McDonough Gymnasium

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McDonough Memorial Gymnasium
Location Georgetown University
Washington, D.C. 20057
Owner Georgetown University
Operator Georgetown University
Capacity 2,500 (2009)
Broke ground May 20, 1950
Opened December 8, 1951
Construction cost $1,250,000
Georgetown Hoyas men's basketball (NCAA) (1951–1981 and occasional games to present)
Georgetown Hoyas women's basketball
Georgetown Hoyas women '​s volleyball

Coordinates: 38°54′27″N 77°04′39″W / 38.90750°N 77.07750°W / 38.90750; -77.07750 McDonough Gymnasium, sometimes referred to as McDonough Arena when hosting a sports event, is a multi-purpose arena on the campus of Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. It opened in 1951 and holds 2,500 people.

Naming and construction[edit]

The building is named for Rev. Vincent J. McDonough, S.J., Georgetown '​s athletic director from 1916 to 1928. Legend has it that three days before his death on September 3, 1939, he was asked what he wanted for the twenty-fifth anniversary of his priesthood, to which he replied, "You give the boys a new gym and I'll be happy." Though he did not live to see it, ground was broken for construction of the new gymnasium on May 20, 1950, the cornerstone was laid on October 14, 1950, and the official ribbon-cutting and opening was held December 8, 1951. When it opened, its capacity was 4,000 for basketball and 5,500 for general events.[1]

Men's basketball[edit]

McDonough Gymnasium hosting the University of Connectict Huskies in a women '​s basketball game against Georgetown on January 9, 2013.
McDonough Gymnasium's scoreboard.

Before McDonough opened, the Georgetown Hoyas men's basketball team had played its home games in an on-campus facility only from the 1914-15 season through the 1926-27 season, when the Hoyas had played at Ryan Gymnasium.[2] McDonough '​s opening allowed the Georgetown men '​s team to move back on campus, and it was the home court of the Hoyas for 30 seasons, from 1951-52[3][2] through 1980-81.[2] Play at McDonough began with a 57-50 loss to Fordham on December 7, 1951[3] – the day before McDonough '​s official opening – but the team went on to post an 11-1 home record in McDonough '​s inaugural season. The Hoyas had a .500 or better home record in 29 of their 30 seasons at McDonough.[2]

McDonough hosted a semifinal game of the Division I men's basketball ECAC South Region Tournament, organized by the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC), in both 1977 and 1978.[4][5][6]

To accommmodate its growing fan base, the men '​s basketball team moved to the Capital Centre (later known as USAir Arena and later still as US Airways Arena) in Landover, Maryland, beginning with the 1981-82 season,[2] and early in the 1997-98 season it moved again to the MCI Center (later Verizon Center) in downtown Washington, D.C.[2] However, McDonough has remained the team '​s practice facility, and since 1981 it has on occasion hosted Georgetown preseason and regular-season games, generally against less-well-known opponents; Big East Conference rules did not permit Georgetown to host conference games there because of the gymnasium '​s small capacity,[2] and no games against well-known opponents have been held at McDonough since Georgetown played there against No. 4 Missouri in February 1982[7] and Big East rival Providence in January 1984.[7] The only exceptions have been games Georgetown hosted during appearances in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT); under NIT rules, schools in the tournament were required to play games on campus or at campus-owned facilities, and so the Hoyas hosted 1993 and 2005 NIT games at McDonough. A scheduling conflict at the Verizon Center, which already had booked the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus on game day, forced Georgetown to host a 2014 NIT game at McDonough.[8][9]

Other uses[edit]

In addition to an occasional men's basketball game, McDonough Gymnasium hosts Georgetown women's basketball and women '​s volleyball games. Many concerts have been held there, including shows by Ray Charles, Bruce Springsteen, and The Who,[2] and it was the site of one of President Dwight D. Eisenhower '​s two inaugural balls in January 1953.[2]

Until Yates Field House opened in 1979, McDonough Gymnasium was the only facility for intramural sports on the Georgetown campus.[2]


External links[edit]