If you're looking for the Titan's Gym in Cleveland, OH, the UK's Titan Fitness, or the Titan home gym, you've stopped at the wrong place as this is the review of California State University Fullerton (CSUF) basketball program. I only level-set here because if you do a web search for "Titan Gym," multiple results return before the basketball arena.
Named for the school's nickname, Titan Gym was built in 1964 and seats roughly 4,000 fans. Despite its age, a number of improvements in recent years have kept the gym serviceable for Division-I basketball. A new scoreboard, chairback seating, and a redesigned floor were just a few of the renovations added since the year 2000.
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".
Unfortunately this was the first venue that I have visited that did not offer any concessions. Not even a simple menu of soda and hot dogs existed. There was plenty of space in the concourse to set up such an operation, but was not executed.
I do give the arena a single point however as the gym was at the heart of the campus and there was a multitude of fast food options in walking distance from the arena.
Despite the size of the venue, it holds sound extremely well and had a rather vibrant atmosphere. This is likely attributed to the cheer squad (dance team and cheerleaders) being roughly 30 deep.
The dance team won the UDA National Championship in 9 of the past 11 years, adding to the experience with all of their talent. During breaks in the game, the dance team would treat fans to some of their best performances.
Chants heard included "Here we go Ti-Titans "" Fight, Fight Fight" and "Let's Go Ti-tans." After every made free-throw, the band would play some beats and the cheerleaders would make an arm movement and yell out "Woooo!"
Unfortunately during this evening's contest the mascot did not make an appearance. Get a look at the mascot and read the history behind it here.
The student section known as the Orange Curtain was very sparse at tipoff, but quickly filled up. Throughout the game their chants of "De-fense" could be heard throughout the arena. They were also pretty tough on the opposing players; being such a small gym and so close to the action.
There were a few fan competitions during the game, none of which were particularly exciting. They consisted of fans battling it out to see who could make a few shots first, vying for some local prizes.
The pep band was particularly good despite having only a few members. They played recognizable songs such as California Love, Crazy in Love, The Hey Song, and Come on Eileen.
Fullerton is located in Orange County, not far from Anaheim. The gym itself is located at the heart of campus and is surrounded by all sorts of fast food options. There are even some elaborate vending machines nearby offering over 100 selections.
Some of the fast food options include Quiznos, Chipotle, Pick Up Stix, KFC, Panera Bread, and Burger King.
The Karma Cafe is a Mediterranean restaurant and hookah lounge most popular with students because of their $1 domestic cans of beer. Some of the more popular dishes include the falafel pita sandwich, jasmine rice, tangine chicken, and karma fries.
Big's Grill is probably the best place nearby to pick up some wings. Beyond just the wings, they offer all sorts of fried pub food including the sweet potato and curly fries. They offer over 40 beers on tap, so it could make for some good times, especially on their Karaoke Thursdays.
The Cantina Lounge is a popular place to pick up some Mexican food and margaritas. Offering several TVs, it is also a great place to watch the game when you can't attend. The locals love their surf and turf quesadilla, Tuesday taco specials, and free chips and salsa. Be sure to get there early as there is a cover after 10 PM.
While the fans in attendance were not very deep in numbers, they were extremely involved in the contest and made quite a bit of noise. Of course, in a 4,000 seat arena, the student section and cheer team can easily lead the way.
As the venue was very small, most fans were just feet from the court, often yelling out to players like they knew them personally. On the flip side, this allowed the fans to easily let the opposing players know they were there.
The chants rarely ceased during the competition and the fans really made an otherwise quaint venue into a rather extraordinary college hoops atmosphere.
The stadium is just minutes off of the 57, which quickly connects to the 5 and 91 freeways. Unfortunately the gym is not easily identifiable once you arrive on campus, so make sure you have some time to walk the campus and find it.
Parking is relatively annoying. There are lots of spots everywhere, but all sorts of disclaimers at every lot regarding permits and time limits. I eventually found a parking structure that offered parking for $2 a hour. I deposited a $5 bill to get my 2 hours in and was thrilled to find that the machine does not offer change, but rather a slip of paper telling me to stop by the visitors center during business hours to get my $1 back. I guess change is an antiquated idea these days?
The arena offers a set of bleachers behind each basket and chairback seats along each sideline. If there is a need for overflow seating, there are additional bleachers on the second level, although some of the sightlines are obstructed from these seats. There are roughly 20 courtside seats opposite the player benches, but none on the baselines. Press seating separates both the courtside seats and player benches. There are rather vivid advertisements before the press table, adding some color to an arena that otherwise lacks a lot of color.
The restrooms are rather small, but with the size of the venue, fans are unlikely to experience any backups. The stalls actually had foot pedal flush values, something you don't see every day.
The ticket packages at Fullerton are not confined to just basketball. For $300, fans can get an annual pass to all sports. If basketball is your only concern however, season tickets run for $125 for chairback or $275 for courtside. If you can only make it to single games, $25 will get you a courtside ticket, while chairback reserved go for $12 and general admission for $8. Some of the premium games go to $2 more a piece.
All of these are reasonable prices for Division-I college basketball. Most seats are extremely close to the action, so you'll get a relatively good vantage point regardless of your seat. The atmosphere created by the cheer team and student section make it a very worthwhile value.
In the lobby of the gym, you'll find the Titan Hall of Fame (photo above). Plaques commemorating the great athletes that contributed to the Fullerton program are recognized here. Greg Bunch and Leon Wood are the two Men's basketball players that are honored here.
Behind one of the baskets hangs the banner that marks the team's two NCAA Tournament appearances (1978 & 2008). The banner is in the middle of banners for the other Big West Conference teams, a good sign that Fullerton is keeping their eyes on who they need to get through to make it back to the "Dance."
Above the Orange Curtain, fans can spot the retired numbers of former Fullerton basketball numbers. These include Bruce Bowen (25), Cedric Ceballos (31), Greg Bunch (30), Leon Wood (20), Josh Akognon (1), Scott Cutley (2), and Rodney Anderson (4).
The CSUF Titans are known nationwide for their dominant baseball program, who play at Goodwin Field, but their basketball program is also making strides with its recent NCAA tournament appearance.
Be sure to take some time to walk this beautiful campus before setting foot in the gym. Once inside, don't be fooled by the small gymnasium as once the game starts, it has a rather big campus feel.
Follow Drew's journeys through Southern California on twitter @Big10Drew.
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323 N State College Blvd
Fullerton, CA 92831
2736 E Nutwood Ave
Fullerton, CA 92831
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