9 things you might not have known about UD Arena’s history


The University of Dayton Arena, home to the Dayton Flyers basketball teams, has finished the first phase of a multi-year, $72 million renovation.

Among the updates, the plans call for the replacement of all 13,450 seats, a new 360-degree main concourse and new terrace seating.

The renovation is planned to be completed in 2019 to mark the building’s 50th anniversary.

Here are nine things to know about the venue which opened in 1969:

1. Honoring coaching greats. The original playing court in the arena was called Blackburn Court, named after Tom Blackburn, who became head coach in 1947 and held the position until his death in 1964. The Donoher Center expansion to the arena completed in 1998 was named for another head coach, Don Donoher.

2. Filling the seats. UD Arena is one of the top in the country in terms of attendance. According to the University of Dayton, for the 17th consecutive season attendance for men’s basketball pushed it into the Top 30 in 2016-17. Since it opened it has been in the NCAA’s Top 35 in attendance every season. UD leads the Atlantic 10 Conference in attendance.

3. A welcoming host. The facility has played host to the most men’s NCAA Tournament games of any venue in the country. There have been 117 tournament games played at the site, which is 30 more than Kansas City’s Municipal Auditorium.

4. Elvis has left the arena. Elvis Presley made numerous appearances in the Miami Valley but his last Dayton concert was held at UD Arena Oct. 26, 1976. In total, the King of Rock and Roll performed at UD Arena four times.

5. Home to the First Four. The arena served as the inaugural home of the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament First Four round in 2011. The event is scheduled to be played through 2022, and Dayton has offered to host the event for another decade.

6. Presidential attendance. In 2012, President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron attended the NCAA tournament First Four game between Nos. 16 seeds Western Kentucky and Mississippi Valley State. This was the first time a sitting president had ever attended a game at UD Arena.

7. Flying flags and beating drums. Since 2005 the Winter Guard International color guard and indoor percussion championships have used UD Arena as its home site.

8. Millions in updates. In 2002, a $13.1 million renovation added loge seating, improved concessions areas and brought some seats closer to the court. The Boesch Lounge was remodeled, and the Time Warner Flight Deck was constructed.

9. Bright and clear. The first-ever high definition basketball broadcast for ESPN originated from UD Arena in 2002.

ABOUT THIS FEATURE

HISTORY EXTRA is a weekly pictorial history feature showcasing the Miami Valley’s rich heritage. If you have a unique set of historic photos found in your parents’ or grandparents’ attic that depicts the past in the Miami Valley, contact Lisa Powell at 937-225-2229 or at Lisa.Powell@coxinc.com.







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