- Lloyd Brown
Littlejohn Coliseum – Clemson Tigers
Photos by Lloyd Brown, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.71
Littlejohn Coliseum Centennial Boulevard Clemson, SC 29634
Year Opened: 1968
Roundball’s Home In Tigertown
Clemson University is the state of South Carolina’s largest land grant university. It was founded in 1889, as the result of the Clemson family bequeathing its plantation property and financial assets to start a college in upstate South Carolina. Today it has more than 20,000 students enrolled in more than 80 fields of study.
Clemson University began playing basketball in 1911, and since 1968 its home has been the on-campus Littlejohn Coliseum. The Coliseum is named for the school’s first business manager, who was charged with the building of the school’s original buildings and was a strong athletics supporter.
Since its opening, the coliseum has gone through two major renovations in 2003 and 2016. It now has a seating capacity of 9,000 for basketball. The most recent renovation included a remodeling of the entryway, the upgrading of all technology in the building, the expansion of basketball support services such as new locker room and training areas, team meeting space and a practice facility for both the men’s and women’s programs.
Littlejohn Coliseum has been an intimidating place for visiting teams, as the Tigers have a 75% home winning percentage since the building opened. The Tigers have made 11 NCAA Tournament appearances and 16 NIT appearances over the years. Some of the most famous Clemson basketball alums include Horace Grant, Larry Nance and Tree Rollins.
Food & Beverage 4
Littlejohn Coliseum offers a good selection of concession items at reasonable prices. A sampling of the menu includes: hot dogs ($4), cheeseburgers ($6), corn dogs ($4), chicken sandwiches ($6), nachos ($5), pretzels ($5), popcorn tub ($6), peanuts ($4) and candy ($3). Drink options consist of Coca Cola brand soft drinks ($6) and bottled water ($4).
There are multiple stands located throughout the arena, so you should not experience any lines, even at halftime.
You will have no doubt you are at the Tiger’s lair as soon as you arrive at Littlejohn Coliseum. The newly updated exterior features highlights in the purple and orange color scheme along with the signature Tiger Paw logo of the school. Upon entering the Burton Gallery entry hall, you will be greeted with wall size murals depicting both men’s and women’s basketball action. The concourses feature graphics depicting the history of the arena, the evolution of the Tiger Mascot, features on Tiger greats called Littlejohn Legends and the history of the basketball program at Clemson.
The inner seating bowl is stunning, as it features purple seats with embroidered tiger paws for a majority of the area, with orange seating in the student sections. Midcourt is dominated by a huge Tiger Paw.
The technology updates from the most recent renovation include the largest midcourt curved videoboard in the country, along with ribbon boards which encircle the arena seating bowl. There are two 150 square foot LED boards in the lobby, so you will not miss any of the action on the court.
Littlejohn Coliseum is located on the Clemson campus, in between Clemson Memorial Stadium and Doug Kingsmore Baseball Field.
Adjoining the campus is the charming town of Clemson. Though small, it offers plenty of things to do both before and after a Tigers game. Most of the businesses and restaurants are along Clemson’s “main street” (College Avenue). Popular restaurants in the area include the Tiger Town Tavern and Brioso’s Fresh Pasta. Just a block over, on Old Greenville Highway, is the legendary Esso Club. The former gas station has been a Tiger watering hole since 1933. Lodging in the area is found along “hotel row” on Tiger Boulevard. Though most every brand is represented, locals recommend the Comfort Inn Clemson and the Hotel Tillman for reasonable prices and decent accommodations
The most recent renovations to the arena lowered the seating capacity of Littlejohn, but increased the intimidation factor from the fans. Clemson’s arena offers the closest seating to the court of any ACC basketball facility. There are risers in the student section located at the visitors end of the court in the second half designed to disrupt the visitors’ communications and concentration in the later stages of the game. The school’s pep band does it part by playing “Tiger Rag” as many times as possible
If the building elements are not enough, the fans take care of the rest. They dress in all manner of orange and purple outfits and are loud in both color scheme and in volume of their cheering. This has led to several upsets over the years of ACC powers Duke, UNC and Notre Dame.
Accessibility is another area that has been improved greatly through the most recent renovations. The main entry hall has greatly expanded the space for fans in what had been a bottleneck in the past. Each of the portals entering the seating bowl have also been widened to improve the flow in and out during breaks in the game. Parking is available immediately outside the arena, and since the facility is on campus there is no shortage of spaces available for outside visitors.
Getting in and out of Clemson is much easier for basketball games than for Tiger football games, when more than 80,000 fans descend on the town. Clemson is located 10 miles west of I-85, just north of the South Carolina /Georgia state line. The main routes into town are via US 123 (Tiger Boulevard) and US76 or SC 93. Traffic should not be too heavy as these are main thoroughfares.
Return on Investment 4
Clemson keeps its basketball tickets at a very reasonable level to build interest in the program at a very football-centric school. The highest prices are on the sides practically at court level. A large number of seat higher up in the building are considered general admission and are $10. Concession prices are very reasonable as are items in the spirit shop. Free parking is available at the sports complex near the baseball stadium, which is just across the street from Littlejohn.
Littlejohn Coliseum serves as the major concert venue for Clemson University. Some of the major acts who have performed there are REM, Rod Stewart, Chicago and Huey Lewis and the News.
The South Carolina Botanical Gardens are located on the Clemson campus. The 295 acre facility is colorful on a year-round basis.
Another extra goes to the athletic communications department for the informative exhibits placed throughout the concourses. Too often there are blank walls in these areas, and visitors can learn a great deal about Clemson by doing a lap around the building concourse. Kudos also to the architects for using glass heavily on the concourses as a part of the renovations. The arena is much more open and cheery than typical arenas.
Though not as legendary as ACC counterparts Cameron Indoor Stadium or the Dean Smith Center, Littlejohn Coliseum is one of the most contemporary and up and coming basketball venues in the ACC. Recent renovations have greatly improved recruiting and made the Tigers much more competitive in the top basketball conference in the country.