Cameron Hall (Virginia)

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Cameron Hall
Cameron Hall VMI.jpg
Location 401 North Main Street
Lexington, Virginia 24450
Coordinates 37°47′18″N 79°26′11″W / 37.78833°N 79.43639°W / 37.78833; -79.43639Coordinates: 37°47′18″N 79°26′11″W / 37.78833°N 79.43639°W / 37.78833; -79.43639
Opened 1981
Expanded 1995
Owner Virginia Military Institute
Operator Virginia Military Institute
Surface Costen Court (wood)
Construction cost $6.8 million
Capacity 5,029
Tenants
VMI Keydets basketball

Cameron Hall is a 5,029–seat multi-purpose arena in Lexington, Virginia. It was built in 1981 and is home to the Virginia Military Institute Keydets basketball team.[1] Although mainly used for basketball, the arena serves host to VMI's commencement every May as well as various large-scale events. It was named after brothers Bruce and Daniel Cameron, VMI Class of 1938 and 1942, respectively.[2]

History[edit]

Built in 1981, Cameron Hall was named after brothers Bruce B. Cameron, Jr. and Daniel D. Cameron from Wilmington, North Carolina.[3] The Cameron brothers were both graduates of the school, as Bruce graduated in 1938 and Daniel in 1942. They paid for $2.3 million of the building's $6.8 million cost, with a supplementation from the Virginia General Assembly.[4] The other funds were paid for by the VMI Foundation. For their contributions, the Cameron brothers were given life passes to all Cameron Hall events by VMI Board of Visitors president Vincent J. Thomas.[4] The first game was played on December 5, 1981, between VMI and the Virginia Cavaliers. Virginia won the game 76–49 before 4,460 fans, which is currently the fifth-largest crowd in the arena's history.[5]

The venue seats 5,029 spectators for basketball, and 4,300 for plays and concerts.[6] It went largely untouched until 1995, when it received an extensive face lift that included repainted walls and portals, new railings, and a new floor color scheme.[1] Locker rooms were also renovated, with new carpeting, paint, and a lounge. Four years later in 1999, a VMI "Wall of Fame" was added to the mezzanine level, which features photographs and trophies as a tribute to former VMI basketball players and members of the VMI Sports Hall of Fame.[1]

In 2007, VMI installed a new court donated by Ralph Costen, a 1970 graduate of the school. It was the first new floor since the 1995 renovation, and was appropriately named "Costen Court".

Features[edit]

Cameron Hall serves as host to the VMI athletic department offices, and contains a library, reception area, and five racquetball courts open to cadets in the basement level.[1] Recently, electronic side screens were added on the sidelines, as well as a "VMI Keydets" moniker that runs along either baseline under the basket. There are concessions on both ends of the arena.

Cameron Hall is notable for its loud and riotous atmosphere, particularly from its student section.[7] Paul Swaney, a co-founder of the website Stadium Journey, noted in a review of the arena that "the student section [is] one of the most animated and menacing in all of college basketball. If you expect the students to be well behaved and respectful while attending a VMI basketball game, then you will quickly reverse that expectation."[7] Swaney went on to say that the cadets were "some of the most foul-mouthed and relentless fans in all of college basketball." In July of 2013, Cameron Hall was ranked among the top venues in mid-major basketball by MidMajorMadness.com.[8]

Notable Games[edit]

  • December 5, 1981 – In the first game in Cameron Hall history, the Virginia Cavaliers defeated VMI 76–49 before a crowd of 4,460 fans. VMI would go on to have a 1–25 season, including a 1–15 mark in Southern Conference play.
  • December 15, 1997 – In one of the very few occasions that VMI hosted an ACC school, the #2-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels defeated the Keydets 105–61 in front of 4,950 fans. The Tar Heels would make the Final Four of that year's NCAA tournament and finish #1 in the AP Poll.
  • December 4, 2001 – Featuring the second contest in Lexington between Virginia and VMI, the Cavaliers defeated the Keydets 89–70.
  • January 19, 2008 – Off to a surprising 10–6, 2–0 start to the season, VMI battled UNC Asheville in front of 4,219 spectators, which was then the third-largest crowd in Cameron Hall history. Despite a late lead, VMI lost 90–87 in overtime.
  • January 17, 2009 – With VMI on a ten-game winning streak and off to their best start in decades at 14–2, their nearby rival Liberty (12–6) came to Lexington in a highly anticipated match-up. The game was the largest crowd in the venue's history, as well as the first and currently only sellout with 5,029 fans in attendance. Liberty won, however, 91–80, thanks to a 35-point performance from Seth Curry.
  • March 3, 2009 – On a Tuesday night, VMI hosted their first Big South Conference tournament game as the second seed, defeating the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers 96–76 to improve to 23–7 on the year.
  • February 2, 2013 – In the first nationally televised contest at Cameron Hall, the UNC Asheville Bulldogs defeated VMI 90–79. The game was broadcast on ESPNU.
  • March 2, 2013 – VMI defeated the Longwood Lancers on Senior Day, 94–80, to end a 14–17 campaign. More notably, it was head coach Duggar Baucom's 117th win, giving him the most all-time victories by a VMI head coach.
  • November 8-9, 2013 – The Keydets were hosting for the first time the annual All–Military Classic, an early-season tournament featuring the military academies of The Citadel, Army, and Air Force. After defeating The Citadel 82–71 in the first game on ESPNU, they went on to win the tournament with a 71–63 victory over Air Force. It was the school's first regular-season tournament championship since the late 1970's.
  • March 22, 2014 – In the first national postseason tournament game hosted by VMI, the Keydets beat the IPFW Mastodons by a score of 106–95. Propelled by D. J. Covington's 41 points, which was a CIT Tournament record, VMI advanced to the tournament's quarterfinals.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d June 11, 2008. Cameron Hall - The Home of VMI Basketball Retrieved July 12, 2014.
  2. ^ Cameron Scholarships
  3. ^ October 30, 1981. "Institute Report: October 30, 1981." Retrieved July 12, 2014.
  4. ^ a b Moore, Hearne (November 13, 1981). "Athletic Arena Opens". The Cadet (Lexington, VA: Virginia Military Institute). Retrieved July 12, 2014. 
  5. ^ 2013–14 VMI Basketball Fact Book
  6. ^ Adams, Theodore (September 25, 1981). "Cameron Hall". The Cadet (Lexington, VA: Virginia Military Institute). Retrieved July 12, 2014. 
  7. ^ a b Cameron Hall – StadiumJourney.com
  8. ^ July 9, 2013. "Mid-Major Basketball's Top Venues." Parks Smith. Retrieved July 13, 2014.