Photos by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.86
Kidera Gymnasium 4245 East Avenue Rochester, NY 14618
Year Opened: 1976
Hoops of Nazareth
Nazareth College was founded in 1924 as Nazareth College of Rochester. From its beginnings as an all-women’s college affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church, it has grown to its present size of just under 3,000 students offering classes in 60 undergraduate and more than two dozen graduate programs. The school, having gone co-ed in the 1970s, is known for its emphasis on community engagement.
Nazareth’s athletic teams are named the Golden Flyers, and compete in the Empire 8 Athletic conference of Division Three. The school has enjoyed much athletic success over the years, as the men’s lacrosse teams have won three national championships and have finished as runners up an additional three times. In addition, the men’s volleyball team won the national championship in 2011.
The Golden Flyers basketball teams play in the Robert A. Kidera Gymnasium. Mr. Kidera was the college president from 1976-1984 and a charter member of the school’s athletic Hall of Fame. He was instrumental in making athletics an important part of campus life. The 6th president of the college, Kidera was the first male president at Nazareth. Over their history, the Golden Eagles have qualified for 9 NCAA Division Three tournaments. Their most famous basketball alumnus is Jeff Van Gundy.
Food & Beverage 1
There are no concessions at Nazareth basketball games. Stadium Journey visited the college during the 2022 D-3 basketball tournament. The cafeteria located next door to the gym in the Shults Center was serving pizza, chicken wings and snacks, but this was a special event held in conjunction with the tournament.
There is a vending machine in the lobby for anyone needing a drink during the game. Fans are allowed to bring their own snacks into the Kidera Gym.
The game day atmosphere at Kidera Gymnasium is typical of other small college facilities across the country. These gyms just lack the resources to put on a big-time show. That doesn’t mean that you aren’t going to enjoy your time at Nazareth. There’s just not a lot going on to distract from the action down on the court.
There are a pair of scoreboards on either end of the gym that show basic game information. A highlight at some games are performances from the Nazareth Dance Squad, recently ranked as the top team in all of New York State. Staffers toss t-shirts into the game during breaks in the action. The students do their best to keep the energy level up thoughout the game.
Nazaerth’s biggest rival is St. John Fisher College, located just a mile to the north. When the two teams match up, locals dub the game “The Battle of the Beaks.” If visiting for this game, expect a little more robust atmosphere.
Nazareth College is a self-contained campus located in the Rochester suburb of Pittsford, a bedroom community with a population of about 30,000 residents. As you may expect with Nazareth’s suburban location, there’s not a whole lot to see or do within walking distance of the campus. Out of town visitors are likely to head to downtown Rochester, located just a few miles from Nazareth.
For fans looking for options that are closer, Route 31 (Monroe Avenue) runs just a couple of miles south of the campus. Visitors will find plenty of dining, lodging and shopping options here. Among the chain restaurants lining this drag is the Black & Blue Steak and Crab Restaurant, an upscale American steakhouse with locations around upstate New York.
Among the favorite spots to eat in Rochester are Nick Tahou’s Hots, birthplace of the “Garbage Plate” (it’s not what it sounds like), and the local outpost of Dinosaur BBQ, located right by the Blue Cross Arena on the Genesee River.
Official reports list average attendance at Golden Flyers games at between 500-600 fans per game. In
checking box scores from throughout the season, it would appear that there is a wide variation in the size of crowds that visit the Kidera Gymnasium, from a typical “friends and family” type of crowd to a nearly packed house for games against local rivals and tournament games. With several Empire 8 teams located a short distance from Nazareth, it’s not unusual to see a solid turnout from the visiting schools.
The student section at Kidera Gymnasium is located under the north basket. When the section is packed, the students are into the game and add a lot of noise to the gym. The rest of the crowd consists of families, alumni and some local hoop fanatics.
Nazareth is located in the suburban town of Pittsford, New York, just seven miles from downtown Rochester. Located less than two miles from Interstate 490, it is easily accessed by visiting fans driving to the area.
Kidera Gymnasium is situated in the Otto A. Shults Community Center at the center of campus. Also in the Shults Center is an Olympic-sized pool, a chapel, lecture hall, conference rooms, reading lounge, pub, campus store and game room. Parking is available a short walk from the gym in several on-campus lots. There are two small rest rooms just off the front lobby that are clean, if somewhat cramped.
Fans entering the Shults Center from the main entrance on the western side will find the entrance to the gym directly in front of them. Seating consists of plastic bleachers on three sides of the court. With the small size of Kidera Gymnasium, all seats have excellent views of the action, if not excellent views of the scoreboards.
Return on Investment 5
Stadium Journey visited Nazareth during the NCAA Tournament, so tickets to the game cost $15. It should be noted that during the tournament, prices are set by the NCAA, not the schools. We were unable to find the regular ticket prices for Golden Flyers games, but I would be shocked if it were more than $5.
Parking is free in the lots near the Shults Center. An evening at a Nazareth basketball game is a most affordable entertainment option for local hoop fans.
Banners hang throughout the Kidera Gymnasium honoring championship teams that have represented the college. Holding a special place of honor are banners commemorating Nazareth’s three lacrosse national titles and their volleyball national championship.
Not content to hold a typical t-shirt toss during basketball games, the basketball staff and school mascot, Swoop, toss small stuffed eagles into the stands during play stoppages.
While not the flashiest of facilities, you can’t go wrong with a small gym like Kidera Gymnasium. A combination of affordable prices, an intimate setting and quality talent on the field makes a visit to suburban Rochester a worthy Stadium Journey. Don’t sleep on Division Three sports!