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  • Conrad Klank

Nutter Center – Wright State Raiders

Photo Courtesy of Wright State University

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.71

Nutter Center 3640 Colonel Glenn Highway Dayton, OH 45435

Year Opened: 1990

Capacity: 11,000


Welcome to the Nutt House

The Nutter Center, affectionately known to Wright State Raider fans as the “Nutt House” a term first coined by former radio color commentator Ron Coleman, opened in the fall of 1990 with a concert by the Boston Pops Orchestra, but soon became better known as the rocking home of the late coach Ralph Underhill’s running Raiders. That year they ran and pressed their way to 19 wins and averaged over 8,000 fans per game in just their fourth year in Division I.

These days the Raiders are members of the Horizon League and usually only draw 8,000 or more for their big games like Butler, as they averaged around 5,500 fans per game over the last several years. But more often than not, when it counts, the fans come out and the Nutter Center is a loud, fun place to watch some good college basketball.

Food & Beverage 4

The Nutter Center features a pretty good selection of tasty treats that include local vendors and common goodies that should please most fans who enter the building. The arena is a major concert venue in the Dayton area and you should expect to see many great items for sale at the many concession stands in the building.

La Rosa’s pizza is a popular local option in the area and personal pizzas are available for purchase. Another popular local spot is Frickers and they have a full bar that overlooks the playing court with an excellent view. Fricker’s Above the Rim is known for its wings and various sauces.

There is the Speedway Stand sponsored by Speedway Convenience stores and they feature typical arena food. By my count, there are seven different beers sold at the Nutter Center and if you are a beer drinker, there is probably one that you will like.

Throughout the arena, fans will find Dip N Dots, and the traditional arena food like pretzels, hot dogs, nachos and popcorn along with Pepsi products. I think the variety is great, the quality is good and the prices just a tad on the high side, but not crazy high. If I could give it a 3.7 rating I would, but since I can’t it gets a four-star rating. This is not an arena where fans have to eat before arriving, there is plenty of food choices at the Nutter Center to keep most fans happy.

Hot dogs: $3, A jumbo dog, that tastes good with a slight blend of sweet and salty spices that is made by Ball Park Franks and a warm, soft bun. Large popcorn: $2.50, Salty, warm, with a strong buttery taste. Nachos w/ cheese: $3, Great cheese, not too spicy. The chips are just average. Pepsi: 32 oz cup $4

Atmosphere 3

The Nutter Center is a pit design similar to what you would find at New Mexico, San Diego State, Iowa, and Utah State. Fans enter the venue on the concourse level and then walk down into the seating bowl. There are 18 corporate boxes also on the concourse level above the seating bowl. One unique feature of the Nutter Center that none of the other pit design arenas have, is on all four corners of the court on the concourse level there are over-looks where a fan can stand or grab a chair and watch the game, while their food and drink fit nicely on the ledge or table. One of the over-looks is Fricker’s Above The Rim.

The scoreboard is huge and it is a state-of-the-art board with over-sized video screens and all the stats any fan would need to follow the action. The concourses are plenty wide and at the west end there is a Raider Athletic Hall of Fame and it features some pro athletes most sports fans will recognize.

Throw in the band, the dance team, cheerleaders and a good sized student section dressed and painted appropriately and this is certainly a good college atmosphere. The ceiling of the Nutter Center is built well above the concourse level. There are huge exposed walls that Wright State has cleverly covered with huge banners/murals of past Raider greats and teams. Other than the two women players they stuck up on the banners that few fans remember, they did a great job of highlighting the history and past successes of the Raiders.

Neighborhood 4

There is about every kind of kind of fast food and casual dining experience anyone could ask for within one mile of the Nutter Center. There are also plenty of hotels across the street for fans that wish to stay the night. Right across the street, within walking distance, there is One Eyed Jacks, a bar that features decent bar food and at night some live music. Just next door is Flying Pizza (in case you didn’t fill up on LaRosa’s Pizza) and it is good college pizza.

Going west almost a mile down Colonial Glenn Highway, which means turning right from the top lot of the Nutter Center is W. O Wrights, a bar with some great food and a pretty good atmosphere. I am partial to the cheese fries. You can eat there for around $10. Going back across I-675 fans can find Cadillac Jack’s, a top-notch sports bar with good food and every game you would want to watch on TV. Most burgers and sandwiches are around $8-$10. There is also a rack of ribs coming in at just under $20.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one of my all-time fav restaurants, Frisch’s Big Boy on Colonel Glenn across from Wright State’s main entrance. A Big Boy sandwich, onion rings, a hot fudge sundae, and a cherry Coke, all for about $11.

Fans 3

The game I attended, there were 6,000 people in the Nutter Center and it was a pretty good atmosphere. There were over 1,000 students and they were making noise all game. The band, the dance team, and cheerleaders are exactly what you would expect from a good college program. Wright State just needs more fans for every game. They have this nice arena and most nights it is only half-full at best.

Access 4

The Nutter Center is about as easy to get to as an arena. It is right off of I-675 at the Fairfield Road exit. Once fans turn north on Fairfield Road, in two blocks it runs right into the Nutter Center. Fans roll right in because parking is included in the price of the ticket, so no stopping to pay an attendant. There is no fast way to get out when the game is over, so hanging out in the arena for a few minutes would save some aggravation.There are plenty of large, clean restrooms on the concourse level, with a smaller restroom on the court level just outside the open end of the seating bowl.

Return on Investment 5

Tickets range between $8-$28. For most games tickets are $8 and $18. They use flex pricing, so for several games, they charge more. Don’t go through Ticketmaster, they will crack you for another $7.25. Buy them in person at the Nutter Center Box Office or from someone trying to unload a ticket at less than face value on game day.The ticket prices are average, as previously mentioned there is no charge for parking and the food costs are not too bad. So you could get a ticket and eat well for under $30 for most games.

Extras 3

I will award a star for the great design of the seating bowl in the Nutter Center. Another for the corner over-looks and finally a star for Fricker’s Above the Rim.

Final Thoughts

As a comfortable venue to watch college basketball, one that has good sightlines, competitive play on the court and most of the amenities of a very good college arena, Wright State is first class. They just need another 2,000-3,000 fans at each game to make it really come alive. The hardest part, the physical structure is certainly there, now they just need to win big, pack the arena and the Nutt House could be one of the top college basketball venues and fan destinations in the country similar to Xavier and Dayton.

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