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Hulman Center

Terre Haute, IN

Home of the Indiana State Sycamores



Hulman Center (map it)
200 N 8th St
Terre Haute, IN 47809

Indiana State Sycamores website

Hulman Center website

Year Opened: 1973

Capacity: 10,200

There are no tickets available at this time.


Local Information


Home of the Legend

When you think of Indiana State University, you think of Larry Bird, and rightfully so. He put the small school in Terre Haute, Indiana on the map in 1979 when he led the Sycamores to a 33-1 record and the NCAA Final Four, culminating in the iconic championship game against Michigan State and Magic Johnson. The canvas in which Bird and his teammates performed their own magic was the Hulman Center. The 10,200 seat multipurpose arena has been the home to the Indiana State University men’s basketball team since December 1973.

The arena exterior has as much appeal in design as a public library and still looks exactly the same since its completion in the early 1970s. However, the arena became the hottest ticket around during the 1978-79 season. Indiana State may have lost the championship game, but Bird and his impact have stamped its legacy on campus. In 2014, a statue of Bird was constructed outside the main entrance, further cemented his legendary status in not only Terre Haute, but in the Hoosier state.


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    2

The food choices are surprisingly copious inside the arena, ranging from jalapeno poppers to beef kebabs on a stick. The "tiki kabobs" are locally made and sell for $3, while the meat eggrolls are five for $4. There are the stadium friendly corn dogs, hot dogs, chili dogs, super nachos, chicken strips, and chili cheese fries. The majority sell for around the $4 price point, while Pepsi products come in 24 and 32 ounce varieties for the same selling mark.

However, with the 20 varieties to choose from in the three main concourses in the arena, there tends to be long and tedious lines. Even when Hulman Center is half filled the lines resemble rush hour on the highway. The concession stands would benefit from possible better training and a few more stand alone carts throughout the open spots on the main concourse.

Atmosphere    3

This is the house that Larry Bird made famous and you will be reminded by the 17-foot statue outside the arena, along with the numerous displays and accolades inside the Hulman Center. His number 33 hangs proudly on the top wall, his likeness is painted in various cases and paintings, and you will be hard not to find someone who does not remember that magical year of 1979.

The Hulman Center doesn't get the attention that other facilities in the state receive, but it still a grand old place to watch a basketball game. Its appearance has been taken care of quite well and the finished product is clean, friendly, and positive. The design of the building harkens back to early 1970's aesthetics and there is not a marquee entrance to grab patrons' attention.

The student section is situated at the south end of the court and is usually filled to capacity. It has been nicknamed "The Forest" and the future alumni are always on their feet at the start of each contest. The section is also where the band, cheerleaders, and the dance team Sparkettes cheer on the home team and implore the crowd. Sycamore Sam is the school's official mascot and there has been speculation on what he is since his inception, but whether he is a blue squirrel, fox, or wolf, he is the master of ceremonies at the game.

Neighborhood    3

The Hulman Center sits right off campus in downtown Terre Haute. There are various restaurants and bars within walking distance of the venue. The Terminal is probably one of the more popular destinations for drinks before or after the game, but if you are looking for a more "fraternal" college crowd, then The Ballyhoo Tavern is definitely your destination after an evening contest.

About a mile away and just across the train tracks is 7th and Elm Bar and Grill, a former frat house that features ten beers on draft and rooftop seating. Tater and Joe's Cafe is another interesting place to eat a fully loaded potato that is topped with either jerk chicken, Italian beef, or smoked pork. If you have a some time, visit the Clabber Girl Museum across from the arena for one of the area's most famous industries, the manufacturing of baking powder.

Fans    3

The fans usually do not sell out the Hulman Center, and when they do its against in-state rivals like Indiana University or Purdue. That is not to fault the populace of the Wabash Valley - they love Sycamore basketball. The lower bowl section is the most populated section and when you get a chance to talk with many of the fans, they are both knowledgeable and faithful. The diehards can be heard cheering and supporting a basketball program that has seen its many shares of up and downs since 1979.

Access    3

The arena is located three miles north of I-70 in downtown, but it is rather simple to access the arena. The free street parking fills up quick and small parking lots are available for a small fee. Once inside the arena, access throughout the arena is simple with two main sections of seating for the game. However, Terre Haute is know for train delays; if you happen to get caught in a train stop, welcome to the city.

Return on Investment    4

Ticket prices for Sycamore games range from $11-$51, with a median of $30. The majority of the lower bowl is sold out from season ticket holders, and many of the less expensive tickets are located in the upper bowl. A visitor should expect to find a suitable ticket price and will not be disappointed by the view of the court, concession stand prices, and parking fees.

Extras    4

One star for the 17-foot statue of Larry Bird in front of the arena, another for a clean and friendly venue for basketball, and a final star for the great acoustics from the band during the game.

The floor at the Hulman Center was named the Nellie & John Wooden Court in 2008. Wooden had begun his coaching career at Indiana State in 1946, staying for three years while also coaching the baseball team and serving as the school's athletic director. Playing with John Wooden's name below you, and Larry Bird's name above you must be a great thrill for the Indiana State players, and helps add to the aura of history for spectators.

Final Thoughts

I spent a lot of time during at Hulman Center in my years at Indiana State from 1997-2001; it was a time of a revival for the basketball team, as they put up consecutive winning seasons and made two NCAA tournaments in 2000 and 2001. There were also back to back season where Indiana State defeated Indiana University, including the night Michael Mener knocked in back to back three pointers in the final 7.1 seconds to knock off the Hoosiers in front of standing room only crowd at the Hulman Center in October 2000. I never understood why the city doesn't pack the arena a little more often. If it was scaled back to around 8,000-seats, would there be a much better atmosphere? I have many memories invested in this building, and I have faith that the Hulman Center will keep up with the times of the fan experience at the game.

That is some dirt cheap food

While it sounds like the food is pretty bleh, high-school concession standard, $2.50 for anything is insanely cheap. You can't get a packet of ketchup at Fenway for $2.50. I wonder if Food deserves another star just because you can feed a family of 4 for $20

by dan | Dec 17, 2010 12:54 PM

There is no reason to go to Terre Haute

I live in Indianapolis. If someone tells me they are going to Terre Haute (which rarely happens), my answer to them is, "What on earth for?" I might stop there on the way to somewhere else...for a restroom break or to fill up my gas tank.

by danieladougan | Feb 22, 2015 11:30 PM

I spent a month in Terre Haute one weekend, arf arf arf

I was there with Bradley in 1993 (I was a student manager for them). All I remember is that we held them to six points in the second half and the place was a freaking echo chamber because Indiana was playing on TV at the same time. Maybe 1500 people in attendance.

by PogoPete | Mar 05, 2015 11:29 AM

Too Big

The arena is way too big for the fan support in the Wabash Valley. There have been great squads the last 18-years that have had winning records, won the conference, and made tournament appearances. However, the majority of fans in town root for IU or Purdue. Bummer!

by JasonJamez | Mar 15, 2015 09:12 PM

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Crowd Reviews

Sycamore Stage

Total Score: 3.43

  • Food & Beverage: 3
  • Atmosphere 4
  • Neighborhood: 4
  • Fans: 3
  • Access: 4
  • RoI: 4
  • Extras: 2

The Hulman Center opened in 1973, and only had to wait 3 years until it reached the best era of basketball in the school's history. It was 1976 that Larry Bird became a member of the Indiana State Sycamores basketball team, and the school, state, and sport of basketball were never the same.

Larry Bird Avenue begins just outside the west entrance to the Hulman Center, and it's not a surprise that Bird's #33 hangs above the court as one of two retired jerseys for the program (Duane Klueh's #54 is the other).

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Local Food & Drink

7th & Elm Bar & Grill  (map it!)

729 N 7th St

Terre Haute, IN 47807

(812) 234-7356


The Ballyhoo Tavern  (map it!)

900 Chestnut St

Terre Haute, IN 47807

(812) 232-3939


Tater and Joe’s Cafe  (map it!)

423 Wabash Ave

Terre Haute, IN 47807

(812) 234-2753


Local Entertainment

Clabber Girl Museum  (map it!)

900 Wabash Ave

Terre Haute, IN 47807

(812) 232-9446



Holiday Inn Express & Suites  (map it!)

2645 S Joe Fox St

Terre Haute, IN 47803

(812) 234-3200



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