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Official Review by Benjamin Evensen, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Located in the southeast corner of Washington in the Palouse region, a few minutes from the Idaho border, sits Washington State University in Pullman. A Pac-12 school of 19,756 at the main Pullman campus, the Cougars men’s and women’s basketball teams play at the Beasley Coliseum on campus which seats 11,671. It was opened in 1973 and is named for Wallis Beasley, a sociology professor and executive vice president who died in 2008.
The first game at Beasley Coliseum was an exhibition game between the NBA’s Seattle SuperSonics and Portland Trail Blazers. The first Cougar men’s game was in 1973 against LSU. It has played host to the NCAA Tournament three times, hosting sub-regionals in 1975, 1982, and 1984, while teams such as UCLA, Michigan, Georgetown, and Duke participated those years. Overall, Beasley Coliseum is a nice venue that has a good atmosphere when the team is winning. That isn’t happening much these days though, and today Beasley Coliseum is a very good, but not great, college basketball arena.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
The food options are not lacking in selection, and while the prices are not overly high for a sporting event, they certainly are not low. Hot dogs, nachos, peanuts, candy, Coke products, and popcorn are all in the $3-$6 range, while special food items like sandwiches and pizza are a bit more. If the prices were a little lower a 5-star rating would be awarded, but for now it receives a 4-star.
The team isn't winning and has not had much success at all in quite some time, but you would expect so much more for a Saturday game against a top 15 conference opponent (this game was against #13 Utah). The arena had no more than 3,000 people and the student section was almost non-existent. Obviously more fans will come with wins, but for this type of game and the atmosphere that was there, it was pitiful.
The arena isn't close to much walking-wise except student housing and dorms, and if you drive into downtown Pullman you will find a good amount of restaurants and bars in this college town. Nearby Moscow, Idaho, about a ten minute drive, is full of restaurants and bars as well. There just is almost nothing for miles and miles outside of Pullman and Moscow, and not many places to go from there.
Much like I explained in the atmosphere section, the fans are lacking in attendance and noise. There isn't anything positive about the fans at Cougar basketball games as of late.
Pullman is a very isolated town with not much near it. About a 2 hour drive from Spokane, 4 hour drive from Seattle, and a 5 hour drive from Boise on two-lane highways in brutal winter conditions can be dangerous. There is a small regional airport that comes from Seattle, Spokane, and Lewiston, ID if you wish to fly into Pullman.
Getting to the arena isn't hard to drive to, but parking isn't ideal with walks and prices.
The prices for Cougar games are not that bad, with upper deck tickets around $10 and lower bowl tickets around $25 and up. Some games will charge more when it is a marquee opponent like rival University of Washington. Overall though, the price of admission is worth the game.
If you like seeing colleges, head over the Moscow, ID just a few minutes away to see the University of Idaho. Martin Stadium is also right across the street of Beasley Coliseum. Otherwise, there isn't too many extras.
Overall, Beasley Coliseum is a nice arena, but while the team is doing so poorly the venue is empty and very unenergetic. With team success, it is not a bad arena by any means to see a Pac-12 basketball game.
Member Review by Ed Pelle on Mar 31, 2013
Located in Southeastern Washington, Pullman is the epitome of a college town. It is home to Washington State University, colloquially known as Wazzu. The Cougars have played their home games in Wallis Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum since moving there in 1973. Their prior home for Men's Basketball, Bohler Gymnasium still stands only a block away and has been converted into a full time volleyball facility.
The Cougars have been associated with the Pac-12 since the beginning. In 1917, they won the first ever Pacific Coast Conference Men's Basketball title, which was the conference that would be a forerunner to today’s Pac-12. They were retroactively awarded a National Title for this effort as this was prior to the establishment of the post season tournament.
In 1941, the Cougars finished as a runner up to Wisconsin in the NCAA Tournament final led by coach Jack Friel for whom today’s playing court is named.
It would take the Cougars 39 years to return to the NCAA Tournament. Today they field competitive teams that compete in the Pac-12 and have established good local rivalries against the University of Washington and Gonzaga.
245 SE Paradise St
Pullman, WA 99163
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