Carolina Coliseum

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Carolina Coliseum
CarolinaColiseum.jpg
Location 701 Assembly St
Columbia, SC 29201
Owner Univ. of South Carolina
Operator Univ. of South Carolina
Capacity 12,401
Opened November, 1968
Tenants
Columbia Inferno (ECHL, 2001-08)
South Carolina Gamecocks
(Basketball) (1968-2002; as backup venue, 2013-)

The Carolina Coliseum is a 12,401 seat multi-purpose arena (for hockey, 6,231 seats as end seats are not used and seats are removed for the hockey surface) in Columbia, South Carolina. The largest arena in South Carolina at the time of its completion, it was the home of the University of South Carolina men's and women's basketball teams and Columbia's main events venue until 2002, when the Carolina Center, now Colonial Life Arena, opened across Assembly Street. It was home to the Columbia Inferno of the ECHL until poor ticket sales caused the Inferno to leave the Coliseum and plans to build an arena in Irmo collapsed as a result of the recession.

The facility is also home to classrooms at the university, with active classrooms used in the lower levels, and high school commencement ceremonies in the metropolitan region, as many school venues are too small for such ceremonies.

The arena, opened in 1968, was not designed for hockey, but as a result, the small rink (about 175 feet by 75 feet, 25 feet shorter and 10 feet narrower than regulation) has created an atmosphere which many ECHL coaches have called the toughest rink in the ECHL.

Prior to the building of the Coliseum, the Gamecocks had played in Carolina Fieldhouse from 1927 until it burned in 1968, and the Carolina Gymnasium (now the Longstreet Theater) prior to that.[1]

The Coliseum was the host of the NCAA Basketball Tournament East Regional in 1970. Until 2002, when Greenville's Bi-Lo Center was a host, it was the only time the tournament was played in South Carolina. The Metro Conference men's basketball tournament was held here in 1989.

In 1977, the playing surface was renamed "Frank McGuire Arena" after head basketball coach Frank McGuire. He'd been inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame a few weeks earlier.

The coliseum has hosted concerts by artists such as The Grateful Dead, Ted Nugent, Rod Stewart, Van Halen, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Iron Maiden, Metallica, and many others over the years of its operation.

With the exit of Inferno hockey the Coliseum now returns to serve the community and hosts various events. Recently (2009–2010) the Coliseum has been used as a tour rehearsal space for acts such as Elton John, John Mayer and Billy Joel. Although it is an older facility, its many positive technical attributes have made it a desirable venue for tour rehearsals.

A conflict with a Miranda Lambert concert at Colonial Life Arena (while it is university-owned, it is managed by Comcast subsidiary Global Spectrum) resulted an announcement by the Athletics Department on November 1, 2012 that the January 17, 2013 women's basketball game against Louisiana State will be moved to the Coliseum. This will mark the first use of the venue as the official backup venue for the teams.[2]

There is consideration of moving in some games to the Coliseum in order to allow Comcast to host larger events to Colonial Life Arena.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Aiken, Ron. "At 40, Does the Carolina Coliseum Have a Future? www.free-times.com". www.free-times.com. Retrieved 2009-11-05. 
  2. ^ "Gamecocks to Host LSU at Carolina Coliseum". University of South Carolina Athletics Department. November 1, 2012. 

Coordinates: 33°59′37″N 81°01′57″W / 33.99361°N 81.03250°W / 33.99361; -81.03250