Photos by Michael Davis, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.29
Gallagher-Iba Arena 1046 W Hall of Fame Ave Stillwater, OK 74078
Year Opened: 1938 Capacity: 13,611
Oklahoma State’s Legendary Gallagher-Iba Arena
Historic Gallagher-Iba Arena is home to the Oklahoma State University men’s and women’s basketball and wrestling teams. The arena opened on December 9, 1938 and was originally named Gallagher Hall in honor of legendary wrestling coach Ed Gallagher; Coach Gallagher won 11 National Championships for Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State University).
In 1987 Oklahoma State University added Coach Henry Iba’s name to the arena. Coach Iba, a Hall of Fame basketball coach, coached the Oklahoma A&M/Oklahoma State basketball teams for 36 years, as well as the US Olympic basketball teams in 1964, 1968, and 1972. Coach Iba’s Olympic teams won gold medals in 1964 and 1968, and a silver medal in a 1972 controversial loss to the Soviet Union in Munich.
In 2005, the historic white maple floor was renamed Eddie Sutton Court in honor of Coach Sutton, as he passed his former mentor, Coach Iba, in career wins at Oklahoma State; Coach Sutton played under Coach Iba from 1955-1958.
A $55 million construction project in 2000 brought the arena seating capacity to its current 13,611, when a new athletic center was essentially built around the old arena. The facility now includes 14 suites, an academic counseling center, auxiliary gymnasium, practice court, and most of the Oklahoma State Athletic Department offices. Recently OSU set a new Gallagher-Iba attendance record, with 14,059 fans at a wrestling duel against Penn State on February 12, 2017.
Food & Beverage 3
Gallagher-Iba Arena’s concessions stands provide basic sports stadium fare, and the stands offer either basic selections such as nachos, brats, hot dogs, Frito pie, peanuts, and pretzels, or food from outside vendors. The nachos and brats have the highest cost at $4.50 and $5 respectively, while the hot dogs, Frito pie, pretzels, and peanuts are $4 each.
Besides the basic concessions choices, there is also Pizza Hut Pizza, Freddy’s Steakburger, D’s BBQ, The Curty Shack (Stillwater’s local hot dog establishment), and Coney Island. Pizza Hut offers two different types of pizza (the choices are pepperoni or cheese at the same price of $11), while Freddy’s offers Steakburgers ranging from $8.50 to $10.50. The best item to get at Freddy’s is their dirt & worms custard sundae at a cost of $7.50.
The beverage choices here consist of Coca-Cola products and water. The available Coke products are Coke, Diet Coke, Dr Pepper, Diet Dr Pepper, and Sprite, and the cost for these depends on the size (there is either a $5 souvenir cup or a smaller size drink for $4). Besides soda there is also H2OSU bottled water, which will cost $4 but is an interesting souvenir, as the OSU logo is stamped on the bottle.
Gallagher-Iba Arena does sell alcoholic beverages in the form of beer – there is a decent list ranging from the basic Budweiser products ($8 for 12oz) to craft beer such as local Stilly Wheat to Houston’s Texas Karbach selections of Love Street Kolsch and Hopadillo ($10 for 19.2oz).
The best snack at Gallagher-Iba Arena seems to be the popcorn; a large costs $4.50 while a small costs $3.50. The popcorn can satisfy any food craving while inside the arena, which will save you some room for the recommended postgame stops at The Hideaway and Eskimo Joe’s.
All Oklahoma State athletics events bring Cowboys fans to the great college town of Stillwater. Before games at Gallagher-Iba Arena, you’ll find some Pokes fans in local eateries such as Eskimo Joe’s, while others will try to create a football game-type tailgating atmosphere in the parking lots outside the venue. Either way, Stillwater comes alive for an OSU event, and there is something special about visiting Gallagher-Iba Arena; it doesn’t matter if it’s for basketball or wrestling.
Gallagher-Iba Arena provides a wonderful homecourt advantage for the Oklahoma State Cowboys basketball team, and a great college basketball atmosphere. Just like for other college sports, the student body is a big part of the experience. The student section near the court is a must see in college basketball, and the Oklahoma State students continue to show why, as they are loud, energetic, and are the heartbeat of the atmosphere inside Gallagher-Iba Arena.
The Oklahoma State band plays throughout the game, as most college bands do, but when the band finishes playing the song “Oklahoma!,” the Oklahoma State faithful yell “State” in unison at the end of the song, just so there is no mistake in identity. In addition, the OSU spirit squad, along with mascot Pistol Pete, keep the rest of the fan base entertained, but the orange faithful are usually already invested in the game. The arena seating basically sits above the court and contributes to the arena being a rowdy and loud place – in fact, Gallagher-Iba Arena has been called the rowdiest arena in the country.
See the videos below to watch the fans sing “Oklahoma!” and OSU’s Alma Mater:
Gallagher-Iba Arena is in Stillwater, Oklahoma on the Oklahoma State University campus, and sits next to Boone Pickens Stadium. Stillwater has a population close to 47,000 and is about an hour’s drive from either of the state’s two largest cities, Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Being a college town, Stillwater has interesting bars and restaurants.
The main artery for the campus’ nightlife is the strip on Washington Street; here you will find Willie’s Saloon, the venue where Garth Brooks began his career. Just a few blocks east of the strip is Hideaway Pizza, a Stillwater original and an Oklahoma tradition since 1957. However, while there are 116 restaurants in the Stillwater area, none of them are more famous than Eskimo Joe’s; no trip to Stillwater is complete without stopping here. Eskimo Joe’s is just one block from Gallagher-Iba Arena, and serves burgers and other great entrées, but it is the amazing cheese fries that are a must when ordering food. There are a variety to choose from, but I would suggest the bacon cheese fries.
In addition to the restaurants there is plenty of lodging along 60th Street North (Route 51) or in downtown Stillwater. If you want to have a special lodging experience, the Atherton Hotel is a great choice that you won’t regret. Although the price can be overly high, if you can get in on an off weekend it is a great hotel. The Oklahoma State campus and the city of Stillwater are also great tourist attractions; Stillwater is home to the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, and Oklahoma State has earned 34 national championships in college wrestling. In fact, OSU recently became the second school in NCAA history to record one thousand dual victories, joining Iowa State University.
Oklahoma may be considered by some to be a football state, however, at Oklahoma State, Pokes fans prove that basketball is alive and well in the state of Oklahoma. OSU basketball fans are loud, loyal, energetic, and most of all, show their love for the game.
Fans wear shades of orange from the student section all the way to the upper level seats. The intimidating environment created by Cowboys fans turns historic Gallagher-Iba Arena into a loud, deafening place for an opposing team. See the videos below to watch the pre-game action as the Oklahoma State Cowboys come onto the court:
Parking lots open 1 1/2 hours prior to the start of men’s basketball games, but parking around the arena can be tricky for first-time visitors, as the lots around Gallagher-Iba Arena are reserved for staff or Oklahoma State donors. There is free parking available on campus, but it entails a short walk, or you may be able to find free parking near the arena if you arrive a few hours before the game; this would be a good decision as you can park and visit Stillwater.
If you can’t find free parking there is paid parking available for $10. The best way to minimize parking costs is to plan ahead by visiting this link, and/or arriving early, as there is plenty to do while in Stillwater.
On game or match days, the OSU Athletic Ticket Office has locations at both the north and south ends of Gallagher-Iba Arena, which open two hours prior to the start of the event, and the doors open one hour prior to the start of the event. The arena allows bags as long as the dimensions are smaller than 12” x 12” x 12” and all bags are subject to search. All visitors to Gallagher-Iba Arena require a ticket, and fans needing ADA accessible seating should contact the Ticket Office at 877-255-4678. All ADA accessible seating is reserved and is located on the concourse.
There are two entrances into the arena, and the concourse is wide with good signage, which makes walking around the arena and finding your seat a simple task. Escalators are in the middle of the east plaza, and there are elevators located in the northwest and southwest lobbies. Overall, access at Gallagher-Iba Arena is relatively quick and easy for fans attending an event.
Return on Investment 5
The lowest priced tickets are usually found for non-conference games, typically during the months of November and December. In addition, the OSU ticket office sometimes offers 2 for 1 special on tickets to games during the week, or other discounts when the students are out of school on break.
When the Big 12 Conference arrives in January the prices get a little higher but are fairly similar to other teams around the Big 12 – conference games run between $20 and $125 for weekend games, while weekday games are $15 to $150. However, the fact that Oklahoma State plays in a historic venue in one of the nation’s best college towns elevates the return on investment, and makes the trip well worthwhile for any sports fan.
When attending an event at Gallagher-Iba Arena, be sure to visit “The Ten” Memorial, which is titled “We Will Remember” and is in the southwest lobby. The memorial serves as a remembrance of the 10 men killed in a plane crash on January 27, 2001 near Strasburg, Colorado. The memorial includes a statue of a cowboy kneeling to remember the loss of his friends, as well as a black granite wall with the likeness of each victim, along with an inscription chosen by a family member.
Right next to the memorial is the entrance to Heritage Hall; the Heritage Hall Sports Museum presents the history and showcases artifacts from over 100 years of Oklahoma State athletics. In addition, Gallagher-Iba Arena itself is a piece of history, especially the Eddie Sutton Court white maple floor. The floor design has changed over the years, but the same white maple floor has been used since the venue opened in 1938; the Oklahoma State facilities website allows you to see the various court designs that the maple floor has supported over the years.
The arena continues to keep up with the times without losing its magical history, as luxury suites were recently infused into the arena. The 14 luxury suites spread across the west side of the facility overlook both the basketball court and the football field, allowing fans to view basketball, wrestling, or football from the same skybox seats.
Gallagher-Iba Arena is one of the best basketball facilities in the nation. Every sports fan should make a visit to Stillwater, and visit the arena once known as “The Madison Square Garden of the Plains.”
Oklahoma State University does a great job with the venue, as Gallagher-Iba Arena continues to make history, while staying connected to its past. The lower level signage says it all: “Welcome to Historic Gallagher-Iba Arena, Dedicated 1938.”