Monday, January 31, 2011
Celebrating 40 Years of the WVU Coliseum
I can remember my first trip to the Coliseum. I was 7, maybe 8. My Dad took me to my first game. I didn't give a damn about the Mountaineers. All I cared about was the size of the Coliseum. It was huge. I recall sitting in the upper deck and looking upward towards the ceiling. I got dizzy because it was just so high in the air. I don't think I watched a second of the game... I was too busy walking around the last row in the upper deck. I made a complete circle around the Coliseum and remember feeling like I'd accomplished something.
Time passed and the Coliseum became secondary. The mystique of the building wore off and I only cared about the basketball being played on the court. There were a lot of great players. I remember WVU greats like PG Greene, Seldon Jefferson and Damian Owens. There are opposing players that stick out in my mind, too... Kerry Kittles, Marcus Camby and Allen Iverson. Iverson, of course, played in the Coliseum during WVU's very first Big East game in 1995. I was at that game. We were up by almost 20 points with just over 4 minutes left. We lost.
Losing happened a lot in the Coliseum. There was that memorable Georgetown game. There was the 1992 UMASS game in which we were up by 20 with just over 4 minutes remaining, and yeah, we lost that one too. There was Victor Page's 1997 New Year's Day gift... a Georgetown buzzer beater. He then jumped on the scorer's table and taunted the WVU student section.
As of late there's been more quality wins than disappointing losses, however. In 2007 we beat #2 ranked UCLA. In 2006 Mike Gansey set a WVU Coliseum record with 10 three point shots made against Marquette. And in 2005 we defeated #16 Pitt in overtime during one of the most intense games I can recall.
I've taken the building for granted over the last 25 years, but that's no longer the case. Since our move from Morgantown, WVU games at the Coliseum have become special again. Tickets are hard to come by these days... which is a tribute to the kind of basketball being played inside. We only make to a couple of games a year. I guess the old saying "absence makes the heart grow fonder" is true because when I walk through the gates and into arena, I take it all in and get a little dizzy.
Cheers to the WVU Coliseum.
Tell me about your favorite WVU Coliseum memory...