Today in NC State History: The first game at Reynolds

December 2, 2012
By Bill Krueger

blog_series6The NC State basketball team had a great season in 1950 under head coach Everett Case. Led by All-Americans Dick Dickey and Sam Ranzino, the team finished with a 27-6 record and won the university’s fourth straight Southern Conference championship.

It also inaugurated the new William Neal Reynolds Coliseum on this day in 1949 with a 67-47 win over Washington & Lee.

Reynolds Coliseum, named after the president of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., was considered a tremendous upgrade for the basketball program and the university’s ROTC programs, which were also housed in the building.The 1951 Agromeck described the new building, with a seating capacity of 12,014, as “huge.”

When it opened, Reynolds was the largest on-campus facility in the nation, according to NC State Basketball: 100 Years of Innovation, by Tim Peeler and Roger Winstead. The total cost for the building, according to the book, was just under $2.5 million in state funds and donations.

“This mammoth arena, which measures 371 feet by 180 feet, recorded an attendance of 230,000 spectators for the home season,” read the account in the Agromeck. “That mark set a new national attendance record for games played on a college campus.”

That included some fans who, for the first game, had to sit on cement tiers because all of the seats had not yet been installed, according to an account in Historical State, an online archive maintained by NCSU Libraries.

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