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  • Writer's pictureMatt Colville

Reed Green Coliseum – Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles

Photos by Matt Colville, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.43

Reed Green Coliseum 112 M. K. Turk Circle Hattiesburg, MS 39406

Year Opened: 1965

Capacity: 8,095


The Eagle's Nest at the Yurt

In the Hub City of Hattiesburg lies the University of Southern Mississippi. The men’s basketball team here has experienced some success on the hardwood since their first season in 1912-13, including appearing in the NAIA National Tournament four times in the 1950s, as well as appearing in three NCAA Tournaments (1990, 1991, and 2012).

In 2022 a new era began for Southern Miss athletics as they joined the Sun Belt Conference, after competing in Conference USA for 27 seasons, winning one C-USA Championship. In their first year in the Sun Belt the Golden Eagles would take the conference by storm, winning the Sun Belt Conference regular season title, but the Golden Eagles would experience their most success as members of the Metro Conference from 1982-1995, with their biggest feat winning the 1987 NIT Championship.

Since 1965 the Golden Eagles have competed on campus at Reed Green Coliseum. The building is named after long-time Southern Miss Athletic Director and three-sport coach Reed Green, but the arena is known by Golden Eagle faithful as ‘The Yurt’. It is small, yet all the seats are close to the action, and there is not a bad view from anywhere in the building.


Food & Beverage   3

The Yurt has two permanent concessions stands, both located on the same side at the north entrance. The aptly named Eagles Bites stand features reasonable prices but a small menu – hamburgers or sausage dogs ($7), hot dogs, nachos, or boiled peanuts ($5), and candy ($3) are your options. You can also order a hot dog, hamburger, or sausage combo that comes with a Southern Miss souvenir cup for $10. For beverages, Coca-Cola is the official provider with 22 oz drinks costing $5, or you can get the souvenir cup for $7. If you purchase the souvenir cup you will get $1 refills throughout the game.

Reed Green Coliseum also has a side stand located off in a corridor on the east side of the building, called Black and Gold, which sells pulled pork or brisket sandwiches for $5, popcorn for $3, and a few other items. Alcohol is available at all three stands here, with 16 oz domestic cans selling for $5 (Miller, Coors, and Michelob Ultra) while premium cans are $7. Southern Miss also partners with the local Southern Prohibition Brewery which serves their signature Gold Rush beer – this beer is available for $8 and features a black and gold can with the Southern Miss logo, and when shown under the light you can see a hologram of the M. M. Roberts Stadium, home of Southern Miss football.   


Atmosphere   3

Yurt is Turkish for "tent-like cover”, and as it turns out the first thing you notice upon entering Reed Green Coliseum from the outside is its large tin dome-shaped roof. In addition, they recently re-did the lighting system so the roof of the building stands out instantly, explaining the nickname. The coliseum goes by several other nicknames as well, such as Green House and NITChampsburg, honoring the 1987 NIT Champions.

Upon entering the arena you’ll see that all the seats are built below ground level – all 8,095 seats are located on one level, so there is not a bad view from anywhere in the building. You enter along the concourse and walk down to your seat; the main entrance is on the north side of Reed Green Coliseum, but you can enter the building from wherever, as there are doors on all sides of the building with ushers present. The arena has one wraparound concourse with views of the court from everywhere you walk except for the concessions area. The seating bowl features about 25 rows of seats; over half the seats are wooden bench seating, while the black and gold chairback seats are located on the north side of the facility in five black and gold alternating sections.

The Golden Eagles have only made three NCAA Tournament appearances, not winning any of those tournaments, but you wouldn’t be able to tell it here. Just walking around Reed Green Coliseum you can tell the Athletic Department takes great pride in the history of the men’s and women’s basketball programs. Along the concourse is a trophy case with trophies dating back to the Metro Conference days, and both the men’s and women’s teams have banners that wrap all around the ceiling of the building – the main banner that stands out is the 1987 NIT Champions banner on the south side of the arena.

The Yurt also recently installed two video boards in the end courts and they take advantage of this by frequently playing videos and replays on the video boards. The court faces east and west with the student section located on the west end court.   The court is also illuminated well, with the state of Mississippi painted at center court and the Golden Eagles logo located where Hattiesburg is in relation to the rest of the state.


Neighborhood   3

Hattiesburg (aka The Burg) is a decent-sized city of about 50,000 people, so it has everything you could want in a city, but still retains that college town feel. The Burg has a wide selection of bars and restaurants, but unlike most college towns they are not located near each other – instead they are spread out throughout the city. A cool little spot nearby to check out is the Long Leaf Trace; what was once a railroad is now a paved trail that runs right through campus. It is possible to get on the Trace and ride a bike into the city. A couple of places within walking distance to campus from the Trace are places like Patio 44, Brewsky's, and 4th Street Bar – if you are looking for vintage Southern Miss memorabilia then 4th Street Bar is your place.

Another popular spot on the Trace about a half mile away from campus is Colludium Brewing Company, Hattiesburg's newest brewery. Colludium has a nice outdoor patio overlooking the Trace, and makes for a great spot to have a beer before the game. Closer to downtown you'll find popular spots like Keg & Barrel, The Porter, Hattiesburger, Fairley Wings, and Nostalgia.

As a southern city, Hattiesburg has its fair share of restaurants centered on the local fare; popular spots include Crescent City Grill, Brass Hat, Midtown, Chesterfields, Ed's Burger Joint, Stricks, and Murky Waters BBQ. There is also plenty to for all ages – for families there's the Hattiesburg Zoo and Serenghetti Springs Water Park. Downtown also features the popular Pocket Museum, Mississippi's tiniest museum; located in an alleyway downtown, the popular museum has a different theme each month (we can't tell you where the alley is because part of the charm of the Pocket Museum is being able to find it).

For shopping there are plenty of chain stores as well as Turtle Creek Mall, while another popular spot is the Lucky Rabbit – located downtown, Lucky Rabbit is a two-story vintage thrift store with tons of antiques and local Southern Miss memorabilia. Or if you are into the outdoors, in addition to Long Leaf Trace there is Paul B. Johnson State Park, just south of Hattiesburg and an excellent spot for camping. In addition, another popular pastime is rafting down the Okatoma River that runs right through Hattiesburg, all the way to the Coast. 


Fans   4

It is a new era for Southern Miss basketball since joining the Sun Belt Conference in 2022 – the once lowly basketball program has experienced a great turnaround over the past two years. In their first year in the conference the Golden Eagles unexpectedly won the Sun Belt Conference regular season, and there's been a certain buzz in the air in Hattiesburg about Southern Miss hoops ever since; fans are now returning to the Yurt for the first time in years. The Golden Eagles are averaging 4,000 fans per home game this season, compared to 3,700 fans per game last year, including the largest crowd in Southern Miss basketball history ever, with over 8,000 fans attending the game.

Reed Green Coliseum has also turned into a tough place to play for visiting teams; last year Southern Miss team went undefeated at home with a record of 15-0. When school is in session games here have a big turnout from the students as well, although during Christmas break games there are not a lot of students. The band also doesn't attend certain games when school isn't going on either, but when the students show up it can be a pretty loud and intimidating place to play.

The Golden Eagles also do a good job keeping fans engaged, with many contests and giveaways during timeouts and during halftime. The staff also has a lot of promotions on the court where they give away gift cards, as well as have free throw contests, three-point contests, and a putting game where you can sign up to win prizes. Seymour, the Golden Eagle mascot, is there in full force as well, interacting with fans and kids. The school president Joe Paul is a constant presence at games too, and can often be found mingling with students or walking up and down the aisles shaking fans’ hands. When Dr. Paul walks out the fans scream his name and cheer, something I've never seen a fanbase do for a school president.


Access   4

You will not miss the campus when coming into town, as the campus is located right on the corner of Highway 49 and Hardy Street, the two main roads through the city. Interstate 55 runs to Hardy Street on the west side of town, so you could use that exit as well, but traffic might be backed up on Hardy Street.

Reed Green Coliseum is on the back side of campus at the 4th Street entrance. There is plenty of parking right next to the venue, but this is reserved for season ticket holders and people who have chairback seat tickets.

However, there are two free lots you can park and walk to the venue from – the Pride Field lot on the other side of the volleyball facility has plenty of parking, and Thad Cochran Center closer to the football stadium has plenty of free parking as well. The Union also has a large metered parking lot right across from Pride Field.

Once inside the building there is plenty of room to move around, and you can leave the venue and come back again, as the no re-entry rule is not enforced.


Return on Investment   3

Tickets for a Golden Eagles basketball game can be found for $11 in the wooden seat section, or $22 in the black and gold chairback seats. The atmosphere is laid back here for most games, though, so it is possible to move around and sit wherever you want. I would consider a trip to the Green House a great experience and one I recommend – it is a very cozy and intimate place to play without a bad view anywhere, so wherever you sit you are going to get great views of the court.


Extras   4

Southern Miss has had five players play in the NBA or ABA, including two players from the 1987 NIT Championship team (journeyman Joe Courtney and 1987 first-round pick Randolph Keys, who had a six-year NBA career). ABA champion and 2-time ABA all-star Wendell Ladner had a prominent career at Southern Miss in the late 1960s as well, but perhaps the program's best player was Clarence Weatherspoon, who played here from 1988-1992 and would follow it up with a 14-year career in the NBA – Weatherspoon and Ladner have banners hanging from the rafters at Reed Green Coliseum.

Another extra for the area outside the Coliseum being named NITChampsburg Field. There is also a small gathering area, intramural fields, and a few disc golf baskets located near this area, which is located on the west side of the coliseum.

Reed Green Coliseum is also the largest indoor multi-purpose venue in Hattiesburg, so has played host to some top acts such as Willie Nelson, Heart, Jimmy Buffett, the Beach Boys, Bob Dylan, ZZ Top, Billy Joel, the Doobie Brothers, and WWE, all of whom have visited The Yurt over the years.

The Southern Miss campus is also a nice campus to walk around before the game – giant oaks surround the beautiful Greek column buildings on campus. Some of my favorite sights on campus include the All-American Rose Garden and the giant eagle sculpture at the front entrance, or just walking or riding down the Long Leaf Trace. Lastly, the Hub at the center of campus is where Jimmy Buffett could be seen playing his guitar in between classes, as a student here in the late 1960s.


Final Thoughts

The Southern Miss basketball program may not be the first thing that comes to mind when talking about college basketball in the State of Mississippi – with a program that has only made three NCAA Tournament appearances, the Golden Eagles are often a forgotten program, and sometimes take a back seat to the Southern Miss baseball program in terms of fan support, even in Hattiesburg.

However, with its ample access, laid back atmosphere, great views, and cheap ticket prices, coming to a Southern Miss basketball game makes for a great experience; the program is on the rise and the best it's been in over 20 years. I highly recommend coming here to any basketball fan in Mississippi – after all, the Golden Eagles do have an NIT Championship on their resume, and that’s something its counterparts up the road in Starkville and Oxford have yet to accomplish. Southern Mississippi to the top!


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