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  • Writer's pictureDave Cottenie

Fant-Ewing Coliseum – Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks


Photos by Dave Cottenie, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.86

Fant-Ewing Coliseum 4319 Northeast Dr Monroe, LA 71203


Year Opened: 1971

Capacity: 7,085

 

Warhawks Hoops


In Northern Louisiana, east of Shreveport, is the small city of Monroe.  The centerpiece of higher education in Monroe is the University of Louisiana at Monroe.  Part of the University of Louisiana system, ULM was founded in 1931 as Ouachita Parish Junior College.  By 1969, the college had morphed into Northeast Louisiana University and was renamed the University of Louisiana at Monroe in 1999.  With a small school population of under 9,000 students in the small city of Monroe with a population of 47,000, ULM athletics has the opportunity to be the centerpiece of the city’s sporting scene.  Louisiana-Monroe participates in NCAA Division I basketball, as well as other sports, in the Sun Belt Conference.  ULM began fielding a basketball team in 1951.  Previously known as the Indians, ULM adopted the name Warhawks in 2006 as a response to the NCAA pushing the removal of Indigenous nicknames and mascots.  The name Warhawks was chosen as a nod to Major General Claire Lee Chennault, an alum of LSU, who flew Curtis P-40 Warhawks with his World War II Air Force unit.


Home for the Warhawks is Fant-Ewing Coliseum.  Located on campus and owned and operated by ULM, Fant-Ewing Coliseum is named after newspaper publisher Wilson Ewing and basketball head coach from 1957 to 1978, Lenny Fant.  The Coliseum was built in 1971 and has a capacity of 7,085, nearly large enough to house the entirety of the university student population.


Food & Beverage 3

Concessions at Fant-Ewing Coliseum are fairly basic.  Hot dogs, burgers, nachos, sausage, candy, peanuts and popcorn constitute the majority of food options.  Coca-cola products represent the soft drink of choice at the Coliseum and bottled water is also available.  A limited selection of major beer brands are also available, mainly Coors Light and Miller Lite.   Concessions are provided by Aramark.  Fans will not go hungry at the Coliseum, but there are no original or must try items either.


Atmosphere 3

Fant-Ewing Coliseum was built in 1971 and does not stray too far from the architectural designs of the time.  The Coliseum is circular and the exterior is a simple combination of red grey siding.  The main entrance is at the south side of the building, along Northeast Drive, although from the exterior, there is little to differentiate the main entrance from other entrances.


Entering the south entrance fans are welcomed by the ticket office and the ULM Sports Hall of Fame plaques.  The placement of this is unfortunate as fans will be past the ticket takers and unable to have a good look at the entries.  It may be better placed inside the Coliseum concourse.  The concourse has light painted blocks and is circular but does not offer very wide spaces for traveling, however, this is probably not a big issue due to the attendance and presence of an interior walkway in the seating bowl.  There is not much in the concourse and any trophy cases present are empty.  Entry into the seating bowl does feature some murals and team markings to bring the spirit up a bit.


Inside the seating area, the circular nature of the arena continues and is immediate.  The basketball court runs from west to east and the best spot for the center logo picture is from the south.  The seating bowl has red, orange and yellow seats that are split by a single walkway around the arena.  On the north and south sides of the court the seats do not conform to the court shape and are very far from the action.  ULM does place some courtside premium seats, high-top directors chairs, for those interested.  The Warhawks hang a number of banners honouring their basketball accomplishments. The men’s banners are yellow and include conference championships, conference tournament championships and post-season appearances.  The Warhawks have been to the NCAA tournament seven times.  There are also banners honouring former coach Mike Vining and his 402 wins from 1981 to 2005, and Glynn Saulters, who participated in the Olympics and played a season in the ABA.  In the centre of the domed roof hangs a simple basketball scoreclock, without any video capabilities.


The gameday experience at ULM is similar to many college basketball experiences.  The game that was reviewed was during the winter break and there were not many students in attendance.  The ULM band plays from the west end and adds to the fun with their chants and antics. Ace the Warkhawk is the school mascot, however, was not in attendance during the game that was reviewed.  ULM also has a cheerleading team that performs at basketball games, but was not in attendance for the game reviewed.



Neighborhood 3

The University of Louisiana at Monroe is located at the northeast inlet of the city of Monroe, immediately south of a huge greenspace and north of the Bayou DeSiard.  For pre and post game food and drink options, fans will be required to head across the bayou via Warhawk Way.  There are a number of chain options along Sterlington Road and Desiard Street.  Some unique options fans may want to consider include The Cookout, Waterfront Grill and Catahoula’s


For other sports options in Monroe, they also focus on ULM.  The Warhawks play football and baseball mere steps from Fant-Ewing Coliseum.  Other colleges that are close by include Louisiana Tech and Grambling State.  As far as other tourist options, fans should consider the Chennault Aviation and Military Museum.  For fans wishing to stay in the area, the Hampton Inn is not far.


Fans 2

Louisiana-Monroe has not enjoyed the strongest support for basketball.  For the 2022-2023 season the Warhawks averaged 1,800 fans per game.  This ranks 10th in the Sun Belt Conference.  At the time of writing, the Warhawks have attracted an average of 800 fans per game for the 2023-2024 season, dropping them to 14th in the Sun Belt Conference.  The game that was reviewed was during the winter break and there were very few students in attendance.  Hopefully, the Warhawks can draw stronger crowds to improve the experience at ULM basketball.

 

Access 4

Fant-Ewing Coliseum is located on the campus of ULM, just north of the Bayou DeSiard.  Getting to the arena is not difficult.  It is located north of highway 80 and east of highway 165.  Interstate 20 is a few kilometers south.  Once on campus, there is plenty of parking in the area for free.  For fans who wish to take public transit, there are Monroe Transit bus stops on the south side of the Bayou.  Fans should consult the Monroe Transit website for schedules, fares and maps.  Inside Fant-Ewing Coliseum, getting around is not difficult.  Although concourses are narrow, the low attendance won’t make that an issue.  Washroom facilities are adequate for the fans in attendance.



Return on Investment 4

Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks basketball is very affordable.  Reserved tickets are available for $15 each and General Admission tickets are $12.  Parking is free and concession prices are about what one would expect.  The product on the court is Division I basketball and ULM does what it can to put together a good gameday experience.  A higher attendance would add greatly to the vibe and push the return on investment for the Warhawks even higher.


Extras 2

An extra mark for the rivalry Louisiana-Monroe shares with nearby Louisiana Tech in Ruston.


An extra mark for the historical significance of the Warhawk nickname, which was well thought out and fitting.


Final Thoughts

A trip to see the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks is definitely affordable and a good opportunity to take in some Division I college basketball.  Better attendance at Warhawk games would improve the experience for the fan and most likely make Warhawks tickets more highly sought after.


Follow all of Dave’s sporting adventures on YouTube, Twitter, Threads and Instagram @profan9.


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