Sharp Gymnasium – Houston Baptist Huskies
Photos by Eric Moreno, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.14
Sharp Gymnasium 7502 Fondren Rd Houston, TX 77074
Year Opened: 1964
Welcome to the Dawg Pound
Houston Baptist University opened as a private non-secular university in 1960; their athletics program started the same year, and from then until 1990 the Huskies were members of the NCAA, and their basketball team made the Big Dance in 1984. After 1990 the school moved to the NAIA and were a perennial powerhouse; HBU made the NAIA Tournament 10 years in a row from 1998-2007.
HBU ultimately moved back to the NCAA, and now compete as members of the Southland Conference, where they have made the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) and CollegeInsider.com Postseason tournaments. For the majority of the school’s history, the Huskies have played within the friendly confines of the Frank and Lucille Sharp Gymnasium. While small in size, Sharp Gymnasium should not be overlooked!
Food & Beverage 2
“Bare bones” is the best way to describe your concessions options at Sharp Gymnasium – there are none of the bells and whistles that you might find at a larger Division I college basketball arena. What you will find are the basics: hot dogs ($3), sausage wraps ($5), popcorn, candy, chips, and canned sodas, as well as bottled water and sports drinks (everything is $2 except the hot dogs and sausage wraps).
There is only one concessions stand at Sharp Gymnasium, and it is located near the arena’s main entrance. This is important to note, as there tends to be a bottleneck in the area during breaks and at halftime when many fans traditionally make their concessions stand run. Also important to note is that credit cards can only be used with a $5 minimum purchase.
While there is not much of a selection or variety, what is offered should get you through games just fine at Sharp Gymnasium.
Capacity at Sharp Gymnasium is 1,000 people; as this might infer, the facility is not cavernous in the slightest. However, this does not detract from the overall atmosphere at all. Because of its size, fans and game attendees are virtually right on top of the on-court action, and the close proximity amplifies the energy and sound of the crowd exponentially.
The banners lining the walls and rafters of Sharp Gymnasium speak to the proud history and tradition that the Huskies have forged. This is felt by the fans in the stands; they cheer, bark, and do a “Paws Up” sign during free throw attempts – it is an infectious energy that permeates the arena.
One caveat to be aware of though – again because of the size, a small visiting team crowd will also have their energy and noise amplified, so even a relatively miniscule group of visitors will come off as extremely vocal.
Space City – aka Houston – is flat out one of the country’s great cities. There is so much to do, see, eat, and experience in Houston that you are going to need far more than one day – or even one weekend – to experience a fraction of what there is to offer.
Houston Baptist University and Sharp Gymnasium are located in the Sharpstown section of the city. The gym is located directly on campus; as such, there is not much to see and do in the immediate vicinity. However, within a 30-minute drive you can pretty much do and see everything – just southwest of downtown Houston lies the Museum District, which is home to 19 different cultural institutions, including the world-famous Houston Museum of Natural Science. The massive Houston Zoo is also within walking distance of this area.
In terms of food, again, there is anything and everything you could possibly want in Houston. One of the iconic meals that Texas does so well is barbecue – in Houston, they are pretty proud of their ‘cue, and spots like Gatlin’s BBQ will give you a good idea of why. Brisket, ribs, chicken, sausage – Gatlin’s has won awards for all of them. In addition, Houston also has a thriving Chinatown; if you are in the mood for some outstanding Asian cuisine, make sure to visit the popular Fung’s Kitchen.
When it comes to lodging you can run the complete spectrum in Houston. You can stay at five-star establishments such as the Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa, or you can stay at any of the lesser-level (i.e. budget friendly) ones – it really is all a matter of your budget.
There really isn’t much of an opportunity for there to be a large turnout for Houston Baptist basketball games, however, the stands are generally filled and the fans come decked out in orange and blue to support the home team. There is also a great multi-generational mixture, as students are in the stands alongside older alums and their young children.
The facilities at Sharp Gymnasium don’t lend themselves to much in the way of any type of tailgating activities, and there really isn’t much room for a large student section. However, the fans that do turn out prove to be engaged – they are constantly doing the Paws Up, barking, and making the small gym reverberate with their cheering. With a larger facility, there would be even more room for fan interaction.
Houston Baptist University and Sharp Gymnasium are fairly centrally located in the city, and are easily accessible off of Interstate 69 from any part of Houston. As a major airline hub, flights in and out of George Bush Intercontinental Airport are frequent, and this is arguably the busiest airport in the state.
Parking is free and plentiful at Sharp Gymnasium, and since the gym is on campus, there is plenty of signage marking the way to it once you turn onto the main drag. When it comes to attending a college game in H-Town, it really doesn’t get any easier than games at HBU.
Return on Investment 4
Huskies home basketball games are honestly a great bargain, as single-game tickets cost $10 for adults during men’s basketball games, and are $5 for women’s games (children 12 and under get in for free either way). In addition, HBU is a Division I school, and they play some pretty quality opponents during the season. You also have an opportunity to see a quality game in a unique facility for a very reasonable price.
When you couple in the free parking and the very inexpensive concessions, you are getting a virtual steal at Sharp Gymnasium. If you’re a college basketball junkie or you’ve got younger children you want to introduce to the game, this is a great place to start.
All of the traditional bells and whistles of college basketball are on display at Sharp Gymnasium – the Huskies Basketball Band can be found near the student section, and there are also the Huskies cheerleaders, the HBU Elite Dance Team, and the school mascot Mingo, all on display for the entirety of the game.
Like most basketball games at this level, there are student contests during timeouts, as well as stoppages in play which are always fun.
In the chairback seating area is the Husky Hype Squad; this two-man group of yell leaders is often called upon to pump up the crowd throughout the game. Decked head-to-toe in orange and blue, this duo is armed with megaphones and boundless energy.
Though the basketball facilities are small in stature at Houston Baptist University, they are big on excitement, energy, and charm. There is something to be said for watching basketball in a gymnasium the size of the Huskies’ home court – it becomes all about the game at that point, and what HBU puts on out there is a great product.
If you are looking for an inexpensive way to catch some big-time college hoops, you can’t go wrong with catching a game at Sharp Gymnasium.