- UD Arena Guest Guide
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Regarded as one of America's most energized arenas, the University of Dayton Arena is a one-of-a-kind multi-purpose sports and entertainment facility located off of Interstate 75 on the southern gateway to the city of Dayton.
The Arena is home to the Dayton Flyers men's and women's basketball teams, campus events, Winter Guard, and more than 100 spectacular events annually.
The Arena, built in 1969 for approximately $4.5 million without the use of public funds, has been a tremendous host site. The University of Dayton Arena has hosted NCAA tournament events in 23 of its 40 years since opening its doors for the 1969-70 season. The NCAA games awarded through 2013 will make the University of Dayton Arena the most-used tournament venue in NCAA history. To date, UD Arena has hosted 82 NCAA men's tournament games, one behind Kansas City's Municipal Auditorium and one head of the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City. At the conclusion of the 2013 tournament, UD Arena will have hosted 92 NCAA men's tournament games.
In November 2002, the UD Arena underwent a major renovation completed in a swift 10 months. Additions to the UD Arena included suites and loge seats, and the new Time Warner Cable Flight Deck -- all overlooking Blackburn Court with a powerful view of all of the action. The Boesch Lounge has received a face-lift along with new restrooms and upgraded concessions for the fans. Environmental graphics have been added throughout the building that tells the story of the long tradition of Dayton basketball. Overall, the facility has been modernized with an eye to the future while maintaining its steadfast roots as a landmark in the Dayton community.
During the summer of 1997, the University made two moves to forever tie the Arena with two of the greatest names in UD basketball history. The playing court at UD Arena was named after former Flyer coach Tom Blackburn, and the $4.5 million addition to the Arena was named for former player and coach Don Donoher. The two coaches combined for nearly 800 victories from 1947 to 1989. The playing floor is officially known as 'Tom Blackburn Court at the University of Dayton Arena,' but is referred to as 'Blackburn Court.' Blackburn coached the Flyers from 1947 until his death due to cancer in 1964. Only 58 at the time of his death, Blackburn won 352 games while posting a .714 win percentage. When he had signed on at UD, the Flyers had just posted a four-win season. Four years later, his team was playing in the championship game of the most prestigious tournament of the day, the National Invitation Tournament.
The addition of the Donoher Basketball Center in 1998 was the first step in placing the facility ahead of its time. The Donoher Basketball Center, an addition to the southwest corner of the Arena, has given the Flyer basketball programs a technologically advanced facility for training, game preparation and recruiting. It now serves as the nerve center for the Flyer basketball programs, housing state-of-the-art conditioning and training rooms, locker rooms, multi-media facilities and team meeting rooms. The locker room layout incorporates an NBA-style design, combining a casually furnished lounge and meeting area within the locker room.
Named for Don Donoher at the urging of John McHale, whose $1.25 million gift to the University initiated the project, the Center's grand debut came on June 28, 1998. The Flyer Faithful turned out 5,000 strong to visit the open house. Donoher, who coached UD to a school-record 437 wins from 1964 to 1989, took UD to the NCAA title game in 1967 and to the NIT title the following year. He led UD to the Sweet 16 in the 1970s and then the Regional Finals in the 1980s. He also won a gold medal at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics as an assistant coach of the U.S. team (which featured Michael Jordan).
In fact, the NCAA Final Four appearance in 1967 helped convince the UD administration of the need for the Arena. On November 7, 1968, the Rev. Raymond A. Roesch broke ground for the University of Dayton Arena. And with his first shovel of dirt, the then-UD president began a project that would help take college basketball from a game played in small gymnasiums to an event played to thousands of fans in magnificent arenas.
A little more than a year after the construction began, UD Arena was a reality. It opened on December 6, 1969, as the Flyers faced Bowling Green. BG's Jim Connally hit the Arena's first shot, followed by Dayton's first hoop, a jumper from Pat Murnen. The Flyers led 39-27 at half and pushed it to 43-27 before a 21-8 BG tear. From there, it was a dogfight. Senior (and future UD Hall of Famer) George Janky, who had 26 points and 15 rebounds, sank a pair of free throws with 29 seconds left to give UD a 72-68 lead. The Falcons' Bob Quayle hit a shot at 0:17 and then stole the inbounds pass and missed a last-second shot which would have sent it into overtime. Afterward, Jim Gottschall said, "Those two free throws George made were really something. Let's face it ... he won the game." The dedication of the Arena came at halftime of the 79-75 win over DePaul on January 17. At halftime, Ohio Governor James Rhodes told the sell-out crowd, "The arena is an example of the University of Dayton's progressive attitude and showed it is one of the nation's leading universities in accomplishing this arena."
In the 40 years that have passed, more than 20 million customers have witnessed events in UD Arena. In a typical year, the Arena will host more than a half-million people at more than 100 events. The level of talent that has appeared on the floor at the Arena is staggering. The list includes the likes of Lebron James, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Elton John, Michael Jordan, Elvis, Isiah Thomas, Adolph Rupp, David Robinson, Aerosmith, Dean Smith, Pat Summitt, Baryshnikov, Larry Bird, Johnny Cash, Magic Johnson, and Tony Gwynn (playing basketball for San Diego State). The list goes on and on.
One of a generation of great basketball arenas built in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the 13,455-seat home of Flyer basketball was the brainchild of university movers Roesch, the Rev. Charles Collins, Brother Elmer Lackner and then-Flyer Director of Athletics Thomas J. Frericks. Planning began in 1967 amid a tremendous demand for tickets to Flyer home games. Home for the games at that time was the University of Dayton Fieldhouse, which was renamed the Thomas J. Frericks Athletic and Convocation Center in 1991. Built in 1950, the then-Fieldhouse held 5,800 fans and was sold out for its last 195 Flyer games.
THE OPENING ROUND & FIRST FOUR
In 2001, UD Arena once again hosted the NCAA Tournament with First and Second Round Midwest Region games. When the NCAA Tournament expanded to 65 teams for the first time, the NCAA placed the first-ever Opening-Round Game in Dayton, featuring the tournament's 64th and 65th seeded teams, Northwestern State and Winthrop. The Opening Round of 2001 was such a success in Dayton that the game returned to Dayton from 2002-2009, and will continue to be played at the Arena through at least 2013.
The Arena also made NCAA men's basketball history in March 2001 by hosting 10 post-season games in eight days, a feat never-before done in college basketball. While other venues have hosted NCAA games and games of the National Invitation Tournament in the same year, no venue or school had ever done both simultaneously. And while UD was a gracious host to NCAA teams, the NIT was not kind to UD opponents as the Flyers advanced to the quarterfinals for the tenth time in 19 appearances.
University of Dayton Arena served as host of the 2003 and 2004 Atlantic 10 Men's Basketball Championship. With the home court advantage, the Flyers won five of their six games in those two years, advancing to the sold-out championship game in 2004 the year after winning the 2003 Atlantic 10 Championship for UD's first A-10 tournament title in men's basketball.