Cole Field House
Interior, summer 2007
|Former names||Student Activities Building (1955–1956)|
|Location||4095 Union Line
College Park, Maryland 20742
|Owner||University of Maryland|
|Operator||University of Maryland|
|Opened||December 2, 1955|
|Construction cost||$3.3 million
($29.2 million in 2016 dollars)
|Maryland Terrapins (NCAA) (1955–2002)
Capital Bullets (NBA) (1973)
Maryland Maniacs (IFL) (2010)
The William P. Cole, Jr. Student Activities Building, more commonly known as Cole Field House, was the home of the University of Maryland basketball teams from 1955 until it was replaced by XFINITY Center (originally called Comcast Center) in 2002. Cole is situated in the heart of the campus, right next to Stamp Student Union and near McKeldin Library.
Cole Field House still holds the distinction of being the site of the most upsets of No. 1-ranked men's basketball teams. In 2002, Maryland defeated Duke, the seventh and final top-ranked foe to lose at the arena.
The building was originally constructed in 1955 as the Student Activities Building at a cost of $3.3 million. Although the building's original capacity was 12,000, additional seats were installed throughout the years to bring the final capacity to 14,596 (in 1993). The first basketball game was played on December 2, 1955, when Maryland beat Virginia 67–55.
The first coach at the venue, Bud Millikan, did not like its size, saying at one point "It's like playing on a neutral court" with seats too far from the courts. In the late 1960s Lefty Driesell added nearly 3,000 seats around the court raising the hometown decibel level.
Cole Field House held its first NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament East Region finals in 1962, when New York University defeated St. John's in the regional final, 94–85. The NCAA Tournament Final Four was first held here in 1966 between Duke, Kentucky, Texas Western (now Texas-El Paso), and Utah. Texas Western (which started all black players) upset Kentucky's all-white team 72–65 in front of a crowd of 14,253. Future Maryland men's basketball coach Gary Williams, then a student, attended the game. Cole also hosted the NCAA Tournament Final Four in 1970.
As of 2014, Cole Field House still holds the distinction of being the site of the most upsets of No. 1-ranked men's basketball teams. The Terrapins accounted for six of the upsets at Cole, while the other one occurred in the 1966 Final Four where No. 3 Texas Western defeated No. 1 Kentucky. The seventh such occurrence was on February 27, 2002, when Maryland defeated No. 1 Duke. The venues which hosted the second- and third-most No. 1 upsets are Notre Dame's Joyce Athletics & Convention Center (six) and Oklahoma's Lloyd Noble Center (five), respectively.
The Maryland Maniacs indoor football team used Cole Field House as its home venue in 2010.
In the 1990s, the administration at Maryland followed a trend occurring at other schools in the ACC to seek a new facility that provided more seating and amenities than were present at Cole Field House. However, this decision brought some debate. Coach Gary Williams privately wished the team remain at Cole due to the home court advantage he received. The small, cramped arena made Cole Field House a loud and difficult place for opponents to play in.
The last Maryland men's basketball game played at Cole Field House was on March 3, 2002, when Maryland defeated Virginia 112–92. The team now plays at the XFINITY Center. Overall, 13 men's All-Americans and 4 women's All-Americans have played at Cole. Maryland men's basketball remained undefeated at Cole during its last season and went on to win the National Championship.
Cole Field House is still used by the university in athletic and non-athletic ways. The soccer field is used as a practice facility by some athletes. The upper level also serves as a makeshift track. When not used for athletics, the building is used for Homecoming events and classes, and holds offices.
Because of the grand space enclosed by the structure and its location in the middle of campus, it has been the subject of speculation for renewal and reuse. One such idea is to build a station for the future Purple Line of the Maryland Transit Administration.
On September 24, 2013, the Maryland Athletic Department announced that the Terrapin men's and women's basketball teams would hold their Maryland Madness event on October 18 at Cole Field House.
In November 2014, the University of Maryland announced a multi-phase project to renovate and expand Cole Field House. The renovations will include the Terrapin Performance Center, which will serve as the headquarters for the Maryland Terrapins football team. The center will include an indoor practice field, strength and training facility, locker rooms, meeting rooms, and offices for the coaching staff.
In addition to football facilities, Cole Field House will be the home for Maryland's Center for Sports Medicine and Academy for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The $155 million project will be funded by Big Ten conference revenues, the State of Maryland, rental income, and private donations, including a $25 million gift from Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank. Construction is expected to begin in December 2015, complete Phase I in 2017, and complete Phase II in 2018.
Other notable events
- 1965: DeMatha Catholic High School defeated a Power Memorial Academy team led by Lew Alcindor 46–43, ending its 71-game winning streak in front of over 14,000.
- 1966: Texas Western, now the University of Texas at El Paso, defeated a Kentucky Wildcats team led by Adolph Rupp 72–65, to win the national championship. It was the first game in which 5 black players started in NCAA Division I. Texas-Western's victory is considered one of the most important games in the history of college sports.
- 1972: A ping-pong match between the United States and the People's Republic of China is played at Cole, the first sporting event between the two countries.
- 1972: An exhibition of the Soviet gymnastics team, including gold medalist Olga Korbut, sells out the arena and is televised locally in the Washington, D.C. area.
- 1973: The NBA's Capital Bullets (now the Washington Wizards) played its November home games at Cole while the team transitioned from Baltimore to Landover. Their new home, Capital Centre, opened on December 2.
- September 27 and 28, 1974: Elvis Presley in concert. His first concert appearance in the immediate Washington, D.C. area. The venue proved too small. The Capital Centre in Largo, Maryland was booked in 1976 and 1977.
- January 26, 1975: The first televised women's basketball game is played at Cole. Maryland loses to the defending national champions Immaculata. Some sources report that Immaculata won 80–48, while others report 85–63.
- 1977: Queen plays at Cole.
- 1981: The Grateful Dead played at Cole.
- 1998: Bob Dylan performed at Cole.
- 2015: Comedian Hannibal Buress performed in what was the last show at Cole before its conversion to the headquarters of the Terrapin football team.
- 2015: The Maryland Wrestling High school State Championships was the last championship event to be contested before its conversion to the headquarters of the terrapin football team
|University of Maryland, College Park campus|
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- Stubbs, Roman (21 November 2014). "Maryland officially releases Cole Field House facility plans". Washington Post. Retrieved 22 November 2014.
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- [Concerts "QUEEN CONCERTS – 04.02.1977 – Queen live in Cole Field House, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, USA"] Check
|url=value (help). Retrieved 30 September 2013.
- [Dead (official site) "Cole Field House – March 7, 1981 | Grateful Dead"] Check
|url=value (help). Rhino Entertainment Company. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
- Pagel, Bill. [Dates "Bob Dylan – Bob Links – Fall 1998 Tour Guide"] Check
|url=value (help). Retrieved 29 September 2013.
|Home of the
1955 – 2002
|NCAA Men's Division I