Photos by Richard Smith, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.86
SECU Arena Auburn Drive Towson, MD 21252
Year Opened: 2013
Towson University is the second-largest public university in the State of Maryland. Located just north of Baltimore, it is home to approximately 21,000 college students, of which 18,000 are undergraduates. Their football team played for the 2013 Football Championship Subdivision National Championship, falling short to North Dakota State and their basketball team has also had scattered success over the years, most notably in the early 1990s under coach Terry Truax. Towson is also known for their impressive gymnastics program. They have been the 1968 AIAW Division II National Champions, 1995 and 1998 USA Gymnastics NIT Champions, 3-time Calloway Invitational Champions, 15-time ECAC Champions, and 2007 USA Gymnastics National Champions.
The Tigers play in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA). The volleyball team has been one of the dominant programs in the CAA recently.
Towson has really stepped up recently in all sports with their athletic program. A major step forward was moving out of the depressing Towson Center and into the shiny new SECU Arena in 2013. I personally have many great memories of the Towson Center, as I worked there for a few years during college. It certainly had personality, but frankly, it was not a well-designed facility and was showing its age dramatically. During the last year of operation, one of the bleacher sections would not even fully expand. Towson Center is still technically around, as the new arena and the old building are merged together, with locker rooms inside the old building.
Food & Beverage 1
The SECU Arena really has subpar food offerings. There is a single concession stand open for volleyball matches offering no real variety and sometimes with a large line. Prices are not great, with $6.25 for a hot dog and $5.25 for a Pepsi. Pretzels are $4.50, and popcorn is $4.50. Please eat before coming to SECU Arena.
The lowered seating bowl of SECU Arena makes the sound seem to pop here. It can be pretty loud.
It may take time, but this place can be a loud arena. The stands surround the court. The upper seating areas of SECU Arena are not open for volleyball matches.
Besides Johnny Unitas Stadium and the old Towson Center Arena, there is nothing right by the arena. Even though you may have to drive to most places, Towson is a semi-urban environment with a very large shopping mall and numerous restaurants in the area. Try the Charles Village Pub in the heart of downtown Towson for good food and drinks. Some other great options are Glory Days Grill, Sushi Hana, and Zia’s.
Baltimore is also a quick drive away. Check out the Federal Hill neighborhood, south of the Inner Harbor. There are a few fun restaurants and bars here. Abbey Burger Bistro is one great choice. The beer selection is good, and they offer a dizzying array of burger choices, which are all likely to satisfy.
Volleyball matches tend to get a small crowd made up of mostly friends and family. The match we attended was part of a tournament and featured the Tigers playing a team from the Big Ten Conference so the crowd was much larger and louder than usual. It was also apparently the largest volleyball crowd attendance in school history. Stadium Journey does make history!
Towson is located right off the Baltimore Beltway/I-695. The only negative is that Towson is a maze of roads getting to the Osler and Auburn location of the sports complexes. Parking is free and plentiful, although the closest lots are reserved for those buying season passes for access to them.
Return on Investment 4
Tickets start at $5 for special matches, but even the normal price makes for a good investment.
Doc the Tiger is a good mascot, providing entertainment for all ages. Stop at the Tiger statue outside of the arena during pregame, as it is a great meeting spot.
If you get a chance, you should stop into the old Towson Center to see how much better the new facility is than the one they left.
SECU Arena is a very nicely designed arena for a mid-major volleyball program. If the crowd were to come to support the team a bit more the building could be an intimidating place for opponents to play.