Hanner Fieldhouse – Georgia Southern Eagles
Photos by Lloyd Brown, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.57
Hanner Fieldhouse 590 Herty Drive Statesboro, GA 30458
Year Opened: 1969
The Eagles’ Nest
Georgia Southern is the largest institution within the Georgia University System in South Georgia. It was founded in 1906 and is in the small town of Statesboro, Georgia. GSU has a student body of more than 20,000 students and it offers over 100 major areas of study.
Basketball has a long history at the school, as it has fielded a team since 1926. The Eagles originally played at the Division II level of sports, moving up to Division I later on.
The home nest for the Eagles is the on-campus Hanner Fieldhouse. It opened in 1969 and holds 4,325 in its basketball configuration. The fieldhouse is part of the larger Hanner complex, which includes the HPE department, coaches offices, training facilities, a smaller gymnasium and a competitive swimming facility.
Food & Beverage 4
There are three concession stands servicing the fans at Hanner Fieldhouse.
The concessions program at Hanner Fieldhouse offers a good variety of foods at very reasonable prices. Entrees include such stadium standards as hot dogs ($4), pizza ($6), nachos ($4), peanuts ($4), kettle corn ($5) and cotton candy ($3). Additional items include popcorn ($6), candy ($2) and chips for $3.
Beverages consist of Coca-Cola brand products at $4, with bottled water available at $4. Alcohol is not available for sale on campus.
The decision to move to Division I status resulted in a massive upgrading of Hanner Fieldhouse prior to the 2014 season. These upgrades included an improved main entrance to the facility with an attractive graphics package. New scoreboards were added at each end of the court as a part the 2014 renovations. The low ceiling in the Hanner Fieldhouse does not allow room for a center-hung scoreboard. These additions have greatly added to the fan experience, as they added a level of premium seating in seat backs that are closer to the court. The renovations also resulted in more concession areas and restroom facilities, resulting in greatly reduced lines.
Statesboro is a city of 30,000 people located 80 miles northwest of Savannah, Georgia. It offers the typical small town Southern charm with local shops, restaurants that are still going strong after more than 80 years and some great local attractions to check out. On the food front, a stop at Vandy’s Bar-B-Q is a must. It has been in business since 1929 and has one of the last open air BBQ pits in the country. A food related attraction is just a few miles away in Vidalia, Georgia. The Vidalia Onion Museum salutes the Vidalia Sweet Onion, an especially sweet onion that can only be grown in the soil in this area. You can end your day with a drink at the Eagle Creek Brewing Company, before heading for bed at the Hampton Inn near the GSU campus.
While Hanner Fieldhouse may not have some of latest in technology found in more modern arenas, the Eagle fans more than make up for it with good old enthusiasm. The pregame introduction of the Eagles is lights out… with illumination provided by recyclable blue light thunder sticks and the white light provided by cell phones. This activity even has a name … The Hanner Sway.
Once the game begins, the fans do not sit until the home team scores its first basket. The noise level in Hanner Fieldhouse is constant and deafening, in part due to the design of the facility. The stands overlook the floor, projecting the sound out over the playing court. The low ceiling and seating enclosing the court also serve to trap the noise in.
Adding to the energy level are the sounds of the Hoop Troop and the antics of GUS, the Eagle mascot. They work in close coordination with the GSU Cheer Squad in traditional cheers such as alternating the sides of the stands in Blue!… White ! as well as GSU-specific cheers such as Whose House ?… Our House!
Georgia Southern is not the easiest campus to access as it is more than 15 miles from the closest interstate, I-16. The closest airport to the campus is in Savannah, more than 80 miles away.
For those coming south on I-16 (Atlanta or Macon): Take I-16 exit #116. Turn left on Highway 301 and go 11 miles to Tillman. Turn right on Tillman and then turn right on Fair Road. Free parking is available in the lots adjoining the Hanner complex.
For those traveling north on I-16 from the coast (Savannah): Take I-16 to the Statesboro/Highway 16 exit (#127). Turn right onto Highway 16, then turn right on Highway 67 and go 12 miles. Turn left at the second entrance into the GSU campus, which is just past the Herty Drive red light. Free parking is available in the lots adjoining the Hanner complex
Once at the game, access is excellent, as the concourses flow well and there are enough restrooms and concession areas to prevent any backlogs.
Return on Investment 4
Ticket prices are tiered according to location in the venue. Lower Reserved seating offers seat backs and cost $25, Upper Reserved has bench seating and costs $20. General Admission seating is bench style and is located at the ends of the court and costs $15.
Parking at the Hanner Fieldhouse is free of charge. Concessions are very well priced and of excellent quality. There are limited hotels in the Statesboro area. They typically charge rates around $100/night.
Both Georgia Southern University and Georgia State University in Atlanta are members of the Sun Belt Conference. Each year they meet in the “GSU Game” which carries the bragging rights of being “The GSU” in the state for whoever wins the game.
Hanner Fieldhouse is a throwback to the bandbox gymnasiums of the past. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as it eliminates some of the artificial hoopla and overproduction found in modern arenas. Georgia Southern University believes in doing things the “old school” way and has seen good results and an energized fan base as a result.