Stegeman Coliseum is a 10,523-seat multi-purpose arena in Athens, Georgia. The arena opened in 1964. It is home to the University of Georgia
Bulldogs basketball and gymnastics teams. It was also the host venue for the rhythmic gymnastics and preliminary volleyball matches during the
1996 Summer Olympics, as well as the 1989 and 1995 NCAA gymnastics championships. It replaced Woodruff Hall, a 3,000-seat field house built
The building's design is a unique one. The ceiling is barrel-shaped, with the Sanford Dr. side being curved as well. The resulting inside seating is
in a "U" shape, with the flat end, which includes the scoreboard, not having the upper levels of seating. The Sanford Dr. side is probably the most
familiar side of the building, and was decorated with the Olympic insignia and other markings for the 1996 Olympics. Also, the roof is a separate
structure from the coliseum itself, and is connected by an aluminum bellows which allows the roof to rise and fall with the temperature. The roof
has 4 outward supports in an arc style. These were often used in fraternity initiations until gated off.
The former Georgia Coliseum received its current name on March 2, 1996, in honor of Herman Stegeman, a longtime basketball coach at UGA
who was a pioneer in the development of the original Southern Conference basketball tournament in 1921.
Critics of Stegeman Coliseum say the building is obsolete and in need of replacement. The University of Georgia, while having the most profitable
Athletics Department in the country, has declined to do so, saying that any plan to replace the building is unfeasible. Another concern is the lack
of a suitable location on campus for a new arena.
Rather that replace the building, the university has undertaken several renovations through the years. Originally, Stegeman Coliseum had a
stage at one end. Today, a scoreboard, new section for student seating and banners commemorating the accomplishments of the teams that call
Stegeman Coliseum home now occupy that space. In anticipation of the 1996 Olympic Games, Stegeman Coliseum received new scoreboard
systems, including the first video replay board in an SEC basketball venue. In 2000, all of the old, wooden seats in the lower level were removed,
the concrete resealed, and new cushioned seats were installed. More recently, new LED "ribbon" boards have been installed around the upper
ring of the Coliseum. The building has also undergone several cosmetic changes to the exterior in the past few years. Currently, the university
has preliminary plans to undertake a drastic overhaul of the building, including dropping the event level down several feet to increase capacity.
As of October 2006, an adjoining practice facility for basketball and gymnastics is under construction and will be considered one of the finest
such facilities in the country. The rumor has been that after the practice facility has been completed, Stegeman Coliseum will be renovated to
match the practice facility's exterior.
Georgia upset archrival Georgia Tech in the Coliseum's first game on February 22, 1964, 81-68. The inaugural game set an attendance record
of 13,200 that has never been surpassed. The original design afforded the Coliseum 11,200 seats. But in the excitement of the opening of "The
Jewel of North Georgia," officials let anyone come inside that showed up. This would be the first and the last time that this was done.
The Coliseum also hosted the Mideast Regional of the 1971 NCAA mens basketball tournament. The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers won the
regional with a 81-78 win in overtime over the Ohio State Buckeyes.
At the close of the 2006-2007 season, Georgia's mens basketball teams have amassed a record of 386 wins and 183 losses. That's a winning
percentage of 68%.