- Brian Wilmer
Ross E. Templeton Center - Presbyterian Blue Hose
Photo by Brian Wilmer, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.57
Ross E. Templeton Center 105 Ashland Ave Clinton, SC 29325
Presbyterian Blue Hose website Ross E. Templeton Center website
Year Opened: 1975 Capacity: 2,300
While We Live, We Serve
For those who have never paid a visit to the Palmetto State, they likely primarily know of the state's two "flagship" schools, Clemson and South Carolina. Interstate 26 makes up much of the drive between the two schools, as it takes drivers from Columbia west to Interstate 385, which heads toward Greenville and Interstate 85, which heads southwest toward Clemson. Just before the exit to 385, there's an exit sign for Presbyterian College.
The school's roots trace all the way back to 1880, but the 2012-13 season marked the first full season at the Division I level for Presbyterian basketball. The Blue Hose have many banners hanging from the rafters, honoring the school's success at the Division II level. The banners they earn from here out will hang alongside the many others already on display in the Templeton Center, Presbyterian basketball's home since 1975. While the facility may never host a Final Four or huge concert tours, it is certainly an interesting place to take in a game.
Food & Beverage 1
The concession menu at the Templeton Center is rather limited, which may help with your decision-making process. Hot dogs ($2.50) and popcorn ($1.50) are your only real dining options, with candy ($1.50) serving as "dessert." Bottled Pepsi products ($2.50) are available to wash down your food.
It should be noted that the concessions are cash-only, and the closest ATM is over two miles away in downtown Clinton. The ability to pay with credit card or access an ATM in the facility would be a nice touch, as very few people - especially students - travel with much cash in their wallets. If you are one of these people and plan to enjoy the concessions, be sure to grab a few dollars before leaving the house. You'll also need those dollars to buy a ticket at the door.
There is very little confusion in finding your seat at a Presbyterian home game. There are two entries into the gym, with a door on the same side as the team benches and a door on the opposite side. Seating is essentially first-come, first-served bleacher seating, with a few seats specially marked as reserved. This allows you to control how close you sit to the floor, though there is really not a bad place in the gym. Be careful if you climb the bleachers, however, as the rise to each level is a bit steep, and there are no handrails past the first couple of rows.
The gym features scoreboards on opposite ends of the floor, with fairly standard information (score, time remaining, team fouls, time outs remaining and a few other items) displayed on each board. There is no problem with seeing either board from anywhere in the facility, but with most other Big South Conference schools displaying information on electronic boards at center court or on scoreboards hung above center court, these might be upgrades the school investigates down the line. The time and shot clock also prominently display atop each backboard, so this information is easy to monitor.
Presbyterian offers a small pep band that plays atop the bleachers furthest toward the back left from the gym entrance. Though the group's numbers are few, they are prominently heard throughout the gym during many of the breaks in the action.
No matter how cold the temperature may be outside, it is recommended to shed your jacket once you step through the doors of the Templeton Center. The gym gets extremely hot during games, so if you are not prepared, you may find yourself sweating. Grab a short-sleeved shirt to go under that jacket before leaving the house.
We must finally mention one of the more amusing mascots in all of college sports, Scotty the Scotsman. Scotty is a huge hit with kids and adults alike, and it's really tough not to smile and laugh at his antics. When he isn't dancing along with the music during a break, he's posing for photos with children or fist-bumping random camera operators, If you get to a Blue Hose game, find Scotty and ask for a picture or a high-five.
Presbyterian is located in downtown Clinton, which is very similar to many other smaller South Carolina towns. The campus is beautiful and historic, making for a great place to go for a quiet walk and take in the scenery. What you gain in quiet and small-town atmosphere, however, you will lose in proximity of a great number of amenities.
Whiteford's Drive-In is a local favorite in Clinton. The location in Clinton has been in the area for greater than 50 years, and is the go-to place for fried chicken, chili dogs and other local Southern fare. Senor Garcia Mexican and Dempsey's are among the other small grouping of options in Clinton. The town of Laurens is approximately 10 minutes away, with a few more chain offerings. Spartanburg is a half-hour away, with Greenville about 45-50 minutes. These two larger cities offer plenty of big-city benefits in a reasonable amount of drive time.
Presbyterian has been in the Big South for several years now, but the atmosphere has yet to develop. The game we attended was Senior Night for the Blue Hose, but the announced crowd was just over 400. Fans are involved -- particularly the friends and family who come to support their favorites -- but there is no real student section of which to speak, providing little to no home-court advantage.
With the gymnasium setting in the Templeton Center, it stands to reason that it could get very loud and create quite the atmosphere for Blue Hose basketball. The school is in its infancy in Division I and the Big South Conference, however, and it may take several years of winning and the establishment of rivalries - perhaps with fellow Palmetto State school and Big South participant Charleston Southern - for this advantage to truly develop. The emotions of the students help drive the players, which is part of what makes college sports so intoxicating to watch. One would hope that the students come to realize their role in helping to build the program and come out to make noise for their team.
Flying in to visit Presbyterian may present a bit of a challenge. The closest airports are Greenville-Spartanburg (GSP) and Columbia (CAE), with both about an hour from campus. Clinton is accessible from Greenville-Spartanburg from the west via South Carolina Interstates 385 and 26, with Columbia accessible from the east via 26. South Carolina Highways 56, 72 and 308 serve Clinton, along with US Highway 76 (Carolina Avenue).
Once you arrive in Clinton, be sure to map to the address we provide for Templeton Center, or you may find yourself being taken somewhere else in the downtown area. If your GPS cannot locate the address, map to the intersection of East Maple and Ashland, and the Templeton Center is just ahead on the right on Ashland. Street parking is easily available along Ashland, with surface lots surrounding the Templeton Center. Parking is free and easily available for even the largest crowd the Templeton Center may serve.
The lobby of the Templeton Center is somewhat compact, with ticket sales, concessions and bathrooms all within feet of each other. Be careful when going to purchase tickets, however, as the ticket sales tables - like the concessions - do not take credit cards. Cash or check are the only options to purchase tickets at the gate, and there is no online ticketing option. As the school's program continues to grow, the ability to use credit cards and buy tickets online would be great additions for fan convenience.
The restrooms are just steps outside the gym in the lobby. They are a bit older, but are certainly clean and well-kept. Lines are never a problem, whether it be at the concession stands or in the restrooms. It should also be noted that the lobby is somewhat of a gathering place during the halftime break, with cheerleaders, fans and students often congregating in the lobby to talk and consume concession items before returning to the gym for the second half.
Return on Investment 5
Assuming you have cash in your wallet, seeing a Presbyterian basketball game is one of the more wallet-friendly things available in this day and age. General admission seats are just $6, which is virtually unheard of for Division I basketball. The Big South Conference is a highly competitive "mid-major" conference, so a high-quality opponent is a virtual certainty for much of the season. Those high-quality opponents can be seen for less than the cost of a meal at a fast food restaurant.
Parking is free outside the Templeton Center, which is yet another great value. Fans can purchase a general admission ticket, a hot dog, a soda and parking for $10. With value like this, there is no reason not to visit the Templeton Center.
There is not a real program of sorts at Presbyterian games, but a single-sheet roster and stat sheet is available at the table as you enter the facility. Though there is not a lot of biographical information on these sheets, they do afford you the opportunity to keep up with the players on each team and keep score of the game as it progresses.
We mentioned the lobby layout, but there is one feature we have yet to discuss. The athletic offices are just off the lobby of the Templeton Center, as are a number of medals, trophies, photos and other monuments to Presbyterian's past athletic successes. Some of the medals date back over 80 years, and provide a great history lesson about some of those who have starred on the field and court in the college's history. Be sure to take a quick walk down the halls of the main lobby and take in the reminders of past years that surround you.
We are witnessing a trend in athletic facilities. Schools are employing larger and more modern facilities with all the amenities and trappings money can buy. There is great charm and character, though, in smaller towns and smaller facilities, especially now. The huge arenas will always draw people and be desired destinations, but on your way to one of those big arenas, hop off the superhighway and pay a school like Presbyterian a visit. You are sure to meet great people who truly appreciate your visit, and after all, that's the most important amenity you can have.