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  • Paul Hilchen

Gill Coliseum – Oregon State Beavers

Photos by Paul Hilchen, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.43

Gill Coliseum 660 SW 26th St Corvallis, OR 97331

Year Opened: 1949

Capacity: 9,604


The Thrill of Gill

On the campus of Oregon State University sits Gill Coliseum, named after the winningest coach in school history, Slatts Gill. The arena has been the home of Beaver basketball since 1949. It is the third oldest basketball arena in the Pac-12 behind Alaska Airlines Arena at Hec Edmundson Pavilion (University of Washington) and Haas Pavilion (California). In addition to basketball, Gill Coliseum is also the home for Beaver volleyball, gymnastics, and wrestling. The floor at the arena is named after Ralph Miller, the second-winningest coach in school history.

Beaver basketball has a rich history, although its glory days are far from the past. The program accomplished eight Sweet 16, six Elite 8, and two Final Four appearances between 1947 and 1982, highlighting OSU's resume.

Food & Beverage 3

There’s not a whole lot out of the ordinary on the menu here. Gill Coliseum features Pepsi products at $4-$5. You can also find hot dogs ($4-$5), pizza ($4), popcorn ($4), pretzels ($4), and so on. One menu item that is a little out of the ordinary is cookies. Cookies aren’t unusual, but here a cookie slice can be had for $1.50 or a whole cookie pie for $10. If you are looking for more variety, there are other options about a mile or so away.

Atmosphere 4

Beaver athletics are the main attraction in Corvallis, and it shows. With the school’s rich athletic heritage, there are high expectations despite the Beavers lack of success in the past few years. There are banners saluting players and coaches of yesteryear including names like Gary Payton and A.C. Green. A trip to Gill Coliseum leaves no doubt in a fan’s mind that this is a major program working to regain its prominence.

Neighborhood 4

Situated next door to Reser Stadium on the campus of Oregon State, Gill Coliseum is also close to the OSU dorms, which makes it easy for students to attend. The campus is very nice, with a mix of modern and classic buildings, and worth a trip around if you have the time.

Corvallis has a population of around 55,000 people, and there is a small-town feel to the city. One has a very cozy, welcoming feeling when visiting there. If you are coming from out of town, there is a hotel just down the street. Most other lodging options are about a mile or so away.

Big River Restaurant and Bar, Chipotle Mexican Grill, and Nearly Normal’s Gonzo Cuisine (a vegetarian menu with global flavors) are just a few of the choices away from the arena for a bite to eat or a drink.

Fans 4

OSU athletics is the only show in town. It’s like entering a part of the Twilight Zone where everything is orange and black. The Beavers have a rabid fan base. The “Beaver Believers” are an enthusiastic bunch. The student section, called “The Dam,” is as loud as any student section I’ve ever heard.

The only negative here is attendance. Games are fairly well attended, but not what you’d expect. Even games against in-state rival Oregon do not always sell out – very disappointing for a class program like OSU.

Access 3

Corvallis is a locale you have to want to get to. Approximately 20 minutes west of I-5, it’s off the beaten path. When you arrive, campus parking can be a little tricky. Most lots around are permit lots, but you can find a place to park with a bit of a walk. It’s a good idea to avoid parking at businesses that don’t have spots available for a fee. There is a parking garage across the street behind the Beaver Store. The level that supports the store is free but fills quickly.

Inside the arena, the hallways are a little snug, but it’s not too bad. If your seat is on an upper level, be prepared for stairs. Handicapped seats are down on the floor. The section has a good view but is close to the action.

Return on Investment 3

Bench seats are $15 and padded seats are $25. Visually, there is not a bad seat in the house. If you’re looking for comfort, the padded seats are the best value, as they have a decent amount of legroom.

If you’re looking for something to remember your trip to Gill, the souvenir stand has basic items such as hats, t-shirts, and sweatshirts. If you need something more, the Beaver Store is direct across the street from the arena.

Extras 3

During my most recent visit, it was Senior Night. Oregon State head coach Wayne Tinkle, instead of starting seniors (there weren’t any on the roster), started five native Oregonians walk-ons, a nice gesture for the players and something the fans enjoyed.

During halftime, you can expect entertainment like student tractor races, a student shooting baskets for college savings plan up to $2,000, and/or a student scrimmage from The Dam (including blind refs).

Around the outside hallway, each sport has a “Wall of Fame” near that program’s respective office. Wrestling, basketball, and volleyball have many pictures and accomplishments of their standouts. Taking a stroll around the arena hallway takes you on a trip through Beaver athletics history. There are quite a few names that most sports fans will recognize with Jacoby Ellsbury and Darwin Barney being two of many.

Final Thoughts

A game at Gill Coliseum is a very nice locale to spend an evening watching the Oregon State basketball team, or whatever sport is featured when you’re in the area.

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