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Memorial Coliseum
The House That Rupp Built
Memorial coliseum LexingtonKY.jpg
Location 201 Avenue of Champions
Lexington, KY 40506
Opened December 1, 1950
Owner University of Kentucky
Operator University of Kentucky
Construction cost $4 Million
Capacity 8,500[1]
Kentucky Wildcats
(Women's Basketball, Gymnastics & Volleyball)

Memorial Coliseum is an 8,500-seat multi-purpose arena in Lexington, Kentucky. The facility, which opened in 1950, is home to three women's teams at the University of Kentuckybasketball, volleyball, and gymnastics. Before Rupp Arena opened in 1976, it also housed the men's basketball team, and continued to house the university's swimming and diving team as well until the completion of the Lancaster Aquatics Center in 1989.

The facility was built as a memorial to Kentuckians who had died in World War I, World War II and the Korean War. Later, the names of all Kentuckians who died in the Vietnam War were added. Originally, it had an official capacity of 12,000, making it the largest arena in the South at the time. However, the Coliseum frequently drew crowds of over 13,000 for many UK basketball games. A major renovation, completed in 1990, reduced the seating capacity to its current total of 8,500 and added an elaborate weight training facility, new offices for the basketball and athletics programs, a players' lounge, and a team meeting room.[1] The seating is now mostly located on the sidelines, and the men's NCAA basketball championship banners still hang on the walls. The building is know for its air of great tradition. While it was the home of the UK Men's Basketball team, it hosted the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament ten times, four times as a regional site (1957, 1958, 1967, 1968) and six more as a sub-regional site (1955, 1959, 1960, 1962, 1967, 1975). As home to the University of Kentucky Wildcats, it saw 2 NCAA Men's Basketball national championship teams (1951, 1958), 2 NCAA Men's Basketball runner-up teams (1966, 1975), one NIT Men's Basketball champion (1976), and 16 Southeastern Conference (SEC) Men's Basketball regular season champions. Overall, in 26 seasons (1950-51 thru 1975-76), the University of Kentucky Wildcats men's basketball team posted a remarkable home record of 306-38 (.890). Memorial hosted a first round game in the 2009 National Invitation Tournament on March 17, 2009 between the Wildcats and the UNLV Running Rebels.[2], with the Wildcats winning 70-60.[3] The game was held at Memorial instead of Rupp Arena due to a scheduling conflict with the KHSAA boys' high school basketball state tournament scheduled at Rupp that week.[4]

The Coliseum was also the home of the Kentucky Boys' Sweet Sixteen State Basketball Tournament from 1951 thru 1964. Since then, it has hosted numerous high school basketball tournaments over the years.

The Coliseum stands across the street from the former site of Stoll Field/McLean Stadium, the football team's home before moving to Commonwealth Stadium in 1973. Prior to the building of the Coliseum, the Kentucky basketball teams played at Alumni Gymnasium, a 2,800 seat arena built in 1924 and still standing just down the street.

Facade 2008

See also


  1. ^ a b "Memorial Coliseum". University of Kentucky. Retrieved 2010-03-12. "A one million dollar renovation was completed in 1990, when a state-of-the-art weight training facility, new basketball and athletics administration offices, a players' lounge, and a team meeting room were added. As a result of the renovation, the seating capacity was reduced from 11,500 to 8,500." 
  2. ^ "Kentucky Hosts UNLV Tuesday Night". WKYT-TV. 2009-03-15. Retrieved 2009-03-16. 
  3. ^ Tipton, Jerry (2009-03-18). "Cats clutch in coliseum". Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved 2009-03-18. 
  4. ^ "2009 NIT Ticket Information". 2009-03-15. Retrieved 2009-03-16. 

External links

Preceded by
Alumni Gymnasium
Home of
Kentucky Wildcats men's basketball

1950 – 1976
Succeeded by
Rupp Arena
Preceded by
Home of
Kentucky Wildcats women's basketball

1974 – present
Succeeded by

Coordinates: 38°02′22″N 84°30′01″W / 38.03943°N 84.500388°W / 38.03943; -84.500388



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