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Official Review by Paul Hilchen, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
On the campus of Oregon State University sits Gill Coliseum, named after the winningest coach in school history, Slatts Gill. The arena has been the home of the Beaver basketball since 1949. It is the third oldest basketball arena in the Pac-12 behind Alaska Airlines Arena at Hec Edmundson Pavilion (University of Washington) and Haas Pavilion (California). In addition to basketball, Gill Coliseum is also the home for Beaver volleyball, gymnastics, and wrestling. The floor at the arena is named after Ralph Miller, the second winningest coach in school history.
Beaver basketball has a rich history, although its glory days are far in the past. The program accomplished eight Sweet 16, six Elite 8, and two Final Four appearances between 1947 and 1982, highlighting the OSU resume.
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".
There's not a whole lot out of the ordinary on the menu here. Gill Coliseum features Pepsi products at $4-$5. You can also find hot dogs ($4-$5), pizza ($4), popcorn ($4), pretzels ($4), and so on. One menu item that is a little out of the ordinary is cookies. Cookies aren't unusual, but here a cookie slice can be had for $1.50 or a whole cookie pie for $10.
If you are looking for more variety, there are other options about a mile or so away.
Beaver athletics are the main attraction in Corvallis, and it shows. With the school's rich athletic heritage, there are high expectations despite the Beavers lack of success in the past few years. There are banners saluting players and coaches of yesteryear including names like Gary Payton and A.C. Green. A trip to Gill Coliseum leaves no doubt in a fan's mind that this is a major program working to regain its prominence.
Situated next door to Reser Stadium on the campus of Oregon State, Gill Coliseum is also close to the OSU dorms, which makes it easy for students to attend. The campus is very nice, a mix of modern and classic buildings and worth a trip around if you have the time.
Corvallis has a population of around 55,000 people, and there is a small town feel to the city. One has a very cozy, welcoming feeling when visiting there. If you are coming from out of town, there is a hotel just down the street. Most other lodging options are about a mile or so away.
Big River Restaurant and Bar, Chipotle Mexican Grill and Nearly Normal's Gonzo Cuisine (a vegetarian menu with global flavors) are just a few of the choices away from the arena for a bite to eat or a drink.
OSU athletics is the only show in town. It's like entering a part of the Twilight Zone where everything is orange and black. The Beavers have a rabid fan base. The "Beaver Believers" are an enthusiastic bunch. The student section, called "The Dam," is as loud as any student section I've ever heard.
The only negative here is attendance. Games are fairly well attended, but not what you'd expect. Even the 2015 game against Oregon did not sell out. It was announced that the game was the 344th edition of the "Civil War." In spite of that fact, the game was not a sellout, nor was it close to full - very disappointing for a class program like OSU.
Corvallis is a locale you have to want to get to. Approximately 20 minutes west of I-5, it's off the beaten path. When you arrive, campus parking can be a little tricky. Most lots around are permit lots, but you can find a place to park with a bit of a walk. It's a good idea to avoid parking at businesses that don't have spots available for a fee. There is a parking garage across the street behind the Beaver Store. The level that supports the store is free, but fills quickly.
Inside the arena, the hallways are a little snug, but it's not too bad. If your seat is in an upper level, be prepared for stairs. Handicapped seats are down on the floor. The section has a good view, but really close to the action.
Bench seats are $15 and padded seats $25. Visually, there is not a bad seat in the house. If you're looking for comfort, the padded seats are the best value, as they have a decent amount of leg room.
If you're looking for something to remember your trip to Gill, the souvenir stand has basic items such as hats, t-shirts, and sweatshirts. If you need something more, the Beaver Store is directly across the street from the arena.
During my most recent visit in 2015 it was Senior Night. Oregon State head coach Wayne Tinkle, in lieu of starting seniors (there weren't any on the roster), started five native Oregonians walk ons, a nice gesture for the players and something the fans enjoyed.
During halftime, you can expect entertainment like student tractor races, a student shooting baskets for a college savings plan up to $2,000, and/or a student scrimmage from The Dam (including blind refs).
Around the outside hallway, each sport has a "Wall of Fame" near that program's respective office. Wrestling, basketball, and volleyball have many pictures and accomplishments of their standouts. Taking a stroll around the arena hallway takes you on a trip through Beaver athletics history. There are quite a few names that most sports fans will recognize with Jacoby Ellsbury and Darwin Barney being two of many.
A game at Gill Coliseum is a very nice locale to spend an evening watching the Oregon State basketball team, or whatever sport is featured when you're in the area.
Member Review by AlexShoemaker
Despite an average basketball team in a small town market (population: 54,462), you quickly discover that the people of Corvallis, OR care a lot about Beavers basketball.
At most stadiums you'll find large groups of fans wearing whatever they happened to have thrown on that day. Not at a Beavers basketball game.
In an attendance of over 5,000, you may find 50 or less not decked out from head-to-toe in orange and black. It may not be Cameron Indoor Stadium, but it's still a sight to see.
The arena hasn't changed much from its original design, and a minor face-lift is in order. The first would be to install a nice video board. The one down the road in Eugene puts the Beavers' two tiny screens to shame.
A few small additions can put Gill Coliseum near the top in the Pac-12.
Member Review by CigarBoy on Dec 24, 2011
It is a nice venue, I have a soft spot for old arenas. The food prices are a little steep and the ticket prices are average to a little high, but it is a very good venue to catch some very good college hoops.
Member Review by danwinegar on Mar 17, 2016
I've attended about 60 OSU basketball games over the last 18 years. If your coming from out of state it's almost 2 hours away from the Portland Airport. Depending on who they are playing and what day of the week it is the crowd rating could go from 3 to a 5. The weekend Pac-12 games when the Beavers are playing well are the most attended . Ticket prices are $18 for bench and $28 for chairback and there really isn't a bad seat in the house. Even though it is 65 years old it isn't old and dumpy.
101 NW Jackson Ave
Corvallis, OR 97330
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