- DeRon Talley
David R. Stopher Gym – Nicholls Colonels
Photo Credit Spatms
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 1.86
David R. Stopher Gym Nicholls State-Acadia St. Thibodaux, LA 70310
Nicholls State Colonels website
Year Opened: 1970
Nickel’s Worth at Nicholls
When you go to south Louisiana, you have to go all the way down to the bayous to find a city named Thibodaux where the Colonels of Nicholls State University reside. Nicholls is probably the southernmost university in the state and as the campus sits across from Bayou Lafourche you know you’re down with the gators.
If you’re ever down at Nicholls State for a basketball game you should know that the teams play in David R. Stopher Gymnasium, which opened in 1970. The Stopher caps out at 3,800 fans but for a small D-I school, there are some perks about it.
Food & Beverage 2
Concession stand? Let’s just call it a snack bar. In Stopher Gym, there is one snack bar area where you can get hot dogs and nachos for $3 each. However, the beverage prices are set pretty high. PowerAde ($3), bottle of water ($3), and the soda is $3. And the snack bar is located as soon as you walk in the door of the gym. I thought I was arriving at a packed game when I walked in, but it was the snack line mixing with the ticket line.
The atmosphere was very high school like, having the few loyal fans who dress up and then the older crowd who is just spectating. One thing I was really impressed with was the upper section of the seats that were upstairs. They looked to be regular bleacher seats and could be used as such, but there also were mini seatbacks that could fold up and give you some back support. I did expect a more rowdy atmosphere since the Colonels are the only school in this area of the state and it was a conference game, so the atmosphere overall was a disappointment.
Thibodaux is a pretty small college town, which means you won’t find a whole lot to do in the area. If you’re into history though then you’ve struck gold here. There is a sugar plantation that has been running since the late 1800s in the area and the downtown area seems to have a nice taste of history behind it as well. Other than that, you’ll find your ordinary small college town, which includes fast food chains and a shopping strip about a mile away from the campus. However I must add that there are a few restaurants there that you must visit. One is called Politz’s Steak and Seafood; remember you are in the south along the bayous so the seafood is what you want to concentrate on experiencing.
The fans weren’t in abundance for whatever reason – maybe the students go back home on weekends – but the fans that were there made sure you knew they were in the building. There wasn’t much chanting going on and the only noise really was that which came from the band members. I thought for sure all colleges had a fan base and student section; that was until I arrived at the Stopher. When you talk about student support, you can count on one hand those who showed up for the Colonels. The band did the best it could along with the cheerleaders and dance team, but the fan element definitely was missing and the school needs to find a way to get fans in the stands.
Access to the college and gym wasn’t the easiest thing, being that there isn’t a major interstate to take to just get off and make a few turns. You get there through the highways and the way I went I just followed the Bayou Lafourche, that way I couldn’t miss it because the campus is located directly across from it. To make things trickier there aren’t any signs that say arena or sporting complexes once you’re on the campus. Once you get to the back of the campus, Stopher Gym doesn’t stand out at all from the other building of the school, so it’s confusing as to where the gym is.
I wasn’t particularly happy with riding around the campus hoping to stumble upon it because I like to know where I’m going. But once you’re in, the Stopher is easily accessed. As soon as walk in you get tickets, concessions, you look to the right you see bathrooms, you look straight ahead there’s the court – very high school-esque to say the least.
Return on Investment 3
Here’s what I consider to be the only treasure you’ll find for watching the Colonels basketball. With ticket prices ranging from $5 – $12 and free parking, you will not find a much cheaper basketball experience. The concessions aren’t worth the time, but if you hold out on the food there, you’ll notice on the back of your ticket a free McDonalds Big Mac coupon. And yes, it works in the surrounding McDonalds in Thibodaux – I know from experience. If you’re looking for the best of college basketball this definitely isn’t the place, but if you’re looking for a cheap game to attend and a free Big Mac, here’s where you need to be.
The only treasure is the ticket to get in because you get a free Big Mac after the game – win, lose, or draw.
Other than that, the Nicholls experience didn’t quite give me my nickel’s worth. Luckily I’m a Big Mac fan though.