Historic Memorial Gymnasium

Year Built: Dec. 6, 1952 | Capacity: 14,316

The Southeastern Conference’s most historic home for college basketball, Memorial Gymnasium serves as the home court for the Vanderbilt Commodores. Dedicated in 1952 as a memorial to all Vanderbilt men and women who served in World War II, the arena was built as a combination gymnasium and concert hall by the late master architect Edwin Keeble.

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Fifty-four years later, the unique style of Memorial Gymnasium — with its benches situated on the baseline, a playing court that sits above portions of the crowd and deafening acoustics — continues to make the Commodores’ home a dreaded stop for opponents. “Memorial Magic,” with its capacity crowds, overflowing student section and lively pep band have assisted in numerous Commodore victories. In the stands, fans across Middle Tennessee have helped Memorial Gymnasium (capacity 14,316) rank among the NCAA’s top 30 attendance leaders in men’s basketball 23 times since 1977. The women’s team has also been among the nation’s attendance leaders. Since 2005-06, the Commodores have been one of just a handful of programs to finish in the top 25 of average attendance each season.

On the floor, Vanderbilt’s men’s and women’s teams have won more than 78 percent of their home games.

Vanderbilt University Athletics - Official Athletics Website

In 2002, a $25 million renovation of Memorial Gymnasium was completed, highlighted by yet another one-of-a-kind feature. Connected to the facility sits a new practice gym that includes a three cross-court playing floor, coaching offices, a donor room and a Hall of Champions. Other aspects of the renovation included upgrades of the seating areas, private suites, a new lighting and sound system and a new court design.

Vanderbilt University Athletics - Official Athletics Website
Vanderbilt University Athletics - Official Athletics Website

Vanderbilt’s men’s and women’s basketball locker rooms were renovated in time for the 2008-09 season. In addition to new locker rooms, the training room was expanded and renovated, and a team meeting/video room was added.

In all, Memorial Gym has been expanded three times. Constructed with a seating capacity of 6,583, the University saw its first need to increase seating in 1965 with the addition of two north-side balconies. Two years later, a pair of balancing balconies were erected on the south side of the gym and dubbed “The Balconies That Clyde Lee Built.”

 

Vanderbilt University Athletics - Official Athletics Website

Capacity has fluctuated throughout the history of the building. It reached its highest number of 15,646 in 1969 when 4,000 seats were added in the east and west ends. When chairback seats in the end zones and suites on the north side were installed in the late 1990s capacity lowered to 14,316. Prior to last season, university officials removed portions of media press row on the south side in an effort to expand the student section by nearly 150 seats.

After the 2012 season, a new video board was installed inside Memorial Gym. The new board features four screens that measure 16 feet by 9 feet and includes a 2 foot tall LED display that wraps around the bottom of the board.

 

Vanderbilt University Athletics - Official Athletics Website

Oldest Home Arenas in Division I College Basketball (As of 2014-15 season)
1. Matthews Arena – Northeastern – April 16, 1910
2. Rose Hill Gym – Fordham – Jan. 16, 1925
3. Lavietes Pavilion – Harvard – 1926
4. The Palestra – Penn – Jan. 1, 1927
5. Hec Edmundson Pavilion – Washington – Dec. 27, 1927
6. Williams Arena – Minnesota – Feb. 4, 1928
7. Hinkle Fieldhouse – Butler – March 7, 1928
8. Payne Whitney Gym – Yale – Dec. 10, 1932
9. Devlin Fieldhouse – Tulane – Dec. 15, 1933
10. Haas Pavilion – California – 1933
11. Municipal Auditorium – UMKC – 1935
12. Gallagher-Iba Arena – Oklahoma State – Dec. 9, 1938
13. Lundholm Gym – New Hampshire – 1938
14. Fairgrounds Coliseum – IUPUI – Aug. 1939
15. McAlister Field House – The Citadel – 1939
16. Cameron Indoor Stadium – Duke – Jan. 6, 1940
17. Gallagher Center – Niagara University – Nov. 20, 1949
18. Gill Colliseum – Oregon State – Dec. 16, 1949
19. Alumni Gym – Elon – 1949
20. McDougald-McLendon Gymnasium – North Carolina Central – 1950
21. Tudor Fieldhouse – Rice – 1950
22. UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena – 1950
23. MAC Center – Kent State – Dec. 2, 1950
24. Calihan Hall – University of Detroit Mercy – May 25 1952
25. Allen County War Memorial Coliseum – IPFW – Sep. 28, 1952
T-26. Welsh-Ryan Arena – Northwestern – Dec. 6 1952
T-26. Memorial Gym – Vanderbilt – 1952 – Dec. 6, 1952

Vanderbilt University Athletics - Official Athletics Website