Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Date in Cornell Basketball History: Opening Newman Arena

In our continuing series, A Date in Cornell Basketball History, we look at the opening of Newman Arena, the home of Cornell Basketball.

Above, the October 13, 1988 issue of the Cornell Chronicle outlines the scheduled construction plans for Alberding Field House (later renamed to its present title, Bartels Hall, which houses Newman Arena, the home of Cornell Basketball). Ground-breaking ceremonies for Alberding were held on October 6, 1988. The facility was projected to open in November 1989 in advance of the 1989-1990 season. Below, the January and March 1990 issues of Cornell Alumni Magazine detail Alberding's unexpected delayed opening. Special thanks to Corey Ryan Earle ('07) for assisting The Cornell Basketball Blog in researching the history of Newman Arena.

While Cornell played its first men's game in Newman Arena on January 6, 1990, a dominating 96-70 Cornell win over Army, the Big Red did not officially open the new facility until students returned to campus on January 20. On that date, Cornell defeated Columbia, 71-68 in front of 4,500 fans. The game also marked Cornell Employee Night for the '89-'90 school year. Below, the Cornell Chronicle recaps the official opening night which included a dedication ceremony.


Anonymous said...

Not the best arena. No stands behind the baskets. The shape and size doesn't allow it to get very loud. But it's not the worst arena in the Ivy League.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Not sure there is a perfect arena in the Ivy. They all have some major problems.

What makes Newman better than the other arenas in the Ivy is the intimacy. It has good size, but you never feel too far from the action, which is definitely not the case at the dark Palestra or Jadwin. At the same time, Newman doesn't look like the high school type gyms they have at Harvard, Dartmouth and Brown.

Newman's lone negative is the lack of seating behind the baskets.

The University should definitely invest in expanding Newman so that it can be used for concerts in place of Barton Hall.

Anonymous said...

Lee Amphitheater is still the best.

Newman would be better if they just turned down the lights...it feels like an office building.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

John Lee has the best atmosphere in terms of the building itself. You know you are watching an Ivy game when you are in the historic J.Lee. But the crowds are usually sparse and like Newman, it also lacks seating behind the baskets. Concessions and parking for John Lee are terrible.

Anonymous said...

I agree about the lighting being too bright. I'm not sure why more arenas in college and pro don't go the Lakers Staples Center route. The only thing that should be lit up is the court. Everything else should be dark. It creates the right atmosphere and mood.

Anonymous said...

Cornell should play at least one game, or perhaps an entire Ivy Weekend, in Barton each year. That would be great.

Texasbigred said...

I remember that game well, very exciting and really did not expect that last second shot from well beyond 3 point arc to go in. Thanks for the post.