It is a fair statement to say that West Virginia is primarily known as a football school. Having bounced around over the years through a few different conferences, the Mountaineers have settled in the Big 12 Conference and are continuing their winning ways. However, it would be unfair to not give West Virginia Mountaineer basketball its due. The Mountaineers have been playing on the hardwood since 1903 and have two NIT Championships to their name. Their 1942 NIT Championship was at a time where the NIT was a far more prestigious tournament than the NCAA tournament. Not having a pedigree like a Duke, North Carolina or Syracuse, West Virginia eases into that second tier in the NCAA teams; not perennial contenders for a national championship, but always competitive within their conference and consistently making appearances in the NCAA tournament. Under former player, native son, and current head coach, Bob Huggins, the Mountaineers are playing their best basketball in years.
The Mountaineers can be remembered for three iconic items associated with their program. West Virginia counts “the logo,” Jerry West, as their most accomplished basketball alum. The John Denver song “Take Me Home, Country Roads” is a team anthem, much like it is for football. Finally, the WVU Coliseum itself has an iconic look to it. Opening in 1970 with a capacity of 14,000, the Coliseum has a look that is not seen in sports venues anymore. The roof itself is iconic, and featured in some of the ads for the Mountaineers. Although West Virginia may be a football first school, the country roads that lead to the Coliseum, will lead to a basketball experience that is comparable to just about any other in the country.
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Concessions at the Coliseum are about what you would expect. They won't blow you away, but they are adequate.
Concessions at the Coliseum are run by Sodexo. All of the items that you would expect are available. Pizza ($8), hot dogs ($4), nachos, pretzels, popcorn ($4.50) are all available at most stands. Bottomless popcorn tubs are available for $10. Some other items that may be of interest include pepperoni rolls, Dippin' Dots, Italian subs, chicken and turkey wraps, or ultimate nachos. There are a few gourmet hot dogs and foot longs that are also available.
Coca-Cola products are available at all stands. Fountain beverages are $4.50 and the souvenir cup is $5.50. There are no alcoholic beverages available at the Coliseum.
If you are looking for something uniquely West Virginia, then you may want to try a West Virginia Dog. This gourmet hot dog features chili, slaw, onions, and brown mustard. Otherwise, you may want to try a Mac & Cheese Dog.
The West Virginia University Coliseum provides an excellent atmosphere for college basketball.
Outside the venue, patrons will immediately be drawn to the structure of the building, which is becoming more and more unique throughout the country as time passes. The Coliseum is circular and the roof itself is becoming iconic. As with most buildings built during the seventies and eighties, there is a ton of visible concrete, but the Coliseum continues to withstand the test of time.
While taking a trip around the outside of the Coliseum, fans will be drawn to take a picture or selfie with the bronze statue of Jerry West. Also, mere steps from the Coliseum itself is a rather steep drop, which leads to the much lower Core Arboretum. The views from the top of the hill where the Coliseum is built are pretty great, including the view of the Monongahela River.
Inside the Coliseum a trip around the outer concourse will reveal a nice display of artifacts from Jerry West. By moving towards the seating bowl, and the inner concourse, fans have the opportunity to peruse the West Virginia University Athletics Hall of Fame plaques.
Visible from the inner concourse, which essentially separates the upper and lower concourses, is the video board, which is more than adequate and features some of the West Virginia icons, including the roof, on the corner panels. Surrounding the video board are a ring of banners honoring men's and women's basketball achievements, including the 1959 NCAA Final Four runner up, 2010 Big East Championship, and 2014 Big 12 Championship. Above section 44 is a large sign honoring Jerry West, who wore 44. Also, above section 4 is a large sign honoring the number 33 of Hot Rod Hundley.
In getting ready for the game, the Mountaineers do a great job also. The video montage at the beginning of the game is as good as anywhere else. The typical promotions are also found throughout the game, including "T's for Threes" t-shirt toss.
The West Virginia band is fantastic and adds to the atmosphere. They are located at floor level, right beside the student section. The cheerleaders and dance team are visible throughout the game and they interact with the Mountaineer mascot often. The mascot fires his musket at the beginning and end of the game to provide some West Virginia flare to the game.
The seating bowl can be a little confusing to those who are new. The inner concourse separates the upper and lower levels, however the numbering is not what you would typically expect. Lower sections are are odd numbered and upper sections are even numbered. The court is situated in a northeast-southwest fashion. The west corner is where the band sits and the student section is on the floor on the northwest sideline, which is the best way to see the logo from the proper direction. Probably the best seats would be the first couple of rows in the upper sections. The ends are closer to the court than the sidelines due to the circular nature of the arena.
For all intents and purposes, Morgantown is a college town, with a college town atmosphere.
Morgantown is very hilly and at times a challenge. What may look close on a map, may in reality not be all that close. There are a few options for pre and post game fare. Patterson Drive will present you with numerous fast food options that are very close. If you are looking for something a little different, try the Boston Beanery. If you are willing to drive a bit, then head up Monongahela Blvd to the Texas Roadhouse.
Not being a large metropolitan city, Morgantown offers a couple of other options for entertainment. Of course West Virginia University offers a host of other athletic teams at various facilities, the most famous of which is the Mountaineer football team that plays at Milan Puskar Stadium. For something off the beaten path of your usual metro city, you may consider doing some exploring in the nearby West Virginia University Core Arboretum.
There are a few places that you can stay if you are remaining in Morgantown overnight. A good choice would be the nearby Best Western Mountaineer Inn.
West Virginia has a solid fan base for basketball that is well-versed in the game and adds to the atmosphere.
For the 2013-2014 basketball season, the Mountaineers averaged 8,500 fans per game. Contrast this with the average of almost 10,200 fans in 2014-2015 and West Virginia accounted for one of the greatest improvements in the entire NCAA. Their attendance mark for 2014-2015 was 39th in the country and 6th in the Big 12 Conference. Although it may seem that they are on the low side as compared to some of their conference-mates, keep in mind that there are some serious basketball heavyweights in the Big 12, most notably Kansas. There remains some room for improvement for West Virginia still and it will be interesting to see if they can move into that upper echelon in their conference.
The fans that are in attendance are fairly loud and supportive, especially for a conference game. The student section at floor level has some chants and are pretty energetic, but are by no means among the rowdiest in the land. They actually add to the experience without overwhelming it. West Virginia also has other sections in the upper bowl reserved for students as well. The students turn their backs when the opposition is introduced, bounce up and down and make noise during the play, and count off the steps for a player who fouls out. The remainder of the fans seem to be experts at being unhappy with the referee calls during the game.
Access at the West Virginia Coliseum is hit and miss depending on the category.
The Coliseum is located on Monongahela Blvd just east of the river. On the opposite side of the river is I-79. You will have a bit of a drive through the city to get to the Coliseum, which is at the west end of campus. It is a good idea to give yourself plenty of time to get there as traffic in these situations can be a bit challenging.
There are a couple of versions of public transit that get to the Coliseum. The Mountain Line Transit number 4 bus goes through campus and right up to the Coliseum. Check the Mountain Line Transit Authority website for maps and schedules. You may also consider the WVU Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) which originates downtown Morgantown. Check the PRT website for more information.
There is a fair bit of parking around the Coliseum which can go for $10 to $20. As with most college and pro arenas with significant space around it, much of the parking is pre-paid or for season ticket holders or donors. The university and the city do a great job of emptying the parking lots in a quick and efficient manner.
There are four gates at the Coliseum that are equally smallish where the ticket windows are. Entries are tight, and picking up tickets or purchasing at the gate can be a challenge. Having tickets in hand is definitely a good idea.
Simply put, the biggest drawback to a West Virginia basketball game is getting around the Coliseum. The worst part of the design of the Coliseum is the narrow concourses that surround the building. The outer shell concourse is extremely narrow and getting around can be a chore even when there is a ton of time until tip off. Add to that the obligatory concession lineups, washroom lineups and people stopping to take pictures with the mascot and you have a recipe for frustration.
A little hint is to duck inside and use the walkway that splits the upper and lower bowl for a slightly less congested path. However, be wary of the patron stopped to check out a plaque in the WVU Athletic Hall of Fame on the walkway.
The washroom facilities in the Coliseum are totally inadequate. Lines form quickly and that problem is not just reserved for halftime. Facilities are small and cramped. your best bet is to go easy on the liquids and try to avoid them as much as possible.
There is absolutely great value in a West Virginia basketball game. Tickets for a Mountaineers game usually go for $22, $27, or $32. All of the seats offer a great view. For that kind of price, to see top tier college basketball, it is a great value. The concession and parking prices are decent also. Overall, a trip to the Mountaineers is a great idea that won't kill your pocketbook.
An extra mark for West Virginia "rolling out the carpet" to their current players and alumni. A big part of the introductions is the literal rolling out of a blue and yellow West Virginia carpet for the players to travel on.
An extra mark for the Mountaineer. The West Virginia mascot is not a student dressed up in a giant foam suit. He is a student with a significant beard, dressed in mountaineer gear, carrying a musket. One of the most unique mascots there is.
An extra mark for the beautiful campus at West Virginia.
Stepping onto the West Virginia campus it is hard not to have a little John Denver playing in the back of your head. Take Me Home, Country Roads will probably be the tune that you are humming as you walk out after a Mountaineer victory. It will become obvious, very quickly, that West Virginia is not just another football school. They have a pretty decent basketball experience too.
The WVU Coliseum was built in 1970 and was last updated in 2004. The WVU Coliseum seats around 14,000 including 100 extremely tight seats on media row. The WVU Coliseum is mainly a concrete structure that stands out as being unique against the rest of the WVU architecture. The building is starting to show its age in some areas, but seems to be well maintained and should last for years to come.
The WVU Coliseum, built in 1970, is hands down the best arena in the state of West Virginia. It has been the home of the Mountaineers since 1970. At 10.4 million in 1970, WVU has gotten there value.
Food & Beverage
Although nothing special is offered, lines are generally short and the food is of decent quality. Nothing to write home about, but enough to get a three star review.
The Coliseum has an amazing atmosphere. The Pride of West Virginia (the WVU Marching Band) certainly excites the crowds playing Hail West Virginia (WVU fight song) and Take Me Home Country Roads and are very good. The new LED scoreboard which is NBA quality is much better than the previous system. Also new in 2008 was an audio system and lights which were both good for any arena. The fans certainly make it more interesting as they can excite anyone.
The WVU Coliseum is located in the perfect college town atmosphere. Located on the WVU campus the Coliseum isn't surrounded by many fine eateries.
If you say WVU fans don't love their school, you're crazy. The state of West Virginia doesn't have a single major professional sports team so they love their Mountaineers. The fans are always cheering and don't complain about the proper call even if it is against WVU. The Mountaineer Maniacs (WVU Student Section) have been criticized for being too into the game after throwing objects on to the court.
The access to the Coliseum isn't anything special. People park on the side of streets or in the parking lots. If you are not a season ticket holder I would advise against the lots considering it is $20. An interesting way to get to the game is the PRT (Personal Rapid Transit) which to many not familiar with it seems futuristic even though it is from the 1970s.
Return On Investment
As long as you like college basketball you will be walking out the Coliseum smiling. WVU is a major Division 1 school and is in one the best basketball conferences, the Big East.
The friendliness of the staff was definitely a big plus. Also the plaques of WVU legends such as Jerry West and Hot Rod Hundley were a nice feature. Finally the facility is kept very clean. I would go as far to say the floors sparkled.
The WVU Coliseum opened in 1970 and was last updated in 2004. The WVU Coliseum seats around 14,000. The stadium is a round concrete structure that looks like a giant spaceship that landed in the middle of a parking lot. The building is aging, but is still well maintained.
735-A Chestnut Ridge Rd
Morgantown, WV 26505
132 Pleasant St
Morgantown, WV 26505
383 Patterson Dr
Morgantown, WV 26505
1400 Saratoga Ave
Morgantown, WV 26505
366 Boyers Ave
Morgantown, WV 26505