics teams.
Municipal Auditorium — University of Missouri-Kansas City (men’s basketball only)
Location: Kansas City
Nine NCAA championships have been held at Municipal Auditorium, which is more than any other location in the country. UMKC’s men’s basketball squad started playing in the historic basketball locale in 1986 but has bounced around from the downtown Kansas City venue to another on-campus site, the Swinney Recreation Center, over the years.