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  • Writer's picturePaul Baker

Red Auerbach Arena - Brandeis Judges

Photos by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.71


Red Auerbach Arena

415 South Street

Waltham, MA 02453



Year Opened: 1992

Capacity: 2,500


Here Come the Judges

 

Brandeis University is a private research university located in the Boston suburb of Waltham. Founded in 1948 as a Jewish-sponsored secular institution, it is named after Louis Brandeis, the first Jewish Justice of the Supreme Court. The school has a total enrollment of just under 6,000 students and is best known for its research, neuroscience, and economics programs. Brandeis has numerous notable alumni, including multiple Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize winners.

 

The Judges (an appropriate nickname for the athletic squads considering that the school is named after a Supreme Court Justice) play at Red Auerbach Arena in the Gosman Sports and Convocation Center. The Boston Celtics used Brandeis as their preseason and practice facility from 1991-1999, and the Auerbach Arena remains a reminder of these days. The larger Gosman Center contains indoor training facilities for many of the school’s athletic teams.

 

Eight Brandeis men’s basketball teams have qualified for the NCAA Division Three tournament, reaching the Elite Eight in 2008 and 2010. Four women’s teams have also played in the tournament. The program is notable for the fact that three former Boston Celtics (K.C. Jones, Bob Brannum, and Chris Ford) have served as head coaches for the Judges.

 

Food & Beverage 0

 

There are no concessions sold at Brandeis basketball games. There are a pair of vending machines in the Gosman Center lobby, but neither one was operational during Stadium Journey’s visit. Fans are welcome to bring in their snacks to enjoy during the games.

 

Atmosphere 2

 

The Red Auerbach Arena is located inside the Gosman Sports and Convocation Center, which also contains many of Brandeis’ athletic training and fitness facilities. The basketball court is placed in the middle of an indoor track and several tennis courts. Curtains are hung from the ceiling to eliminate the large open spaces beyond the basketball court and to create an arena setting. Despite the comfy enclosure, the court feels empty and cold.

 

A scoreboard hangs at the center court which displays basic game information. There is no pep band, cheerleading squad, or dance team present at Brandeis games, and a meager turnout from the student body. While there is a good turnout from local fans and family members, any noise created by these fans is swallowed up by the vast emptiness of the facility.

 

A highlight of a game at Red Auerbach Arena is the presence of the Brandeis mascot, a judge (who kind of looks like Carl from the movie Up), who wanders the court wearing a proper judicial robe and carrying a large gavel, which he uses to bonk the occasional fan on the head. There are portable speakers on the far side of the court that play music during play stoppages. The PA announcer goes about their work unobtrusively, avoiding the over-the-top antics so common today, even in smaller gymnasiums.

 



Neighborhood 4

 

Waltham is a suburban city located 13 miles to the west of Boston. It was an early center for the labor movement in America and a focal location for the Industrial Revolution. Today the city has a population of 65,000 residents and is a center for research and higher education. Waltham was ranked as the 13th best place to live in America by Money Magazine.

 

For visiting fans, nearby Moody Street contains a collection of international shops and restaurants, as well as the Embassy Cinema and Charles Riverwalk. The Waltham Tourism Council has an extensive listing of nearby food and lodging options. Of course, if visiting from out of town, you may be considering a trip to nearby Boston, where the list of options is nearly endless.

 

Fans 2

 

A perusal of the box scores from Brandeis’ 2023-24 season shows the listed attendance at every home game to be exactly 175. Every game. All season. What a coincidence! Seriously, since Brandeis doesn’t charge admission, there’s no reason for an exact head count at their games. A look around the gym during Stadium Journey’s visit showed this number to be a pretty good estimate.

 

The crowd at Judges games is certainly what we call here at Stadium Journey to be a “friends and family” type of crowd. Most of the fans in attendance seem to have a personal connection with the players on the court and are knowledgeable about the team and enthusiastic in their support. The fans in attendance make up for the lack of support from the student body. Surprisingly, despite the wide geographic footprint of the UAA, there was a big turnout of visiting fans during the day of Stadium Journey’s visit.

 



Access 4

 

The Gosman Center is fairly easy to get to, especially by Boston standards. The campus is located in suburban Waltham, 13 miles to the west of downtown Boston. Located near the intersection of Interstates 95 (also known as Route 128) and 90 (the Mass Pike), the Brandeis campus is easy to find whether driving or accessing public transportation.

 

The Brandeis/Roberts T station is under a half mile from the Gosman Center via the MBTA’s Fitchburg Commuter Rail. The 553 bus has a stop right outside the athletic complex. If visiting Brandeis on a weeknight, be sure to give yourself a little extra time to arrive no matter what your chosen transportation method.

 

Red Auerbach Arena is located inside the Gosman Sports and Convocation Center, located alongside Brandeis’ other athletic facilities on the southeastern edge of campus. Fans will enter into a small, but bright lobby. The basketball court will be located to your right.

 

Seating is on one side of the basketball court, consisting of molded plastic bleachers. Fans will enter at the top of the bleachers and walk down to their seats. There is some standing room at the top of the bleachers. Restrooms located in the lobby are small but clean.

 

For fans who are interested in seeing where the Celtics used to practice, the Shapiro Gymnasium is down the hallway behind the bleachers. There are no signs that the Celtics ever played here except for Red Auerbach’s name on the court.

 

Return on Investment 5

 

There is no charge for admission to Brandeis basketball games. During conference play, you can watch both the men's and women’s teams compete. That’s two games for the price of none!

 

Parking is free in the lot adjacent to the Gosman Center, meaning you will not have to reach for your wallet even once when at a Judges basketball game.

 



Extras 2

 

Banners hang inside Red Auerbach Arena honoring NCAA tournament appearances from all of Brandeis’ athletic teams. National Championship teams (1976 men’s soccer and 1983 men’s cross country) have their banners hanging over the seating area, along with Brandeis’ first basketball team to qualify for the NCAA tournament, in 1958.

 

The Brandeis Athletic Hall of Fame is located in the hallway behind Red Auerbach Arena, adjacent to the Shapiro Gymnasium.

 

The fact that the Boston Celtics used this facility as their practice facility from 1991-1999 and retains the name of NBA legendary coach and general manager Red Auerbach is worth an extra point.

 

Final Thoughts

 

Fans visiting Red Auerbach Arena expecting to get a history lesson about the Celtics teams who frequented the facility in the 90s will be disappointed, but it remains a solid, if unspectacular, place to catch some quality Division Three basketball.


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



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