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Wallis Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum

Pullman, WA

Home of the Washington State Cougars

3.0

2.4

Wallis Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum (map it)
225 N Grand Ave
Pullman, WA 99164


Washington State Cougars website

Wallis Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum website

Year Opened: 1973

Capacity: 12,058

There are no tickets available at this time.

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Cougar Town

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.

3.0

What is FANFARE?

The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:

  • Food & Beverage
  • Atmosphere
  • Neighborhood
  • Fans
  • Access
  • Return on Investment
  • Extras

Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".

Food & Beverage    4

Buying food here is relatively easy with concession stands located everywhere in the building with classic stadiums foods. Hot dogs ($3.50), German sausage ($4.50), small popcorn ($3.50), large popcorn ($5), pretzel ($3.50), nachos ($4), peanuts ($3), and candy ($2.50) can all be found. Coke brand products are served here; 24oz soda ($3.50), 32oz soda ($4), bottled water ($3), hot cocoa (3), Powerade ($3.50) and Vitamin Water ($3.50).

There are specialty food concessions in mobile dispensing stations across the way from the standard concession stands on the outer ring of the concourse. At these locations you can find items that really set this venue apart from the average stadium food experience such as smoked turkey ($7), beef brisket ($7), pulled pork ($5), Subway sandwiches ($6) and Pizza Hut products ($5). It should be noted that both the lower bowl and upper sections feed into the one main concourse which is not as wide as many of today's newer stadiums so navigating this area can be difficult during game time as lines form.

Atmosphere    4

The tone for the game is set by the diehard student section seated close to Friel Court known as the Zzu Cru in a location dubbed the "cage". Washington State has done a great job allowing students to occupy a section of lower midcourt seating. The Zzu Cru was only started back in 2003 and has grown steadily every year. Today they number in the thousands for a game. A lot of their antics are still evolving and certain chants are different from game to game. The energy the Zzu Cru infuses into the building is par with any of the other great student sections in the country.

The rest of the crowd follows their lead and it can get pretty loud during play. Unlike warmer locales, the students here bravely wait in line to enter for hours in subfreezing temperatures nearly all season long. Although Wazzu has not always had a rich basketball tradition, their home court advantage and attendance in recent years has been increasing in part to the Zzu Cru and the overall effort to produce a better game experience.

Neighborhood    4

The term college town is often used to describe the area around a major university. I don't know if I have ever found a location that more exemplifies the essence of a college town than Pullman, Washington. Seemingly everything revolves around the university in some way. Most establishments in the area have some Wazzu symbol or memorabilia proudly displayed. Pullman has a downtown shopping district bisected by two main thoroughfares. From the West it rises up from the rolling hills that are used as farmland.

There are several great places to eat or drink before and after a game, but choosing the right location depends on what you are looking for. If you want to party with the Zzu Cru in a postgame celebration, then the spot for that is Stubblefields Bar and Grill located only a few blocks from the Beasley Coliseum on Colorado Street. This popular student hangout has a sports bar setup on the ground floor and a dance club set up on the lower level. There are several big screen televisions positioned around the upper bar area with sports programming and they have a kitchen that serves a large menu of food items made-to-order. Though the menu is too large to list some highlights include: sandwiches, BBQ, sirloin steak, chicken fajitas, and half or full rack of pork ribs. This establishment can get very crowded at times and definitely caters toward a younger crowd.

For a more traditional restaurant experience I'd recommend Paradise Creek Brewery in the business district. Here you will find an eclectic sit down menu that complements the fourteen different styles of microbrewed beer that is crafted right below the dining area. Some of the signature items include fish tacos ($10), beer battered cod ($8), half pound burger ($9), California club sandwich ($11), pastrami sandwich ($12), and Chinese BBQ pork ($9).

Fans    3

I've been told by several alumni that east of the mountains is Cougar territory. The mountains referred to here are the Cascade Mountains which divide Washington by running north-south across the state. The area east of the mountains extends hundreds of miles from Pullman and a lot of fans that attend games will travel a further distance than fans of most other schools across the rolling hills and winding roads that lead to Wazzu. This demarcation was established long before Gonzaga rose to national prominence as a college basketball superpower and is more strictly adhered to during football season.

With the well-attended games and a loud raucous crowd, the Cougars have begun to enjoy one of the best home courts in the Pac-12.

Access    1

Getting to Pullman in winter months is rather difficult depending on where you are coming from so take this as a dire warning rather than a guide. Firstly there is no major highway leading anywhere near the area. Driving in, even under the best conditions is difficult because you will be on a one lane road over hilly, twisty terrain for hundreds of miles. Driving south from Spokane is not easy but might be your best option at around 75 miles. Driving east from Seattle is very difficult, and crossing the Cascade Mountains in winter can be extremely hazardous at times (imagine all the rain in Seattle being converted in to snow and ice at altitude).

Driving north from Boise takes you through an area called Hells Canyon which should be avoided (I encountered not one, but two landslides at two different locations that partially covered the roadway with debris on one of my visits passing through). There is no real access from the East due to the Rocky Mountain Range. The only point I can give is that there is a small airfield that receives two flights per day from Seattle.

Parking around the arena in not hard to find with several lots and garages available. My favorite place to park is just south of Martin Stadium where they only charge ($3) and the lot doesn't fully fill up. From there you have a two block walk.

Return on Investment    3

Beasley Coliseum has a scaled pricing system for certain games. One could look at it as a surcharge for prime matchups or a discount for the less desirable ones. Tickets can range from ($15) for upper bowl to ($75) for lower bowl midcourt depending on the matchup. There really are no bad seats in this arena, and I'd recommend the upper bowl for a clear view of the action. Food prices are about average.

Extras    2

If you fly in to the Pullman/Moscow area you will see a giant Wazzu symbol on the roof of the Beasley Coliseum just seconds before you land the plane.

Also for the sports fan, it would be worth your while to check out nearby University of Idaho athletics if you have time. The Kibbie Dome is only a few miles away and is one of the most unusual venues in college athletics.

Final Thoughts

So overall is it worth making the effort to visit this remote outpost? For me the answer is a resounding yes. It may be the least visited location in the Pac-12, but you can think of it as a hidden gem.

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Local Food & Drink

Stubblefields Bar and Grill  (map it!)

600 NE Colorado St

Pullman, WA 99163

(509) 334-7900

http://www.stubblefieldspullman.com/Stubblefieldspullman.com/Welcome.html

Paradise Creek Brewery  (map it!)

245 SE Paradise St

Pullman, WA 99163

(509) 338-9463

http://paradisecreekbrewery.com/

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