Welcome to our summer series Arena Wars, where we've summoned the fans to defend their home court.
In which arena would you rather experience a game?
Gallagher Iba Arena
Total Votes: 8,036
We opened in the Pac-10 where Oregon's McArthur Court and UCLA's Pauley Pavilion were the featured arenas. This week we move to the Big 12, where Kansas' venerable Allen Fieldhouse takes on Oklahoma State's Gallagher-Iba Arena, dubbed "the Madison Square Garden of the Plains" after it opened in 1938.
The Rock Chalk Chant is one of the great traditions of Allen Fieldhouse, where the Jayhawks have posted a record of 633-106 since it opened in 1955.
Though Gallagher-Iba has undergone a significant facelift since opening, one thing remains an original -- its white maple court. Through 71 seasons, the Cowboys have a home record of 684-193.
|Allen Fieldhouse -- home of the Kansas Jayhawks|
No other arena can give one the combination of nostalgia, energy and atmosphere like "the Phog". Students camp out for the games, and once the doors open, the smell of popcorn dominates the senses as if you just stepped out of time and into an old theater to watch a treasured favorite.
Kansas fans aren't there because the opponent is worthwhile, Kansas fans are there to see their team, see how they have grown, progressed and matured. Kansas fans applaud for good defensive stops as well as good decisions to reset the offense, not just dunks and nifty passes. They know when to pick their team up and how to sustain the wave of momentum.
"And now, your, Kansas Jayhawks!"
The newspapers become confetti as the starters and coach are announced barely audible above the deafening roar. The building's bleachers shake as feet stomp in cadence to the opening tip, and then the crowd erupts again.
As the show comes to a close, more often than not, the refrain of the Rock Chalk Chant wafts through the building signifying the other team's inevitable demise. The clock expires, the fans lift their hands above their heads and sway as they "wave the wheat" towards the vanquished. Naismith...Allen....Brown....Williams....Self. Chamberlain....JoJo.....Valentine... ...Manning....Pierce.....Chalmers. Some in spirit, some in recent memory, seem to smile from afar as the crowd dissipates and the credits of the box scores come over the loudspeakers. It is, all at once, a museum, a barn, a shrine, and a symbol of both what basketball was and what it has become.
"Pay Heed, All Who Enter, Beware of the Phog!"
|Gallagher-Iba Arena -- home of the Oklahoma State Cowboys|
The arena was originally named the 4-H Club and Student Activities Building, but quickly changed its name to the much more fan-friendly "Gallagher Hall" shortly after it was built. The name, incidentally, honors wrestling coach Ed Gallagher.
When it was first built, it held a capacity crowd of 6,381. A luxurious venue for its time, Oklahoma Stateís arena was the largest collegiate facility in the country, and housed one of the most expensive basketball courts around.
Throughout the years, that home court had become something that the fans and the school, were unwilling to live without... even for a short period of time.
During the renovations, the structure of the new Gallagher-Iba Arena was built around the old arena during the basketball season to allow games to be played without missing a beat. Essentially, the new Athletics Center encapsulated the old gym. Once the exterior was nearly complete, the roof of the old arena was dismantled. The old sightlines were restored, and the floor remains the oldest original basketball court floor still in use.
Today, banners signifying the success of Oklahoma State Athletics fill the rafters. Thereís also a banner commemorating the loss of ten members of the OSU basketball family who perished in a 2001 plane crash in Colorado.
And, finally, in the ultimate show of historical respect and remembrance, there are two seats in the southeast concourse which are permanently reserved for the arena's namesakes, Ed Gallagher and Henry Iba.
|Gary Parrish's take|
Now this is my kind of Arena War.
A battle of historic buildings. Both with tradition. And character.
Oddly, the first game ever played at (what later became) Gallagher-Iba Arena was in 1938 against ... Phog Allen's Kansas Jayhawks. Oklahoma State won that match-up 21-15. But I'm not sure the school will fare as well in this contest because, well, there sure are a bunch of Kansas fans with computers.
Plus, at Allen Fieldhouse you get the Rock Chalk chant. That's the best, far as I'm concerned.
On the other hand, Gallagher-Iba still has that original white maple floor. That's equally awesome.
So I guess what I'm saying is that I'm leaving this one up to you, the readers. Both arenas hold special places in the history of college basketball. You can't go wrong with either.