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Official Review by Martin Rickman, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
There aren’t many mid-major teams that get the chance to play in a staple NCAA Tournament venue, and for UNCG, that is a definite selling point. Unfortunately, the team hasn’t had much to be thankful for, with only two .500 seasons in the last 10 years. Hope is on the horizon, as Wes Miller took over for the fired Mike Dement mid-season, helping UNCG to a 10-1 stretch at one time before the Spartans dropped its final three regular season games.
Miller, 29, played for the Tar Heels on the 2005 National Championship team and spent a little time abroad before returning stateside to coach.
The Spartans just need a little excitement to get the Greensboro Coliseum loud, as the arena is a top-line location with a ton of history. It celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2009, and has seen 23 ACC Tournaments and 12 NCAA Tournaments.
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Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
Typical big arena food, including chicken finger baskets, soda, pizza, burgers, hot dogs, and an above-average BBQ sandwich. The Coliseum offers a selection you’d find at mid-90s NBA stadiums, for the most part.
You can feel the history the second you walk into the building. The place is a bit dated, with a strange blue and green theme, but it suits Greensboro and the past that the building has. The upper deck is curtained off for UNCG games, but it provides a more intimate experience for Southern Conference games that don’t need the 23,500 capacity. When the upper deck is exposed and filled, the place is electric.
There just isn’t much around. The ACC Hall of Champions is attached to the complex, but the area is not well lit, and immediate radius has a very drudging air. There are a few strip malls and dive joints, but for the most part, the mile-plus circle around the Coliseum needs a serious facelift. Stamey’s Barbecue is close by and offers a nice chopped plate at good value. It isn’t the best ‘cue in North Carolina, but if you’re in from out-of-town or you’re jonesing, it will definitely suffice.
I would also be remiss not to mention Cook Out. A fast food joint that started in Greensboro, Cook Out is a gluttonous gem. It is famous for its "trays," where you can get a burger, sandwich, chicken fingers, etc., and a choice of two sides, including fries, hush puppies, corn-dogs, chicken wraps, and quesadillas (really). It also has giant "milkshakes," which are more like a Dairy Queen Blizzard, for under $3. For around $6-$7, you’ll walk away stuffed for above-average quality fast food. People in the Southeast swear by the place.
UNCG fans have weathered a storm, and it shows. There aren’t many, but they give it their all. It’s an area of the country that has a lot of other teams vying for fanhood, including all of the Big Four (Duke, UNC, N.C. State and Wake Forest) all a manageable drive away. The Spartan faithful likely just need a couple years of good luck and success to find their groove.
Lots of parking, easy (if not a bit complicated in the dark) drive back to Interstate 40, prices weren’t outrageous, and there wasn’t very much congestion on the route. One advantage of being around for a while is there is plenty of time to figure that part of the experience out.
It’s a pretty amazing venue for the quality of the basketball. The SoCon is never going to be compared to the ACC, but with the recent success of teams like Davidson and College of Charleston, the league is trending up.
A point for the pre-game theatrics (lights, intros, etc.), a point for the video board, which was very nice, and a point for the fact that a SoCon team gets to play its home games in a place that is nice enough to get big time concerts and events.
Both the UNCG basketball team and the Greensboro Coliseum need an updated reboot, but the history of the arena is definitely there. The place positively exudes the big moments that it has hosted throughout the years, and it’s hard not to think about Randolph Childress in the 1995 ACC Tournament, the Wolfpack in 1974 or any other number of tremendous bullet points when you walk through the doors.
It’s a great place to take in a casual basketball game and an even better place to catch NCAA Tournament action.
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2206 High Point Rd
Greensboro, NC 27403
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