Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Road Trip: A Quick Stop at Purdue's Mackey Arena

I recently ventured north to watch Northern Kentucky's game at Wisconsin (more on Wisconsin soon).

On the way, I made a pit stop in West Lafayette to check out Purdue University's Mackey Arena.

First, a few facts:

Guy J. "Red" Mackey Arena

Address: 900 John R Wooden Dr, West Lafayette, IN 47907
Capacity: 14,240
Opened: December 2, 1967

On May 18, 2007, Purdue University officials announced plans for the most comprehensive and significant facility undertaking in the university's athletics history. The Mackey Complex project has brought a 40-plus-year-old campus landmark into the 21st century while preserving its rich history and tradition.

The scope of the project was significant, designed to have a positive effect on all Boilermaker student-athletes, specifically with improved and increased space for academic support, sports medicine and sports performance. A three-level structure has been built adjacent to Mackey and highlights include:

* A 13,300-square foot sports medicine facility, nearly three and a half times larger than the previous space in Mackey.
* A 12,990-square foot sports performance facility, more than three and a half times larger than the previous space in the adjacent Intercollegiate Athletic Facility.
* An oversized basketball practice facility with a full-size court and three breakout shooting areas.

The Mackey Complex project has significantly enhanced the overall fan experience at Purdue basketball games. The concourse width has nearly tripled, concession areas have increased four times (from 12 to 48 points of sale) and restroom space has increased threefold for women and by 35 percent for men. In addition, the lower seating sections on the west side have been modified to allow for premium seats. Accessible seating has increased more than seven times. Three club spaces have been created, one for all fans on the west side, a premium club to the east and a courtside club for courtside seat holders.

Other upgrades include new locker rooms and lounges, meeting rooms, offices, laundry facilities and equipment storage. A new ticket office has been created in Mackey that is approximately twice the size of the previous one in the Intercollegiate Athletic Facility.

The entire upper level of the Intercollegiate Athletic Facility was transformed into an academic center spanning more than 5,350 square feet, and the building was renamed the Drew and Britany Brees Student-Athlete Academic Center in April of 2012.

On Nov. 10, 2011, Mackey Arena was formally rededicated, with subsequent rededication games for the men's and women's basketball teams Nov. 11 and 13. Mackey Arena Purdue teams have won more than 80 percent of the games played in Mackey Arena, and the basketball programs have combined for nearly 900 wins in the last 44 years. Mackey Arena has been called home by 39 All-Americans and 167 All-Big Ten honorees over the years.

Originally named Purdue Arena, construction on the facility began in July of 1965. The $6 million project took just over two years to complete and was dedicated Dec. 2, 1967, with a ceremony that included recognizing 10 former Boilermaker All-Americans, led by John Wooden and Charles "Stretch" Murphy, and a speech by Indiana governor Roger Branigin.

The first game ever played in Purdue Arena saw the Boilermakers take on Wooden and his UCLA team in a classic contest. Purdue came up just short, falling to the Bruins 73-71 in front of a standing room-only crowd of more than 14,400.

In March 1972, Purdue Arena was renamed in honor of Guy "Red" Mackey, who served the athletics department for 46 years, including 29 years as athletics director, before passing away in 1971. On Dec. 12, 1997, the floor of Mackey Arena was named "Keady Court" in honor of legendary men's basketball coach Gene Keady.

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My Thoughts: I have to admit, I was immediately impressed when I walked into Mackey Arena. The upgrades were successful as it has the feel of a new arena.

I wasn't able to get on the court because coach Matt Painter was conducting practice, but I did manage to "sneak" in and snap a few pics.

I walked away with a solid impression of the Purdue basketball facilities. The arena has an old school layout with a new school feel.

Of course, it was interesting for this pure basketball fan to see the various tributes to legendary Purdue head coach Gene Keady.

Here are a few more pictures:

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