McDonough Gymnasium

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McDonough Gymnasium
"McDonough Arena"
McDonough Gymnasium Exterior.jpg
McDonough Memorial Gymnasium on December 11, 2016.
McDonough Gymnasium is located in the District of Columbia
McDonough Gymnasium
McDonough Gymnasium
McDonough Gymnasium′s location in Washington, D.C.
Full name McDonough Memorial Gymnasium
Address

Georgetown University

Washington, D.C. 20057
Coordinates 38°54′27″N 77°04′39″W / 38.90750°N 77.07750°W / 38.90750; -77.07750Coordinates: 38°54′27″N 77°04′39″W / 38.90750°N 77.07750°W / 38.90750; -77.07750
Owner Georgetown University
Operator Georgetown University
Capacity 2,500
Construction
Broke ground May 20, 1950
Opened December 8, 1951 (1951-12-08)
Construction cost $1,250,000
Tenants
Georgetown Hoyas men's basketball (NCAA) (1951–1981 and occasional games to present)
Georgetown Hoyas women's basketball
Georgetown Hoyas women's volleyball

McDonough Gymnasium, sometimes referred to as McDonough Arena when hosting a sports or entertainment event and officially known as McDonough Memorial Gymnasium, is a multi-purpose arena on the campus of Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. It opened in 1951 and now 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 25th 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 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 accommodate 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 remained the team′s practice facility until 2016, 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]

Freshman convocation is hosted in McDonough Gymnasium at the beginning of each academic year.[citation needed]

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

The Thompson Center[edit]

McDonough's aging practice and training facilities had long been considered overcrowded and obsolete[10] when, on September 12, 2014, Georgetown held a groundbreaking ceremony for the four-story, 144,000-square-foot (13,378-square-meter) John R. Thompson Jr. Intercollegiate Athletics Center, which lies adjacent to the southeast corner of McDonough. Construction of the new center began in November 2014. Officially opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on October 6, 2016, the Thompson Center serves all 29 of the university′s varsity sports programs – providing them with locker rooms, practice courts, and other training facilities – and houses the offices of the men's and women's basketball programs.[10][11][12]

The Thompson Center replaced McDonough as the university's primary athletic center, but McDonough remains in use. Physically connected to the Thompson Center, McDonough continues to house the administrative offices of the university's athletics department, the women′s basketball team continues to play its home games there, and as of March 2014 the university had other uses for McDonough's court and training facilities after the Thompson Center opened under consideration.[11][13][14]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "DEDICATES GYMNASIUM; Georgetown U. Opens Memorial to. Rev. Vincent McDonough". New York Times. 1951-12-09. p. 96. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Georgetown Basketball History Project: History & Tradition". Retrieved 15 November 2016. 
  3. ^ a b "Georgetown Basketball History Project: Record Book". Retrieved 15 November 2016. 
  4. ^ Varsity Pride: ECAC Men's Basketball Tournaments
  5. ^ "1977 ECAC Men's Basketball Tournaments - Varsity Pride". Retrieved 15 November 2016. 
  6. ^ "1978 ECAC Men's Basketball Tournaments - Varsity Pride". Retrieved 15 November 2016. 
  7. ^ a b "Georgetown Basketball History Project: Record Book". Retrieved 15 November 2016. 
  8. ^ "Georgetown Basketball History Project: Record Book". Retrieved 15 November 2016. 
  9. ^ "Georgetown Basketball History Project: Record Book". Retrieved 15 November 2016. 
  10. ^ a b [https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/colleges/georgetown-university-breaks-ground-on-john-thompson-jr-athletics-center/2014/09/12/0c6f2690-3ab7-11e4-a023-1d61f7f31a05_story.html Wang, Gene, "," washingtonpost.com, September 13, 2014.
  11. ^ a b Maguire, Carolyn, "http://www.thehoya.com/iac-named-for-thompson-jr/," The Hoya, March 7, 2014.
  12. ^ Wang, Gene, "Georgetown cuts ribbon on athletic center dedicated to John Thompson Jr.," washingtonpost.com, October 6, 2016.
  13. ^ "GUHOYAS.COM, Georgetown University Official Athletic Site". Retrieved 15 November 2016. 
  14. ^ Wang, Gene, "At Georgetown, athletic center named after Big John Thompson is open for business," washingtonpost.com, August 11, 2016.

External links[edit]