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  • Lance Sutehall

Humphrey Coliseum – Mississippi State Bulldogs

Photos by Lance Sutehall, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.71

Humphrey Coliseum 55 Coliseum Blvd Starkville, MS 39762

Year Opened: 1975

Capacity: 10,575


Welcome to The Hump

Mississippi State basketball has been a successful program over the years with a final four appearance in 1996, three sweet sixteens, ten NCAA tournaments, ten SEC regular season crowns, and four SEC tournament championships.

The Bulldogs play basketball at Humphrey Coliseum, a 10,575-capacity arena that opened in 1975. In 2023 it received a renovation that included adding a premium area, restrooms, concession stands, and an expanded concourse.

Food & Beverage 4

Typical stadium fare includes cheeseburgers ($10), chicken tenders and fries ($10), hot dogs ($4.50), sausage ($6.50), pizza ($8), popcorn ($6), nachos ($5), pretzels ($5), chips ($3), and candy ($4). Smoked brisket and pork sandwiches ($10) are also sold. Chick-fil-A is sold at the arena provided you do not attend a game on Sunday.

Coca-Cola is the soft drink provider and drink options for sale include Dasani water ($4), bottled sodas ($4.50), Powerade ($4.50), and a souvenir cup ($6). Alcohol is sold at the arena with domestic beers including Bud, Miller, Michelob, and Coors ($9) or Cathead and White Claw seltzers ($10). The concession stands are cashless.

Atmosphere 4

The atmosphere at a Mississippi State Bulldogs game depends on how the Bulldogs are playing and who the opponent is. The entrance has been renovated and what was the lobby of the attached Mize Pavilion (the Bulldogs basketball practice facility) is now a Mississippi State basketball experience with a screen and a walkway that reveals the Coliseum seating bowl.

The walls on the concourse are filled with images of Bulldogs' sports history, a “Welcome to Starkvegas” sign with basketballs, and “Hail State” slogans. When you walk the renovated concourse you know you are at a Bulldogs game.

When you walk into the bowl and find your seat you notice there is a lot of maroon. The seats are maroon, the basketball banners are maroon, and the exterior of the basketball court is maroon. The baselines read “The Hump” and the midcourt features an outline of the state of Mississippi.

The cheerleaders keep the fans engaged throughout the game and when the arena is packed it can get very loud.

Neighborhood 4

If the dictionary had an image beside the phrase “college town”, the town of Starkville would be a great choice. That being said, Starkville still has a lot to offer, particularly in the Cotton District that is adjacent to MSU.

Restaurants in the Cotton District include Two Brothers Smoked Meats, Bulldog Burger, Boardtown Pizza, and Bin 612. For those wanting to visit a bar check out Drifter’s, The Klassroom, or Mojo Maroons.

The Cotton District attracts students and can get packed so for those looking to avoid the younger crowds can head downtown and check out places such as The Little Dewey for BBQ, The Camphouse for seafood, and the Central Station Grill.

Hotel chains located in Starkville include Comfort Suites, Courtyard, Hampton Inn, and Holiday Inn.

Fans 3

The fan support for the Bulldogs basketball team seems to be based on how the team is doing. The arena is packed when the team is doing well but when the team is on a slide the arena has a lot of empty seats.

As mentioned before Starkville is a college town and most students move away to other cities when they graduate and become alums. Football and baseball seem to be higher priorities for Bulldog fans than basketball.

Access 3

Starkville and Mississippi State University are not the easiest places to get to. It is roughly midway between Tupelo and Meridian with both cities being over an hour away while Columbus,  the closest decent-sized town, is half an hour away. Columbus has an airport that has flights coming from Atlanta-Hartsfield airport while the closest airport with multiple destinations is in Jackson, over an hour and a half away.

If you are coming from Highway 82 Westbound, turn onto Old Highway 82 then turn left at George Perry Street. Make a right turn at Bailey Howell Drive and there will be paid parking lots on both sides.

From Highway 82 Eastbound, take the offramp to Highway 389 and keep going until you reach Main Street. Main Street becomes University Drive and Barr Avenue. Take a left at George Perry Street and another left at Bailey Howell Drive to find the parking.

From Highway 12 Northbound you will turn at the College View Drive exit and turn right before making an immediate left to Bailey Howell Drive.

Paid parking will be $10-$15 depending on the lot but I was able to park by Dogwood Hall for free. Granted I attended a game on a Saturday when class was not in session.

Once inside the arena, the concourse has been widened during the renovation, there are plenty of restrooms and concession stands spread out through the arena.

Return on Investment 4

Non-conference game tickets start at $13 ($10 ticket, $3 fee) for upper-level seats behind the baseline and are $15 for upper-level sideline seats. SEC games vary based on the opponent and if it’s a weekday or Saturday game. Upper-level seats will range between $15-$25 for upper baseline and $20-$35 for sideline seats.

If you pay $10 to park, snag $15 tickets, and have a cheeseburger and a beer you will spend $45 by yourself, $80 for a date, and around $150 for a family of four. Considering this is SEC basketball this is a great deal!

Extras 4

The Lady Bulldogs team were back-to-back finalists in 2017 and 2018 in the Women’s tournament. Their banners hang in the rafters. They were most famous for ending UCONN’s 111-game win streak on a buzzer-beater in the 2017 Final Four.

There are several banners including one recognizing the Men’s 1996 Final Four team as well as the other NCAA tournament appearances and SEC championships. Other banners recognize former head coach Babe McCarthy, the 58-year voice of the Bulldogs Jack Christl, and Bailey Howell who is considered to be the best player to come out of the MSU program.

Bailey Howell’s team won the SEC in 1959 but neither the 1961 or 1962 teams that also won the SEC were able to go to the NCAA tournament due to the State of Mississippi not allowing its state schools to play integrated teams.

In 1963, having earned a bid to the NCAA tournament, the then Maroons snuck out of Starkville in the middle of the night to board a plane in Memphis and flew to East Lansing, MI to play Loyola-Chicago, a team composed of mostly African-American players.

When the Maroons flew back to Starkville having lost to Loyola they were met with applause and laws began to change eventually integrating the Mississippi State team. The schools met up in 2013 at Humphrey Coliseum to commemorate what is now called the “Game of Change”.

Final Thoughts

The Bulldogs have a nicely renovated arena to play their games in and the Bulldog faithful have the opportunity to make “The Hump” an intimidating place to play. A Mississippi State Bulldogs basketball game is a great time and an experience that you can have on a budget. 

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