Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center
|MAC Center, MACC|
|Former names||Men's Physical Education Building (1950–56)
Memorial Gym (1956–92)
|Location||1025 Risman Drive
Kent, Ohio 44242
|Owner||Kent State University|
|Operator||Kent State University|
|Construction cost||$1.33 million
($13 million in 2015 dollars)
|Architect||Braun and Steidl (1992 Renovation)|
|Kent State Golden Flashes (NCAA)
Men's basketball (1950–present)
Women's basketball (1977–present)
Women's gymnastics (1964–present)
Women's volleyball (1978–present)
Men's gymnastics (1950–94)
Men's swimming (1950–88)
Women's swimming (1962–88)
The Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center, also known as the MAC Center, MACC, and previously as Memorial Gym, is a multi-purpose arena on the campus of Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, United States. The building is primarily used as an athletic venue that is home to five Kent State Golden Flashes varsity men's and women's teams, the most notable being the men's basketball team. The arena also hosts women's basketball, volleyball, gymnastics, and wrestling as well as additional events such as commencement exercises, speakers, and concerts throughout the year. The building houses the offices of the Kent State Athletic Department and the coaches of each of the university's varsity athletic teams.
The MAC Center opened in 1950 as the "Men's Physical Education Building" before being renamed Memorial Gym in 1956. It was expanded in 1977 and underwent a major renovation in 1992. Since 1992, the arena seating capacity has been listed at 6,327 in the basketball configuration. The MAC Center is a regular site for the Mid-American Conference championship meets for both wrestling and women's gymnastics and a past host of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) events. As of 2010, the building is the 19th-oldest arena in college basketball.
Originally known as the Men's Physical Education building, plans for the MAC Center were drawn up in the late 1940s as Kent State saw a rapid enrollment increase in men following World War II. The facility opened in 1950 and hosted its first men's basketball game on December 2, 1950, a 51-46 Kent State win over the Pittsburgh Panthers. As of 2010 it is the 19th-oldest arena in U.S. college basketball. The original building included the main gym and a pool, connected by a folding wall, as well as offices and other rooms to house the Physical Education department. The building replaced Wills Gymnasium, built in 1925, as the home of the Golden Flashes men's basketball, swimming, and wrestling teams. In 1956, the Men's Physical Education building was rededicated as Memorial Gym in honor of Kent State students who died in both world wars.
In 1977 construction began on the MACC Annex (originally known as the Memorial Gym Annex or MGA), which included a new facility for the gymnastics team that connects with the main gym by way of a removable wall. Most of the Annex addition, which opened in 1979, was built as a separate building behind the MAC Center which is connected by a second floor bridge. The Annex originally included a large central gym with four adjacent basketball courts as well as auxiliary gyms, courts, a weight room, classrooms, and offices for the School of Dance and the School of Exercise, Leisure, and Sport and would serve as the Kent State Recreation Center until 1999. Today the Annex also houses graduate student studios from the College of Architecture in space taken from two of the original four basketball courts.
The arena underwent a major renovation in 1992. This renovation removed the swimming pool in the front of the building and replaced it with a new three-story lobby and the Blue and Gold Club Loge. The renovation also included a new scoreboard system, parquet floor, improved lighting, and new facade on the front of the building. In 2006, a new court was installed, along with a new scoreboard system.
In a December 5, 2006 interview with the Record-Courier, KSU Athletic director Laing Kennedy discussed future plans for the MAC Center, which include renovating the lower level of seating to create a bowl and installing chair-back seats for the entire level. With the new design, fans would enter all levels of seating from the second level instead of the current court-level entrances. Additional plans include renovating the Blue and Gold Club loge and dividing it into smaller private loges. No timetable was announced for the changes other than they would follow plans to upgrade Dix Stadium, which were completed in 2008.
||#5 St. Bonaventure||L 94–65|
||Miami (Ohio)||L 47–45|
||Miami (Ohio)||L 61–59 OT|
||#2 Loyola Chicago||L 96–55|
|Largest crowds since 1992 renovation|
||Akron||L 66–64 OT|
The MAC Center's most visible role is that of being the home court for five of the university's intercollegiate athletic teams: men's basketball, women's basketball, women's volleyball, women's gymnastics, and men's wrestling. The Kent State men's basketball team has played home games at the MAC Center since the building opened in 1950 and through the 2009–10 season has an all-time home record of 488–255 (.657). Since 1998, the team has a 149–23 (.866) record in the MAC Center. The largest crowd at the building was 7,778 for a game against St. Bonaventure on January 10, 1970. Since the 1992 renovation, the largest crowd to see a game in the MAC Center was 6,567 on March 4, 2007 against arch-rival Akron. The KSU women's basketball team has an all-time record of 306–101 (.752) which includes a 43-game winning streak that ran from December 3, 1997 to December 1, 2001. Since the 2000 season, the women's gymnastics team has a 60–10 record at the MAC Center.
The MAC Center houses administrative offices for the athletic department, coaches' offices for the various teams, the main ticket office, and hosts a variety of events including guest speakers, concerts, and graduations for both the university and local high schools. University commencement exercises are held three times a year in May, August, and December. The northern end of the building is the gymnastics center and serves as the practice facility for the women's gymnastics team. It connects to the main arena by way of a removable wall. Prior to 2005, most home meets were held in the gymnastics center by reversing the direction of a section of end-zone bleachers. Before the development of class registration by way of telephone and over the Internet, the MAC Center was the long-time site of class registration.
The arena has been the site of conference and NCAA events as well. During the 1960s, the MAC Center, then known as Memorial Gym, hosted the NCAA Wrestling Team Championship on two occasions. The 1963 tournament, won by the Oklahoma Sooners, was held over three days with a total attendance of over 16,000. The championship returned to Kent in 1967 and drew over 26,000 fans over three days, and was won by the Michigan State Spartans. The building has been a host arena for games in two NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournaments. In the 1966 tournament, Memorial Gym was a host arena for two Mid-East regional quarterfinal games. The Dayton Flyers defeated the Miami Redskins 58–51 and the WKU Hilltoppers defeated the Loyola Ramblers 105–86. Two years later, Memorial Gym was again the site for two NCAA Mid-East regional quarterfinal games: the Marquette Golden Eagles narrowly beat the Bowling Green Falcons 72–71 and the East Tennessee State Buccaneers defeated the Florida State Seminoles 79–69 as part of the 1968 tournament. The MAC Center is also a regular site for Mid-American Conference events such as the women's gymnastics and men's wrestling championships. The MAC Center was the site for the first MAC Women's Gymnastics Championship in 1981 and has hosted the meet four times. In 2008, the MAC Center was the site of both the wrestling and women's gymnastics championship meets. The MAC Wrestling Tournament returned to the MAC Center in 2014 while the MAC Gymnastics Championship was held at the arena in March 2015.
Built as a physical education building, the interior of the arena is basically a large gymnasium consisting of four seating areas on each side of the floor with balcony seating along each sideline. All seating sections are bleacher seats except for chairback seats in the Blue and Gold Loge and in the lower sideline seats opposite the team benches.
The main lobby was built on what was originally the swimming pool as part of the 1992 renovations. It includes an elevator, concession stands, the ticket office, a small team shop, and the Blue and Gold Trophy Room. There are also four other lobbies at each corner of the main gym where fans can access restrooms and stairs to the balcony sections.
Galleries on the second floor of the main lobby honor Kent State's all-Americans and Hall of Fame members. Offices and storage rooms are found on this floor as well, located underneath the balcony sections of the main gym.
Notes and references
- "Campus Building Information". Kent State Architecture Library. Retrieved February 20, 2008.
- Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
- "The MAC Center" (PDF). 2008-09 Men's Basketball Media Guide. Kent State University. 2008-10-28. Retrieved 2008-10-28.
- Kent State Athletic Communications (2008-03-06). "MAC Decides '08". www.kentstatesports.com. Kent State University. Retrieved 2008-03-30.[dead link]
- Kent State Athletics Communications (2008-03-27). "Kent State Gymnasts Battle For 10th Conference Championship On Home Mats". www.kentstatesports.com. Kent State University. Retrieved 2008-03-28.[dead link]
- "Kent State Celebrating The M.A.C. Center's 60th Anniversary On Thursday Night Against Louisiana at Monroe". KentStateSports.com. Kent State University Athletics. December 1, 2010. Retrieved January 9, 2011.
- This information comes from the dedication plaque located in the main lobby
- Tom, Hardesty (2006-12-05). "Offseason will feature upgrade of Dix Stadium". Kent and Ravenna, Ohio: Record-Courier. Retrieved 2008-02-11.
- "Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center". KentStateSports.com. Retrieved January 8, 2011.
- 2009–10 Kent State Women's Basketball. Kent State University Athletics. 2009. pp. 65–66.
- "Gymnastics Team Readies for 2011 Season with Blue & Gold Intrasquad Meet". KentStateSports.com. Kent State University Athletics. December 2, 2010. Retrieved January 9, 2011.
- Hildebrand, William H.; Keller, Dean H.; Herington, Anita D. (1993). A Book of Memories: Kent State University 1910-1992. Kent, Ohio, USA: Kent State University Press. p. 121. ISBN 0-87338-488-1.
- "Championship History". National Collegiate Athletic Association. 2013. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
- "MSU Pins Down Title In NCAA Mat Tourney". Daily Kent Stater. March 31, 1967.
- "1968 NCAA Basketball Tournament Bracket". DatabaseSports.com. Database Sports. 2007. Retrieved January 10, 2011.
- "Gymnastics" (PDF). MAC-sports.com. Mid-American Conference. 2014. Retrieved January 22, 2015.
- "Flashes to Host 2014 MAC Championships Saturday & Sunday". KentStateSports.com (Kent State University). March 6, 2014. Retrieved January 22, 2015.
- "2014-15 MAC Championships". Mid-American Conference. 2014. Retrieved January 22, 2015.
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