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  • Michael Davis

Moody Coliseum – SMU Mustangs


Photos by Michael Davis, Stadium Journey



Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.71


Moody Coliseum 6024 Airline Rd Dallas, TX 75205


SMU Mustangs website

Moody Coliseum website


Year Opened: 1956

Capacity: 7,000

 

SMU Basketball at Moody Coliseum

Moody Coliseum originally opened on December 3, 1956, on the campus of Southern Methodist University, located just north of downtown Dallas. The multi-purpose coliseum is a large part of SMU’s University Park neighborhood, housing not only SMU athletics, but also concerts, academic ceremonies, and basketball and volleyball camps. However, Moody Coliseum’s most famous moment could be when the coliseum served as the temporary home for the Dallas Mavericks in 1984; that game was titled “Moody Madness” as the Mavericks came away with an upset playoff win versus the Seattle Supersonics.


Over the years, Moody Coliseum has had minor renovations, keeping the gym current with the times. However, in 2013 it was time for Moody Coliseum to undergo a major renovation project. That renovation would update the main lobby, bring in new concessions and wider concourses, improve the lighting and seating, provide luxury boxes, give the building wi-fi capability and new locker rooms, and would also bring in an LED scoreboard, LED signage around the arena, and a new floor scheme. This renovation, at a cost of $40 million, transformed the old-school gym into an updated arena for SMU.


Following the renovation, Moody Coliseum re-opened on January 4, 2014, to a sellout crowd, with an upset win over the then #4-ranked and eventual National Champion Connecticut Huskies. The all-time Moody Coliseum attendance record of 7,518 fans was set about three years later on February 12, 2017, vs. Cincinnati.


Food & Beverage 3

There are plenty of wonderful restaurant sponsors mentioned throughout the game; the only problem is that only Mi Cocina Tex-Mex is in-house serving food. As you walk around the concourse, you may notice concessions only have two names, either Hilltop Grill or Peruna’s Kitchen. The menu at these stands is the typical fare of pepperoni or cheese pizza for $10, deluxe nachos with chili and cheese served with jalapenos for $8, while hot dogs and pretzels cost $7. Other stadium fares, such as peanuts, bagged popcorn, potato chips, large cookies, and Minute Maid Italian ice cost a little less.


Moody Coliseum’s premium menu adds a few more options to the ones listed above, with costs topping out at $12 for items such as the Red & Blue Burger, an all-beef Bubba burger with smoked bacon, roasted pepper aioli, and blue cheese on a brioche bun. The Aramark food service also has a Mustangs value menu, with a smaller version of nachos, pretzels, and popcorn costing $3, while a basic hot dog is a dollar more at $4.


SMU athletics serves Coca-Cola products on campus, so for a $6 32oz cup you have a choice of Coke, Coke Zero, Diet Coke, Mr. Pibb, or Sprite. Along with the soda offerings, there is also Powerade ($6) and Dasani bottled water ($4). Beer and wine are also sold inside Moody Coliseum; the selection of domestic beer is limited to three choices, including Bud Light and Michelob Ultra for $8. Shock Top Belgian White and the local Deep Ellum Brewing Co. craft beers, Dallas Blonde and Deep Ellum IPA are also available for $10. In addition to beer, Copa Di Vino Chardonnay is offered at a cost of $10 per glass. Lastly, there is also a value cost for alcohol, as Lone Star beer is sold for $5.


Atmosphere 4

Moody Coliseum has all the modern accessories that fans enjoy, but what really makes Moody Coliseum special is the intimate feel of its basketball gymnasium. The arena’s 7,000 seats and great sightlines are a big part of an atmosphere that larger venues just can’t capture. The biggest asset of this type of atmosphere is that the fans can easily get involved with the game. The coliseum has three levels of seating, the 100 level, the 200 level, and the suite level. The suite level is above the 200 level and runs along the sideline across from the team benches. In the lower 100 level, the seating is dominated by SMU students, leaving only the seats across from the team benches for premium seating.


The students, known as “The Mob,” surround the baseline and bench sideline inside Moody. They are continuously loud, and energetic, and provide such an intimidating atmosphere that it contributes to Moody Coliseum having such a great home-court advantage for the Mustangs. In fact, with the rise of SMU’s home win record at Moody Coliseum, the players have now seen high-fiving the fans around the court after a win, before standing and facing the Mustang Band as the band plays the school song “Varsity.”


The wonderful playing of college band music is alive and well inside Moody Coliseum, as one of the best bands in college sports, the Mustang Band, is positioned in section 100 behind the baseline. In addition, the SMU cheerleaders and pom squad are positioned along the baseline on opposite sides; each group works tirelessly throughout the game to entertain the crowd. The Mustangs mascot, Peruna, also not only entertains but engages the crowd, and gets the already loud and festive student section to become even more involved throughout the game.


Before or after a game here, fans may visit the SMU Hall of Fame, located on the east side concourse. This area is a real tribute to the school’s history and students, with SMU student-athlete plaques depicting their athletic accomplishments, opposite a wall mural of a pre-renovated Moody Coliseum.


Neighborhood 5

Moody Coliseum is on the beautiful campus of Southern Methodist University. The campus itself is 243 acres, with an enrollment of about 11,000 students. The neighborhood surrounding the campus is called University Park, located just north of downtown Dallas, off I-75. Within a short distance is Mockingbird Station, a development of shops, dining, and apartment complexes that were built around the Mockingbird DART light rail stop. Mockingbird Station has about 11 different restaurants and 18 shops – a few of the restaurants in the station include Trinity Hall Irish Pub and Restaurant, Twin Peaks, and Urban Taco. The complex also includes the Angelika Film Center, which provides an 8-screen theater (complete with stadium seating) devoted to independent and specialty films. Or, just a short walk from Mockingbird Station is Campisi’s Restaurant, a Dallas stable since 1946.


If you can’t find what you’re looking for at Mockingbird Station, just walk a few blocks north on SMU Boulevard and you’ll find Torchy’s Tacos, Milo Butterfingers, and the Barley House. The Barley House is the perfect college bar, especially if you plan to partake in alcoholic beverages, with its large list of beers on tap from breweries around the state. Of course, the DART light rail can easily get you to plenty of other pre or postgame activities, with downtown Dallas being just a short commute south.


There is plenty of lodging around the SMU campus, with downtown Dallas being a short distance away and accessible via the DART light rail. However, if you want to stay in the area, there is the Beeman Hotel on North Central Expressway, a short walk from campus, near SMU Boulevard, and across the highway from the main local attraction, the George W. Bush Presidential Library. Besides the library, there is also the Meadows Museum, just off the main boulevard on SMU’s campus, which is well worth your time to visit. The public transit and location near Dallas provide plenty of tourist attractions and a wide range of restaurants and lodging for any fan attending a game at SMU.


Fans 4

There are various levels of fandom when it comes to college sports; the fans that grew up rooting for a certain school, the alumni of the school, and of course the current students. The SMU fans and alumni combine to form a wonderful fan base, but it is the current students that are the heart and soul of Moody Coliseum, who continue to bring the arena to life game after game.


The students known as “The Mob” provide the support that has helped Moody Coliseum to gain such a homecourt advantage. SMU has lost just four home games in the last three seasons, while reaching the 2014 NIT final and winning the 2014-15 American Athletic Conference regular season and tournament titles, en route to the NCAA Tournament. In the 2015-16 season, despite not being eligible for postseason play, the Mustangs earned a 25-5 record, showing how dedicated the players are to the SMU program. The current season has also been good, as the Mustangs are well on their way to securing a spot in this year’s NCAA tournament. All these accolades can be attributed to the wonderful fan base that journeys to Moody Coliseum for SMU basketball.


Access 4

Southern Methodist University is in University Park, just north of downtown Dallas. Moody Coliseum is located on the SMU campus and is accessible from I-75 near the George W. Bush Presidential Library. The SMU campus doesn’t provide the most ideal parking situation for sporting events, but the campus is accessible by public transportation.


There are four cash parking areas around the coliseum: Moody Garage, Binkley Garage, Meadows Garage, and Westcott Surface Lot, all of which cost $10 and are close and accessible to Moody Coliseum. Otherwise, there is free parking at Expressway Tower or at Dallas Area Rail Transportation’s Mockingbird Station. The DART light rail is a great option for fans not familiar with the Dallas traffic. Mockingbird Station is a major stop on the Red, Orange, and Blue lines, so you can reach the station from most of the DFW area, including the DFW airport.


Once you get to Moody Coliseum there is only one main entrance for the general public. After walking thru metal detectors, fans walk into the Nancy and Richard Rogers Lobby. The lobby houses the Moody Coliseum ticket office, the Mustangs Pro Shop, and other items, such as free programs. The concourse is well lit and there is plenty of signage to help you navigate around Moody Coliseum. The concourse can become crowded at high-traffic points during the game, such as before the game, at halftime, and after the game.


Return on Investment 3

The continuing high expectations of the Mustangs basketball team have tickets at a premium price. Season tickets are sold out, while single-game ticket availability is limited; getting SMU tickets through a third party is the most likely way to obtain them. For those looking at the SMU box office, Ticketmaster is the ticket provider.


Ticket prices depend on the importance of the game, but for lesser, weekday game opponents, single-game tickets range from $15 to $120, not including any fees but can be found on secondary market sites for as low as $13. Overall, a visit to the SMU campus, along with a game inside Moody Coliseum, is well worth the price and trip for sports enthusiasts.

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Extras 3

Moody Coliseum offers excitement for college basketball in a football-driven state and provides an atmosphere rivaling other basketball powerhouses. The Mustangs were on a streak of five straight record-breaking seasons in terms of attendance, until a slight decline two years ago, but this season (2019-2020), tickets are again sold out. With the resurgence of Southern Methodist basketball and the renovations, Moody Coliseum has become the place to “see and be seen.” Former President George W. Bush is a constant at SMU basketball games, along with players from the Dallas Mavericks and the Dallas Cowboys.


Final Thoughts

The revival of SMU basketball, in a renovated classic venue like Moody Coliseum, has brought a lot of exposure and excitement to the Hilltop. The remodeled arena continues to be the place to be seen, so invest in a trip to Dallas and witness the revival of Moody Magic. The basketball atmosphere here is as good as anywhere else in the country, including the powerhouses of Kansas or Duke.


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