|Full name||Sam M. Vadalabene Center|
|Address||35 Circle Drive|
|Owner||Southern Illinois University Edwardsville|
|Operator||SIUE Athletics Department|
|Opened||December 5, 1984|
|SIUE Cougars men's & women's basketball,
volleyball & wrestling teams
The Sam M. Vadalabene Center--- also known as "The VC" --- is a multi-purpose sports and recreation building on the campus of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) that features an arena with a seating capacity of just over 4,000. The facility, which opened in 1984, was named in honor of Illinois State Senator Sam Vadalabene (1914–94), who was a long-time and ardent supporter of the university. The VC is home to the SIUE Cougar basketball, volleyball, and wrestling teams. In addition to the arena, the facility also houses a swimming pool, classrooms, offices, and several activity areas. The Student Fitness Center (SFC), built in 1993, is immediately adjacent to and an integral part of the VC and contains numerous additional recreational and fitness facilities.
In addition to SIUE athletics, the Vadalabene Center hosts the university's commencement ceremonies, trade shows, concerts, and sports events sponsored by the NCAA, the Illinois High School Association (IHSA), the Prairie State Games, and the State Games of America. The VC was host to the 1986 & '87 NCAA Division II wrestling championships which were televised on ESPN. In 2000, the VC hosted the IHSA class AA sectional semifinals and finals, where future NBA player Darius Miles led East St. Louis High School past Edwardsville High School in the championship game in front of a sold-out crowd. In 2002, rapper Nelly played a concert at the venue. In May, 2010, the VC was site for a Guinness World Record--- for most people clicking a pen at one time, despite an attendance of only about 100 at the event.
Renovations and additions
The Vadalabene Center finished a $6 million renovation project in 2008 to coincide with SIUE's move to the NCAA's Division I. The facility underwent a complete overhaul, adding a new floor, dressing room, seating system (increasing seating from c.2400), plus classroom and office space. After one season playing on the new floor, rain from a heavy storm flooded and ruined the hardwood because an opening in the roof had not been properly sealed; a similar flooding event had occurred in 1990.
On November 29, 2012, the $5.4 million Lukas Athletics Annex was dedicated. Facilitated by a $4.2 million donation from the Charles S. and Mary L. Lukas Estate, the 29,100-square-foot annex houses the offices of the entire SIUE Cougars athletics program in one location for the first time.
On February 14, 2014, the SIU Board of Trustees approved the funding to expand the SFC weight room and to renovate the south entrance to the VC. The cost of these improvements is budgeted at $2.6 million.
Jason Holmes owns the arena record for most points scored in a basketball game, with 45 on November 20, 1993; the women's record is 41 points, by Amanda Hyde of IP Fort Wayne on November 26, 2013 (high Cougar score was All-American Misi Clark's 40 on January, 20, 2000). SIUE's longest home winning streak at the Vadalabene Center is 27 by the women's basketball team during the 1988-90 seasons; the men's record is 21, 1985-87.
The largest crowd at the VC was for a men's basketball game between the then-Division II SIUE Cougars and the Division I SIU Carbondale Salukis on January 1, 1987, won by SIUC 84-83 in overtime. The largest post-renovation crowd at the VC was 4,157 on January 21, 2012 against the then-10th ranked Murray State Racers in the first nationally televised (on ESPNU) basketball game played at the VC.
SIUE women's basketball won its first home game against a Division I opponent January 19, 2009 over the Eastern Kentucky Colonels; on December 14, 2010, the men got their first Division I win against the Kennesaw State Owls.
- "Our Campaigns - Candidate - Sam M. Vadalabene".
- "DII Wrestling".
- "SIUE Dedicates Lukas Athletics Annex". 29 November 2012.
- "SIUE Women's Basketball - Miscellaneous".
- "No. 10/12 Murray State Downs Cougars to Remain Unbeaten". 22 January 2012.
- Rizvic, Veneta (4 March 2016). "Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders visits SIUE (Photos)". St. Louis Business Journal. Retrieved 11 June 2016.