Calihan Hall is the home to the Detroit Titans men's and women's basketball teams. It is a great facility to see entertaining basketball from the Horizon League. Opened in 1952, Calihan Hall was re-named in honor of All-American Bob Calihan in 1977.
The arena has been home to great players such as Dave DeBusschere, Terry Tyler, and John Long. Some will think of Dick Vitale when they think of the Detroit Titans. The former head coach and college basketball broadcasting legend, lead the team to the NCAA Tournament in 1977, and had the floor dedicated in his honor on December 5th, 2011.
The arena holds 8,295 at capacity with rows rising high to provide both great views, and a loud environment when the facility draws a crowd.
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You'll find nothing but the basics at the three concession stands inside Calihan Hall. Pizza ($5), hot dog ($3), Polish sausage ($3.50), pretzel ($3.50), nachos ($3.50), and popcorn ($2). Skip the pizza and go for the Polish sausage which was rather tasty. Beverages include 20-ounce Coke products ($2.50), or bottled Powerade or Vitamin Water ($2.50).
This is a great old facility, but there isn't a whole lot of energy when you go to see a game. The lower section features 7 rows of red plastic bleacher seating. My preference would be to sit in the upper section where they have classic wooden stadium seats. The lower four rows (A-D) are below the inner concourse and offer the most uninterrupted view of the game. The perfect seat would be in section 12, at center court, facing both benches.
The best part about the upper seating section is that the rows are elevated so that the person in front of you will only obstruct your view if they are standing. Combined with average legroom, these are very comfortable seats, especially for a facility more than half a century old. Be careful not to sit too high up if you're behind the baskets (sections 15-17 and 7-9) as the banners hanging from the rafters will partially obstruct your view of the scoreboard.
Look for the retired numbers of Bob Miller (#25), Bob Calihan (#17), Dave DeBusschere (#22), Terry Tyler (#44), and John Long (#50). Hanging closer to the center court scoreboard is the banner honoring #3, Rashad Phillips, the school's all-time leading scorer.
The small pep band, numbering around 20, does little to add to the atmosphere, and the very large cheerleading squad doesn't bring any noticeable energy either.
There isn't very much in the immediate area, and certainly nothing that would be considered walkable. I did enjoy my meal at 1917 American Bistro, a small restaurant offering appetizers, steaks, pasta, burgers, sandwiches, and blackened or Cajun-style fish. The sides of smashed potatoes and spinach were great, and the steak was average. The service was very friendly.
The student section numbered a grand total of 19 at the time of the 7pm tipoff. A section that small doesn't deserve a nickname, but they have one (Section 313 in honor of the area code where the school is located). I would re-brand it as section 19, for the students who actually show up. To their credit, they were ardent and true to their team.
The rest of the crowd excelled at sitting, other than a few behind the Detroit bench who were likely friends or family of players and coaches.
Parking is free if you arrive before 5pm, as you can receive a visitor's pass. After 5pm, parking will cost you $5 which is certainly reasonable, and you will be very close to the arena. It is a little confusing as all of the lots are marked for students and faculty only, but presumably that is waived during games.
The concourses are very narrow, so you could have some trouble moving about if there is a crowd that even half meets the facility capacity. Restrooms are passable, but also a bit on the small side, and a little outdated.
Floor seats are only $14, as are the upper chairback seats that I mentioned earlier. General admission seating is $10, and on most nights you should be able to sit just about anywhere you like regardless of your ticket. Students are admitted free (all the more reason that 19 fans in the student section is inexcusable), and children and seniors receive a $4 discount on all tickets. The food is below average, the parking is fair, and the tickets are certainly reasonable. Overall, you will get what you pay for, and top dollar for one person would be less than $30.
I love the old chairback wooden seats, and would certainly have season tickets if I lived in the immediate area.
One of my favorite banners, or at least one of the most unique that I have seen hangs behind the basket nearest the opponent's bench. It's the only fencing national championship banner that I have ever noticed, and it hangs in honor of the 1972 championship fencing team. Who knew?
Finally an extra point for the great job that the school does in honoring some its best. The Willie Green men's locker room, Dick Vitale Court, and of course the arena name of Calihan Hall - all pay tribute to key members of the program throughout its history.
Along with the Missouri Valley Conference and West Coast Conference, the Horizon League is some of the most competitive in-league basketball that you will mind amongst the so-called mid-majors. A trip to Calihan Hall is a trip back in history, and a good place to see some college basketball.
I love the history and it would not be that hard to make some improvements to Calihan Hall. For the cost fans can see some great college basketball. I wish more of them went.
This arena makes you feel like you are back in a great old basketball barn, because even with some modern amenities, it is a solid and well preserved remnant of those days. The only drawback is the low attendance, which is shame because both the mens and womens team are well worth seeing. I would go to Calihan again if I am in the Motor City, and look forward to seeing the rumored updates next season.
19416 Livernois Ave
Detroit, MI 48221
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