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Official Review by Aaron S. Terry, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Minges Coliseum is located in Greenville, North Carolina, and has served as the home court for East Carolina men's and women's basketball and volleyball since 1967. The arena has a capacity of 8,000, and is connected to the Murphy Center by an indoor walkway; the Murphy Center houses the strength and conditioning facilities for ECU athletics programs, including a 6,000-square foot weight room, and also contains banquet rooms, sport memorabilia, and an academic enhancement center. Minges Coliseum is also right next door to ECU's football stadium; a statue of the ECU pirate overlooks both.
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".
Minges Coliseum has a limited selection at its concessions stands, which on the lower level are located near Gates 1, 2, and 3; Gate 4 is the only entrance without concessions, as few people enter that way. However, there are also concessions stands on the upper level, and all stands offer the same items.
Food selections include nachos, Papa John's pizza, and Bright Leaf Red Classic hot dogs, as well as Deep River chips, popcorn, and packaged candy, at prices ranging from $1 for chips to $5 for the large popcorn. Drink choices include Coke products from the fountain, Powerade, bottled water, and hot cocoa (in season); prices start at $3.50 for hot cocoa and go up to $6 for the large water.
The Bright Leaf Red Classic hot dogs are the tastiest option by far; these are sold at other sports venues in the area as well, and you should definitely grab one whenever you have the chance.
Minges Coliseum has some great architectural features, with a stepped design and large panes of glass that give fans some nice views of the surrounding area. The concourse is very spacious, with plenty of room to move around, and there are a couple of small lobby areas inside which fans can use to make a quick phone call, or get away from the noise for a minute. In addition, the seating area feels very open, with high ceilings and great acoustics.
The seating area has several different types of seats, including hard plastic chair backs in the upper section, padded chair backs about halfway up, and bleacher style seating (without chair backs) at floor level. The pirate mascot is awesome, complete with earring and eye patch, and the cheer squad does a great job trying to keep the fans engaged. There is also lots of school décor spread around, including lots of East Carolina purple, and of course the ubiquitous championship banners hanging from the ceiling above the court. The only downsides are the arena doesn't get very full, and the band is a lot smaller than you will see at other venues.
There are plenty of restaurants in Greenville, and of a couple of shopping malls, but not much else to keep you occupied if you are going to be in town for the weekend.
On the north side of Minges Coliseum, closer to campus, you will find some of the typical eateries that cater to college students, for example Sup Dogs and Wings over Greenville, that offer basic fare and cheap beer. Or, you can travel about a mile south to Greenville Mall, where you will find many of the chain-type, more upscale restaurants that you might be more familiar with, such as Mellow Mushroom, Carolina Ale House, Longhorn Steakhouse, and Buffalo Wild Wings. Depending on which type of scene you dig, either area would be a good place to hang out before or after the game at Minges Coliseum.
If you are traveling in from outside of North Carolina, Mellow Mushroom and Carolina Ale House are both local chains, and would be a great way to experience some local flavors.
Though Minges Coliseum is a nice facility, it unfortunately does not often fill up. The official attendance is around 4,500 per game, but in actuality it will be a lot emptier, and there usually won't be a ton of energy (except maybe during rivalry games). Even the student section is very small, and does not generate a lot of noise during the game.
See the layout at Minges Coliseum here:
Getting to and around Minges Coliseum for an East Carolina basketball game is actually fairly easy; there is not a lot of traffic in the area, since the arena is halfway between campus and the mall, and since the crowd size is small there really aren't any lines.
Free parking is available in the lot right next to the venue, only a short walk from Minges Coliseum, and there are plenty of bathrooms inside. The only oddity is that because of the stepped design, it feels like there are a lot of corners, so the stairs to the upper level seem a bit out of the way and hard to find.
Tickets to ECU basketball games at Minges Coliseum are $15 for adults and $10 for youth, which seems a bit on the steep side for the experience offered. However, parking is free and concessions are cheap, so may not be bad if you only have one or two people.
If you want to attend a game at East Carolina, you may want to check out their football stadium instead. Or, if you are really into college basketball, nearby NC State would be a good bet; Duke and UNC are of course much more well-known, but basketball tickets for either of those are almost impossible to come by.
The pirate mascot is awesome, and the statue outside of Minges Coliseum is a great one to snap a picture of. Also, Bright Leaf Red Classic hot dogs should never be turned down.
As you probably know, North Carolina is home to a couple of basketball powerhouses, which is a tough act for ECU to follow, so it may not surprise you that Minges Coliseum doesn't usually draw large crowds. Nevertheless, it is a very nice facility, so feel free to stop by if you are in the area.
Member Review by cucch22 on Mar 07, 2013
While it may not be the most aesthetically pleasing arena in college basketball, Minges Coliseum at East Carolina University provides the best college hoops experience in the state east of Raleigh. Constructed in 1967, Minges Coliseum provides the viewer with a typical, small market basketball experience. Known as primary a football town, Greenville offers one of the most illustrious and dedicated college fan bases in North Carolina.
In 2004, Greenville was honored as Sports Illustrated’s Sportstown for North Carolina, an honor well deserved considering Greenville houses no professional sports teams.
The Pirates of East Carolina love their football, but it’s their basketball program that noticeably drops off in attendance. Thankfully, I attended what’s surely ECU’s most significant game of the season against Memphis on Jan. 30, 2013. Minges Coliseum utilized 6,246 of its 8,000 capacity, filling the student section to the brim and almost all the seats in the rafters.
The atmosphere was initially quaint, but came to life once the game was underway. Prior to the game, parking was a mess with cars being funneled into a relatively small parking area full of construction. ECU is in the process of erecting a 48,000-square-foot basketball practice facility to try to enhance the program. The construction is part of a comprehensive Athletics Master Plan developed by the university a few years back. The practice facilities will be the final element in the multimillion dollar plan.
Once the parking situation was resolved, purchasing tickets was the next adventure. Usually, Pirate fans have little problem acquiring tickets for basketball games, but the game against Memphis proved to be a very different story. ECU’s ticket office is small, only consisting of three windows. A half hour before tipoff, the line stretched 50 to 60 yards towards the parking lot as customers were forced to wait in light rain and high winds. Tickets were reasonably priced and ranged everywhere from $5 for children to $40 for courtside.
Once the tickets were purchased, fans were funneled into a makeshift entrance, due to the construction, and entered the main vestibule. There, fans were instantly greeted with various promotions, a merchandise booth and a vending area. The aesthetics are pedestrian. Gray bricks and narrow hallways with the occasional pirate graphic make up the outer shell of the court.
For 6,000 people they had just two vending areas opened, both of which covered the essentials. Beverages ran from $3 to $4, pizza was $4, a hot dog was $3.50 and popcorn and candy were $3. My personal favorite, the soft pretzel, was $4 and quite good.
I had the privilege of sitting in the student section for ECU’s biggest and most attended game of the season, but in retrospect, there really wasn’t a bad seat in the house. The shape of the arena gave every fan that purchased a ticket a full, unobstructed view of the court. The nicest part of the interior of the facility was the actual court. ECU integrated a new athletics logo to their football field and basketball arena in 2011, consisting of the state of North Carolina shrouded in a swashbuckling skeleton. ECU’s new logo resembles the familiar logo of the University of North Carolina’s court.
Then there was the game. ECU’s small but sold out student section was consistent in maintaining a lively energy through all forty minutes. In fact, they may have been too lively. There were a collection of verbal altercations between the student section and the poorly placed visitors section. The visiting Memphis fans, who were place directly next to the heart of ECU’s student section, were displeased with some of the chants and taunting coming from ECU’s student section.
Overall, the game was exciting and a high energy environment. The fans were extremely engaged as the Pirates consistently interacted with the student section throughout the game.
Exiting the coliseum was easier and more organized than the entry. Fans were funneled by security guards through two exits to cut down on congestion. Parking officials and police opened up the adjacent road to the parking lot, making it easier for fans to quickly and efficiently exit the parking lot.
After the game, I decided to check out Greenville’s nightlife and Uptown area. The most well-known Uptown bar, Sup Dogs, was small, but crafted to be a college-friendly environment. Decked out with Pirate assemblages, Sup Dogs delivered with multiple TVs, a dedicated and fast-paced staff known as the “Sup Pups,” a large outdoor deck and great bar food. The buffalo burger was sloppy but a delicious and filling meal that came standard with fries and Sup Dogs’ signature sauce. The beer selection was decent, consisting of an assortment of bottles with Bud Light, Lion’s Head and Shock Top on tap. The bar itself was a little dirty, but overall Sup Dogs was an excellent venue, top-to-bottom.
The next eatery I ate at was Pirate’s Den, located just down the block from Sup Dogs. Pirates Den provided a calmer, cleaner and less energetic environment than Sup Dogs. The bar had a similar beer selection as Sup Dogs with more draft choices. The food, on the other hand, was not up to par. A few of my companions and I ordered an assortment of appetizers, containing potato skins, boneless wings, nachos and jalapeño poppers. The boneless wings were mushy, the potatoes skins were undercooked and the nachos were congealed and hardly edible. I wouldn’t recommend Pirate’s Den. Fans would have better luck eating at Sup Dogs or the newly opened Peasants Pub, locating directly across from Pirate’s Den.
My experience at Minges Coliseum and Greenville showed me that you don’t need a professional sports team to be considered “Sportstown USA.” I would recommend viewing a basketball game at Minges to an older demographic of fans, as the environment was anything but family friendly. For those fans who would like to continue their night after the game, Greenville has a wide range of bars for college students, as well as older fans.
Member Review by ianmccor on Apr 19, 2014
Where mid-major arenas succeed, Minges fails. Where power conference arenas falter, Minges delivers. Where power conference arenas succeed, Minges fails. Where mid-major arenas falter, Minges delivers. Take that for what it is.
2020 Charles Blvd
Greenville, NC 27858
704 Greenville Blvd SE
Greenville, NC 27858
520 Greenville Blvd SE
Greenville, NC 27858
426 E Arlington Blvd B
Greenville, NC 27858
1400 Charles Blvd
Greenville, NC 27858
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