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  • Writer's pictureLloyd Brown

Jack Stephens Center - Little Rock Trojans


Photos by Lloyd Brown Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.29

Jack Stephens Center 2801 S University Ave Little Rock, AR 72204



Year Opened: 2005 Capacity: 5,600

 

Where The Trojans Play H-O-R-S-E

The University of Arkansas-Little Rock was founded in 1927 as Little Rock Junior College. It became a four-year degree program in 1957, and it became Little Rock University. In 1969 it became the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Today the University has a student body of more than 9,000 students taking part in more than 60 undergraduate programs and 40 post-graduate level programs. It is especially known for its Business, Law, and Engineering programs.


The athletic programs at UALR are known as the Trojans. The Trojans formerly competed in the Sun Belt Conference but switched to the Ohio Valley Conference at the beginning of the 2022-2023 academic year. UALR does not compete in football, so the basketball programs are considered the premier sport at the school.


The primary sports facility at UALR is the on-campus Jack Stephens Center. It opened in time for the 2005-2006 basketball season. It is named for prominent businessman Jack Stephens, who donated $22.4 million dollars to the school. The Center serves both the men’s and women’s basketball programs, as well as the women’s volleyball team. The Stephens Center also includes weight rooms, training rooms, and locker rooms that are used by all the UALR athletic teams.


Food & Beverage 3

There is one large concession stand in the lobby of the Stephens Arena and three smaller stands along the concourse level of the seating bowl. The stands offer the usual arena/ stadium fare. There are no regional specialties available. The prices for items on the menu are lower than you would expect.


Atmosphere 3

The Jack Stephens Center is an impressive facility for viewing a Trojans basketball game. The arena has 12,000 square feet of floor space, including a very colorful court that features the maroon colors of the school and a Trojan icon at midcourt The seating bowl completely encircles the court, with 70% of the seats between the end lines. The crowd enjoys a great view of the action from the comfort of 5,600 leather chairback seats. There are also 12 luxury suites above the action. It is easy to keep up with the action, as the arena has a pair of 90-foot scoreboards with videoboard and stats panels at each end of the court.


During breaks in the action, be sure to check out the impressive array of championship banners earned by UALR that hang from the rafters of the facility.


Neighborhood 4

UALR is in the Midtown area of Little Rock. The area immediately surrounding the campus is what you would typically expect… lots of fast-food restaurants and service-oriented businesses. However, as you head north towards I-630, you’ll find everything from shopping (Park Plaza Mall) to nature (Boyle Park and the Little Rock Zoo). Head further north to the Arkansas River and ride your bike across the Big Dam Bridge (that’s its name...we’re not cussing) The bridge is a dedicated hike/bike venue that takes you across the river to North Little Rock.


If you head east on I-630, you’ll soon be in downtown Little Rock, home to the Clinton Presidential Library and the River Market District. Just park your car and enjoy an afternoon strolling the many shops, museums, restaurants, and parks in the area.

For more info on things to do in the UALR area, go to littlerock.com.


Fans 4

Earlier we mentioned that UALR does not have a football program. The Trojan fans are not going to let that stop them from participating in the hallowed tradition of tailgating. They arrive early to get a prized spot in the parking lot outside of the Jack Stephens Center. The school sets up “Trojan Alley”, an entertainment and activity area, to add to the fun.


Once the crowd is allowed into the Stephens Center, it is hard to miss the student section, which is known as the ‘Maroon Mob”. They have prized seats that almost touch the court. They spend the entire game cheering on the Trojans, while also doing everything they can to confuse and intimidate the visiting team. They do this all in good fun, and they never cross over into questionable behavior. Their energy reaches out to all four corners of the arena.


Access 3

It is very easy to get to Jack Stephens Center from virtually any direction, as University Avenue is one of the main thoroughfares in the Little Rock area. Here are the directions from the major interstate in the area.

From eastbound I-40: Take I-430 south to I-630. Go east towards downtown Little Rock. Take the University Avenue exit and head south to 28th Avenue. (You will see the UALR marquee) Turn left onto 28th Avenue and the Jack Stephens Center will be on your left.


From westbound I-40: Take I-30 west to I-630. Head west on I-630 to the South University exit. Then follow the previous instructions to arrive at the Jack Stephens Center.


The doors to the Jack Stephens Center open 45 minutes prior to tipoff, allowing you plenty of time to get to your seat. There is a large lobby outside of the seating area. This area features the concessions area, the team store, and the restrooms. The flow through this area is smooth, with the exception of halftime when it gets quite congested.


Return on Investment 3

Going to a Trojans basketball game will not break the bank. Tickets range from $10- $25 depending on where you sit in the Jack Stephens Center. Parking is $5 in Lot 14, which is immediately adjacent to the arena. If you don’t mind a short walk, parking is free in Lot 15.


Lodging is available close to the UALR campus at either the Four Points Sheraton or the Embassy Suites Midtown. The school has negotiated a discount, which is available by requesting the Little Rock Trojans rate.


Extras 3

The basketball court at Jack Stephens Arena was flooded in December 2022 due to frozen pipes beneath the arena bursting during an extremely cold winter storm. The regular game floor was destroyed. However, the athletic department scrambled and found a temporary floor to use for the remainder of the season. A major “extra” to the athletic department for rescuing the remainder of the home schedule at “ the Jack”!


UALR competes against the nearby University of Central Arkansas in the Governor’s I-40 Showdown. The two schools play each other in 11 different sports. Whichever school wins the most of those competitions in a school calendar year takes home the Governor’s I-40 Showdown Trophy.


During the time that the men’s basketball program competed in the Sun Belt Conference, they had several very successful seasons and postseasons. They took home the regular season title twice (2016,2020), the Sun Belt Tournament Championship twice (2011,2016), and the Division Championship on four occasions (2005,2008,2009, 2011)


Final Thoughts

Jack Stephens Arena is a terrific place to take in a Trojans basketball game. It offers comfortable seating, great views of the action, and free parking if you do not mind a short walk. There are plenty of things to see and do in Downtown Little Rock after the game. The Clinton Presidential Center is a must-see, and the River Market has several dining options along the very scenic Arkansas River.

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