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Official Review by Eric Moreno, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The Texas State Bobcats basketball team has enjoyed a remarkable amount of success since the program began in 1934, winning nine conference titles since 1950; that winning mentality also culminated in an NAIA National Championship in 1960.
In recent years, the team has not been able to match the success of their early teams. However, San Marcos is an ideal college town, and the fans of the Bobcats are devoted.
Construction has recently begun on an upgrade to Strahan Coliseum, which will eventually add 2,000 seats to the stadium, as well as new coaching offices, locker rooms, and weight room facilities for the athletics department. The upgrades won't be completed until the fall of 2018, so until then, Bobcats fans can still root on their team in old-school comfort.
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One of the charms of Strahan Coliseum is that it feels like an old-school (that is truly the best description for it) high school gymnasium. While this is a great plus in terms of atmosphere and energy from the fans, it does have its drawbacks.
For avid sports fans on the lookout for unique dining experiences, the concessions options at Strahan Coliseum are very basic; hot dogs, popcorn, pretzels, and candy are the main stadium food offerings. These items are available from several stations on the main level, but there is also a cash-only concessions cart offering lemonade, funnel cake, and cotton candy.
There has been one recent addition to the arena in terms of food and drink options; domestic beer is now sold at some of the food stands.
While Strahan Coliseum cannot match the intensity of larger more storied basketball programs, anyone attending a game will enjoy themselves. Period.
The intimate seating arrangement allows for good acoustics in the arena, and quite frankly makes it louder than it has any reason to be. The basketball band and the student section, a.k.a. the "Loud Crowd," do a nice job of keeping things lively both during play and during lulls in the action. A pared-down version of the legendary Texas Strutters dance team is also fun to watch.
Since many games take place on weeknights, and college students are often engrossed in studies, finding a seat in Strahan Coliseum won't be a problem.
Quite frankly, San Marcos is the best college town in the state of Texas, and probably one of the best in the country. In places near campus, it has that classic Norman Rockwell look of what your mind's eye envisions in a college town. While Strahan Coliseum is literally on campus, and there are not many attractions near the arena, you can get to a Bobcats game from anywhere in the city in about 15 minutes.
In town, there are so many restaurant and hotel choices to choose from that you are sure to find something that will suit your tastes, and San Marcos also has you covered if you are looking for entertainment options.
During warm weather months, which in Central/South Texas can literally be any month of the year, you need to take a trip down to the Guadalupe River for some fun on the water. Alternatively, if you are looking for cultural activities, plan a visit to the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment, where you can ride a turn of the century glass-bottom boat on the fabled Aquarena Springs. This unique experience gives you a close-up look at an ecosystem that is unique to this part of the world.
For a little more entertainment that will get your "motor running," head over to Dick's Classic Garage Museum. Dozens of antique and collectible cars, ranging from the dawn of the motor age to the 1950s, are gathered under one roof. Or, if you would rather while away your afternoon doing some shopping, the San Marcos Premium Outlets shopping mall has anything and everything you could want.
Lastly, San Marcos itself is the halfway point between San Antonio and Austin; you can be in either city in under 45 minutes, along I-35.
Bobcat fans are loyal, Bobcat fans are passionate, and Bobcat fans love their team. While they may not show up in numbers the way larger programs do, the ones that do show up (and this is a generational thing; you will see fans and alumni of all ages in the stands at Strahan Coliseum) are vocal and add a distinct energy to the atmosphere.
Depending on the night you attend, the numbers might not be near the point of filling the arena for capacity. However, you cannot debate that the fans care about their program.
You can get to Strahan Coliseum fairly easily off of I-35; there is some navigating through the campus area of the city, but it is not difficult at all. Note however that as renovations are currently underway, parking is somewhat limited, and there are some street closures to be aware of.
Despite all of this, with a little forethought and planning you should have no trouble getting to the game, finding a parking spot, and getting to your seat in time for the opening tip off.
It does not cost much to attend games at Strahan Coliseum; single-game tickets range from $5 to $25. Playing in the Sun Belt Conference, you won't typically see any of the "major" men's college basketball powerhouses come through town, but during non-conference season you will see some Power Five conference teams from time to time.
With concessions as limited as they are, you can eat rather affordably, and with no cost for parking, you can take a group of friends or family to a Division I NCAA game without paying a king's ransom. In addition, you will more than likely see some exciting, competitive basketball.
There are not many bells and whistles yet at Strahan Coliseum, but with the upcoming renovations, you are pretty much guaranteed to see some new additions to the stadium in terms of entertainment and in-game experience.
Like most venues, there are fun contests during game stoppages. The Texas State Strutters, even in a scaled down version, are always fun to watch. Also, in the arena itself there is a Wall of Honor highlighting some of the best players from every sport to come through Texas State. There is also a nice display case showing off some of the most important moments in men's basketball history; again, this place is old-school, and it is all about the action on the court.
Strahan Coliseum is one of the last of an old breed of arenas, designed such that you focus solely on the athletes on the court. If you are fan of pure hoops, you will appreciate its look and feel, and the atmosphere it conveys.
However, if you're looking for a lot of extra "sizzle" to go along with your "steak" of a game, you frankly aren't going to find that here. Still, you can't beat a night at Strahan Coliseum, especially for the cost you will pay.
Follow Eric Moreno's Stadium Journey on Twitter @EricMoreno6477.
Member Review by EGrant on Jan 10, 2013
College basketball can be a tough draw for a University, particularly when the last big name to come through the program is former NBA player Jeff Foster (Class of 1999).
That’s the case with the Texas State Bobcats, who play their home games in Strahan Coliseum—the University’s multi-purpose gym that also hosts volleyball, UIL tournaments and graduation ceremonies in the spring and fall.
Strahan has been home to the Bobcats since 1982, when construction was completed at a cost of $8.8 million.
Cheerleading competitions and other events that require most of the 7,200 seats in the arena also grace San Marcos from time to time, but the venue gets the most use from the athletic teams of the school.
The oddly shaped stadium is really one of a kind. The Eastern wall cuts off right at the baseline, making for a U-shaped arena that has seating in the North and Southeastern corners that isn’t very popular. The rest of the stadium is a normal bowl, but you’d be hard pressed to find a stadium like this one anywhere else in Texas.
201 San Marcos Springs Dr
San Marcos, TX 78666
120 Stagecoach Trail
San Marcos, TX 78666
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