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  • Writer's pictureDavid Welch

James and Sis Brown Athletic Center – Reinhardt Eagles

Photos by David Welch, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.43

James and Sis Brown Athletic Center 9416 Fincher Road Waleska, GA 30183

Year Opened: 1982


James and Sis Brown Athletic Center - Reinhardt University Eagles

College basketball comes in all different shapes and sizes – from the bright lights of the blue blood of the game through each of the three levels of NCAA basketball, to junior colleges and throughout the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, (NAIA), and beyond.

Reinhardt University, established in 1883, saw the arrival of basketball nearly a century later. The opening of the James and Sis Brown Athletic Center marked the beginning of basketball at Reinhardt, with women’s basketball starting the following year.

Since becoming a member of the NAIA in 2000, Reinhardt basketball first played as a member of the Southern States Athletic Conference from 2000 to 2009, and in the Appalachian Athletic Conference since then.


Food & Beverage   1

A small concession stand is located just outside of the gym. The concession stand doesn’t have a lot to offer that is going to fill stomachs, but there are chips, candy, popcorn, and soft drinks from the Coca-Cola line of beverages. Prices are reasonable, so fans do not face the high markups they might be accustomed to at larger venues.


Atmosphere   3

As with several college basketball facilities at smaller schools, the basketball gym here is part of the student wellness center.

Wooden bleachers line each side of the floor; one long section of ten rows behind the bench and two separate sections of eight rows along the far sideline of the court. Students make up most of the seating across from the team benches, while alumni, community members, and parents occupy the bleachers across the way. A handful of fans also stand along the near-end wall.

The basketball experience at Reinhardt can be best described as simple but refreshingly so. In a time where sporting events seem to fill every stoppage of play with a contest, advertisement, or something to keep the attention of fans, at Brown Athletic Center there is not a lot to take away from the spotlight that is kept on the game (other than the cheerleaders).


Neighborhood   2

Situated in the rural Georgia town of Waleska, with a population less than the enrollment of Reinhardt, Waleska is a “no traffic light” type town, neighbored by the outmost reaches of the suburban Atlanta city of Canton.

While the immediate vicinity around Reinhardt's campus may lack notable points of interest, history enthusiasts can explore the Funk Heritage Center on Reinhardt’s campus. This museum looks at the lives of southeastern Native Americans and European settlers, with a special focus on the historical "Trail of Tears" that originated in the northern Georgia region.

Visitors in search of a less educational and more competitive experience might want to pay a visit to the Callahan Golf Links, just over 2 miles toward Canton from the Reinhardt campus.

While Waleska does not have much to offer when it comes to restaurants, within 5 miles of campus just off Reinhardt College Highway, the Laurel Canyon Village shopping plaza does have Mexican and Asian restaurants, pizza, Laurel Canyon Brewing, and a supermarket that is known to have spectacular sandwiches made by their deli. For a better selection, Canton has a wide choice of restaurants for just about all taste buds.


Fans   3

The Eagles receive a good amount of support from their students and the local community. Reinhart enrolls just over 1,000 students, while Waleska’s population is recorded at just under that number, so the few hundred fans in attendance is a decent turnout.

Eagles fans are a supportive bunch. They are quick to celebrate good plays and pivotal baskets, express displeasure towards officials after questionable whistles, or throw some good-natured heckling toward opposing coaches contesting debatable calls. While these game situations do seem to light a spark under those in attendance, the overall feeling doesn’t necessarily create an overly tough environment for opposing teams to play in.


Access 2

There are just two options for reaching Waleska: either via Waleska Highway (Highway 108) or the more traveled Reinhard College Parkway (Highway 140). Both routes are a bit of a challenge, as they require traveling off Interstate 75 from the west or I-575 from the north or east.

Ample parking is available at the James and Sis Brown Athletic Center, with a front lot and an additional one towards the rear.

Fans will enter the lobby to a front desk where admission is paid and then can enter the gym floor either to the left or right. Though not exclusively so, the left side of the seating is mostly populated by students, while other fans are typically in the bleachers behind the team benches.

Return on Investment   4

Admission to basketball at Reinhart runs $10 which includes access to both men’s and women’s games. Children 12 and under are free. When factoring in free parking and affordable concession prices, the overall cost is very reasonable.


Extras   2

The lobby of the James and Sis Brown Athletic Center honors the achievements of the Eagles athletic programs, showcasing team and individual accomplishments – including athletes honored in the Reinhard Athletics Hall of Fame, All-Americans, and team championships.

Despite its smaller size, the venue's intimate atmosphere brings fans close to the action on the floor and nearly allows them to be part of the coach's huddle during timeouts.


Final Thoughts

Basketball at the NAIA level offers so much to appreciate which may often go unnoticed. While you can easily find things in the lower levels of college athletics that cannot compare to the higher levels, what makes sports such a great experience is the passion and atmosphere that goes along with the game at any level.

Reinhardt basketball at the James and Sis Brown Athletic Center lives up to the expectation of providing fans with a fun game experience, coupled with the school spirit that makes the college game exciting regardless of the level.

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