top of page
  • Writer's picturePaul Baker

Ray Oosting Gymnasium - Trinity Bantams


Photos by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey


Stan Ogrodnick Court at Ray Oosting Gymnasium

300 Summit St.

Hartford, CT 06106



Year Opened: 1969

Capacity: 2,200


The Bantams R. Oosting Place

 

Trinity College was founded in 1823 as Washington College. It is the second oldest college in the state of Connecticut. With an enrollment of 2,200 students, Trinity offers majors in 41 fields of study. The college, with an all-male enrollment until 1969, was ranked as the 12th best liberal arts college in the country by Forbes magazine in 2022. Trinity is known as an early example of Collegiate Gothic architecture in the United States.

 

Basketball was first played at Trinity College in Hartford, CT in 1894. Players from the college would play other teams at the local YMCA. In 1897 Trinity upgraded to games against other colleges (Yale and Wesleyan). Official intercollegiate play began in 1905.

 

Today the Bantams compete in Division III’s New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC). Over the years Trinity has qualified for ten NCAA D-3 Tournaments, reaching the Final Four in 1995. The women’s basketball team has played in three tournaments, reaching the Elite 8 in 2023.

 

The Bantams basketball teams play at the Stan Ogrodnick Court at the Ray Oosting Gymnasium. Oosting coached the Bantams from 1924-1957, and Ogrodnick from 1981-2008. Ogrodnick boasted a record of 469-186 during his time at Trinity, holding the school’s all-time win record.

 

Food & Beverage 0

 

There were no concessions available during Stadium Journey’s visit, despite it occurring at Trinity’s Holiday Tournament. We’re not sure if this is typical at a Bantams game, but no concession area space was noticed in the facility during our visit. Fans were welcome to bring in their refreshments during the game.

 

Atmosphere 2

 

Trinity College is well-known for its architecture and beautiful campus. The Ferris Athletic Center, which houses Oosting Gymnasium and other athletic facilities, does not share this aesthetic. The building is a fascinating mashup of old and new.


To reach the gym, one passes through the older exterior to a newly renovated student lounge to a small lobby filled with mementos of over a century of competition. Then, you pass through the gym doors into the 1970s. Almost everything inside the gym is colored in Trinity’s blue and yellow, with the school’s rooster mascot adorning the floors and walls throughout.

 

Unfortunately, much of what you find in the Oosting Gym feels like it’s from the 70s. Music and PA announcements are made over a substandard sound system. The PA announcer strangely only announces baskets. When you notice that her perch is located 15 feet above the court, you quickly understand why she isn’t able to pick up all the game calls consistently.

 

Stadium Journey attended a game during the semester break, which understandably held down representation from the student body and overall attendance, even though we visited during their annual holiday tournament and the team was ranked in the top 10 nationally.


It’s quite possible that the atmosphere and crowd kicks up a notch or two when school is in session. During our visit, the crowd was very quiet and reserved. There were no cheerleaders, pep band, or mascot to help liven up the proceedings.




 

Neighborhood 2

 

Trinity College is an urban campus, located in the Barry Square neighborhood of Hartford. Much is made about the dangerousness of the area surrounding the campus. While the area shares many of the same problems as other urban neighborhoods, the campus is very self-contained and safe. And being only a mile or two from downtown Hartford and its attractions is a plus.

 

People may not think of Hartford as a destination location, but there is much to see and do in Connecticut’s capital city. Among the attractions located a short distance from Trinity College is The Old State House, which contains exhibits on Hartford's history.


Tours are discounted for AAA members and will cost history buffs a mere $3. The State Capitol and Bushnell Park are popular attractions located nearby (Trinity College trivial fact: this was the original site of the college before they moved to make way for the capitol building in 1872).


The Mark Twain House and Museum and the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center are both located just a short drive from the downtown area. Check out Hartford.com for more information. Of course, you can always catch a game at the XL Center or Dunkin’ Park should schedules line up.

 

Fans 3

 

As mentioned earlier, Stadium Journey visited the Oosting Gymnasium during the semester break. While there was a decent crowd in attendance, the absence of the student body was noticeable. Looking at box scores over the season, the Bantams draw crowds that are comparable to other small schools in the area.


Here at Stadium Journey we like to call these smallish crowds “friends and family” crowds, as most of the fans in attendance seem to have a personal connection with the athletes on the court. Fans are generally knowledgeable and passionate, without being rowdy. Since the NESCAC’s geographic footprint is small, it’s not unusual to see a good turnout by visiting fans in the building.

 

Access 3

 

Oosting Gymnasium is located in the Ferris Athletic Center at the center of the Trinity College campus. In addition to the gymnasium, the Ferris Center contains the school’s field house, squash center, natatorium, fitness center, and varsity weight rooms. The school’s outdoor athletic facilities are located in the immediate area.

 

Trinity College is one of the few liberal arts colleges located in an urban setting in the nation. With downtown located two miles away from campus and Interstate 84 just a mile away, the campus is fairly easy to get to if driving. If utilizing public transportation, CT Transit’s 61, 39, and 41 buses all have stops near the Ferris Center.

 

There is not a lot of parking right around the Ferris Center. If visiting during the day, this isn’t a bad thing, as this beautiful campus is a great place for a stroll. Upon entering the facility, fans will pass through a remodeled student lounge before entering the gymnasium’s lobby and passing through the blue and yellow doors into the gym.

 

All seating is on one side of the court and consists of molded plastic bleachers. Lower rows have some uncomfortable-looking plastic seats. In this cozy gym, you’ll have a good view no matter where you sit.



Return on Investment 5

 

There was no charge for admission to a Bantams basketball game. Again, Stadium Journey attended Trinity’s Holiday Tournament during the semester break, so we’re not sure if this is standard procedure. With free parking on site and no concessions, you won’t reach for your wallet once during a Bantam basketball game.

 

Extras 5

 

In a gym as old as Oosting at a school as old as Trinity, there’s going to be some history. And Trinity College displays its history proudly. Take some time to check out the trophy cases in the lobby, where a century-plus of hardware is displayed with pride. You’ll be amazed at how many rooster-shaped trophies they have!

 

Hanging from the rafters above Ogrodnick Court are banners honoring Bantam tournament appearances, conference championships, and milestone achievements in men’s basketball, women’s basketball, and volleyball.

 

Right at the entrance to the Ferris Center are a cluster of bricks and a cornerstone, which were taken from Alumni Hall, the school’s first gymnasium, built in 1887. The Bantams played there until a fire destroyed the building in 1967.


The Trinity mascot, the Bantam, deserves at least one extra point. There’s a display in the lobby honoring its creator, the Honorable Joseph Buffington. Once you enter the gym, the Bantam logo is everywhere, including a pair of giant representations on the gym walls.



Final Thoughts

 

The Ray Oosting Gymnasium is a fascinating mix of old and new, while appearing in many ways to have frozen in time in the 1970s. Despite the gaudy décor, this is a great place to visit, take in some small-college basketball history, and catch some quality hoops at the most affordable price.

 

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

239 views0 comments
bottom of page