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  • Writer's picturePaul Baker

Murray Center - Rhode Island College Anchormen

Photos by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.86

Murray Center

600 6th Street

North Providence, RI 02911

Year Opened: 1995

Capacity: 8,000

Anchors Away!

Rhode Island College is a public college in Providence, Rhode Island. Founded in 1854, it is the second oldest college in Rhode Island (after Brown University). The school was located in different spots throughout the state before moving to its current location in the Mount Pleasant section of Providence in 1958. Today the school has an enrollment of 9,000 students in 120 graduate and undergraduate programs.

Starting in 1965 Rhode Island College played their basketball games at Walsh Gymnasium, which burned down in 1992. Its replacement, built on the same site, was originally named the Health, Physical Education and Athletic Center. It was renamed for sisters Mary F. and Catherine T. Murray, members of the Rhode Island College of Education classes of 1933 and 1934, following substantial donations by the Murray Foundation. Both sisters taught in Rhode Island public schools following their graduation from RIC.

The RIC teams, named the Anchormen, compete in the Little East Conference, made up of nine Division 3 teams from around New England. The Anchormen have qualified for the NCAA tournament seven times, reaching the Elite Eight in 2007 and the Sweet Sixteen in 2010 and 2011.

Food & Beverage 3

There is a small concession stand located just off the lobby. The menu is hardly extensive, but it will do the job if you need a snack. Plus, no item costs more than two dollars. Visiting fans will find hot dogs, various snacks and drinks here. Pepsi products are featured. No alcohol is sold at this on-campus facility.

Atmosphere 2

As you might expect at a small school with a small crowd, there isn’t exactly a dynamic game day experience at Murray Center. As is the case in most small schools in the area, a basketball game is a more laid-back experience than at the bigger schools. Absent are the many distractions and noise that accompanies most Division 1 games these days. Even the music and PA during an Anchormen game are played at a lower volume. Most of the noise at the Murray Center comes from the proud parents in attendance cheering on their children.

There are scoreboards on either end of the gym. The larger scoreboard on the far end displays more detailed game statistics.

Neighborhood 3

Rhode Island College is a self-contained campus located in a residential neighborhood. There are not any dining or lodging options within walking distance of the campus. However, given the school’s location in the capital city of Providence, there are plenty of options just a short drive away. More information on local attractions can be found here.

Smith Street runs in an east-west direction from the RIC campus to downtown Providence. Some favorite local spots here include LaSalle Bakery and New York System, home of the world-famous Rhode Island Coney Island wieners. Following Smith Street a few miles into downtown will allow visiting fans to experience all the best dining and lodging options Providence has to offer. The campus of Providence College is just a mile and a half away on the other side of Smith Street.

Fans 2

A typical Anchormen basketball crowd can be accurately described as a “friends and family” crowd. Average attendance is officially listed at about 200 fans, and based on Stadium Journey’s visit, this count is pretty accurate.

RIC’s enrollment in the Little East Conference and a schedule littered with local rivals ensures that there is a strong family presence for players from both teams. There is no designated student section, but there is a decent turnout by the student body, who scatter in familiar spots around the gym.

Access 3

The Murray Center is located on the western edge of the Rhode Island College campus, which straddles the Providence/North Providence line. Downtown Providence is about four miles away. No highways serve the RIC campus directly, but Route 6 passes close to the campus, providing the most direct route. Most fans will drive to RIC, but RIPTA busses provide service to campus. Complete information can be found here.

Ample parking is located adjacent to the Murray Center. The entrance to the building is on the opposite side, facing the main quad. Fans will enter into a small lobby, which contains the ticket booth, rest rooms and concession stand. The entrance to the basketball court is on the opposite side of the lobby.

Seating at the Murray Center is on either side of the court. Once side has individual stadium seats and the other side has wooden bleachers. Unfortunately, the seating is pushed back a bit from the court.

Return on Investment 5

Admission to Anchormen games costs just three dollars, with tickets discounted a dollar for seniors and an additional dollar for children. With free parking and no concession item priced at more than two dollars, a night at Rhode Island College is a very affordable entertainment option for Rhode Island sports fans.

Extras 2

Banners hang at the Murray Center on either side of the court honoring Anchormen tournament appearances, retired numbers and 1,000 point scorers.

The RIC Athletic Hall of Fame is located on the second floor of the Murray Center. The Anchor Loge overlooks the court. Unfortunately, Stadium Journey was not allowed to look around the Hall of Fame display during our visit, as the room was not open.

Final Thoughts

Basketball fans who dismiss small gymnasiums like the Murray Center are truly doing themselves a disservice. Combining intimate venues, affordability and quality hoops, hidden gems like the one found here in Providence provide hoop heads with a quality Stadium Journey far off the beaten path.

Follow Paul Baker’s stadium journeys on Twitter and Instagram @PuckmanRI.

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