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  • Lloyd Brown

Stegeman Coliseum - Georgia Bulldogs

Photos by Lloyd Brown, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.14

Stegeman Coliseum 1 Smith St Athens, GA 30605

Georgia Bulldogs website

Stegeman Coliseum website

Year Opened: 1964

Capacity: 10,523


The Dawgs are Back!

The University of Georgia has one of the best all around college sports heritages in the country. Over the years it has won national championships in football, baseball, tennis, gymnastics and track, and field. And women’s basketball.

The basketball program has produced 10 years of NCAA Tournament participation (including a trip to the 1983 Final Four), 13 trips to the NIT, and a .700 winning percentage at Stegeman Coliseum, its basketball home. Former coach Hugh Durham and player Dominique Wilkins are both enshrined in the College Basketball Hall of Fame.

Unfortunately, in recent years the UGA basketball program has fallen behind its SEC competition and some of its sister sports at UGA. Many feel that the Stegeman Coliseum has become a recruiting liability, as it was built in 1964. The UGA athletic department is making major improvements to make UGA basketball a consistent winner again, by upgrading the coliseum and committing major resources to bring the program back to its glory days.

Food & Beverage 3

Stegeman Coliseum has four major concession stands, with one in each quadrant of the building. The renovations of 2010 created multiple lines for faster order-taking and delivery of food. The stands serve your typical arena fare, including hamburgers ($6), chicken sandwiches ($4), hot dogs ($4), pretzels ($4), fries ($3), popcorn ($5), and boiled peanuts ($4). UGA sells Coca-Cola brand sodas ($4) and bottled water($3). Alcohol cannot be sold in a UGA facility.

We suggest dining at one of the many fine downtown Athens restaurants, then enjoying a beverage and a snack at the game.

Atmosphere 5

The atmosphere at Stegeman Coliseum has changed dramatically and points to a very successful future. UGA has invested more than $20 million in the past 10 years to bring the facility into the 21st century. In 2010, the changes began with improvements to the concourse, opening it up by installing a wall of glass to brighten up what was an enclosed and depressing area.

Murals depicting UGA landmarks, mascots, and star athletes were added to bring color into the arena. Concessions and restrooms also received a great deal of attention.

The most recent renovations were ready in time for the 2017 season and are focused on the seating bowl and the actual competition areas of the building. The most obvious improvement is a massive new center-hung scoreboard. It is complemented by improved LED lighting of the court itself and the installation of ribbon boards along both sides of the arena.

The sound system has also undergone major improvements, as Stegeman also serves as the on-campus concert venue Seating has been upgraded with very dramatic black seats. These improvements have already paid great dividends in the quality of recruits UGA has been able to sign.

The finishing touch in this basketball renaissance was the signing of Coach Tom Crean before the 2018-2019 season. The former coach at both Marquette and Indiana, Crean is a master recruiter and promoter and has re-energized the fan base.

Neighborhood 5

The UGA campus is the immediate neighborhood surrounding the basketball arena. Stegeman Coliseum is located within the Vince Dooley Athletic Complex. Sports facilities within this complex include the Foley Field baseball stadium, the Dan Magill Tennis Complex, and the Spec Towns track and field facility. Since the coliseum is on-campus, there are no restaurants within walking distance. However, the University of Georgia’s Continuing Education Center and Hotel is across the street from Stegeman and offers below-market rates, with free parking thrown in.

The city of Athens forms the larger neighborhood surrounding UGA, as all that separates downtown Athens from the campus is Broad Street. Over the years, Athens has been recognized as one of the top town and gown cities in the country. Both Sports Illustrated and USA Today have ranked the Classic City in the Top 5 College Sports Towns in the USA.

There are several restaurants to check out in the downtown area. Our favorites include the Blind Pig Tavern, the Last Resort Grille, and the Varsity, an Athens landmark for more than 50 years. For adult beverages, we suggest the Terrapin Brewing Company.

It is no surprise that Athens has been rated as the #1 Hot College Music Scene by Rolling Stone magazine. The city has a long history as a launching spot for such groups as REM, The Zac Brown Band, Widespread Panic, and the B-52. The Georgia Theatre and the 40 Watt Club in downtown Athens are known for their ability to identify emerging music talent and host their first gigs. The city hosts AthFest each spring with performance stages set up all over town.

Fans 4

The UGA fan base is typical of most fan bases in the SEC… they are loud and proud. However, the basketball fan base has never been as rabid as those of Kentucky or Florida. One of the first steps Coach Crean has done to change that was to stage the first-ever “Stegeman” event before the start of the 2018 season. The event featured introductions of the players, dunking contests, high-energy music, and fan competitions with prizes and giveaways.

This has energized the fan base to a level not seen since the days of Dominique Wilkins.

Game days now feature a team effort to keep the fans up and out of their seats. The team does it with their play on the court, while the UGA Cheer Squad, the Dancing Dawgs, the UGA Pep Band, and Hairy Dawg lead the cheers from the sidelines

Access 3

Finding your way to the Classic City is not difficult but finding the way to Stegeman Coliseum within UGA’s huge campus may prove to be more of a challenge. Here is the best route to the Coliseum from the Atlanta area (approximately 65 miles):

From I-85 North: Take I -85 North to Highway 316 (also known as University Parkway) You will stay on Highway 316 for 40 miles. As you enter the Athens area you will exit to the right onto the Athens Bypass (also shown as State Route 10 Loop ) Take the College Station exit off of Athens Bypass and turn left. Turn right onto East Campus Rd. Left on Carlton. Go two blocks on Carlton.

The coliseum will be on your left. Continue to Lumpkin and turn right. Take an immediate right into South Parking Deck behind the Georgia Center for Continuing Education. Walk across Carlton into Stegeman Coliseum.

Once inside the coliseum, you will find its concourses wide and easy to navigate. The seating sections are in alphabetical order as they round the horseshoe-shaped arena. Most of the seats are below the concourse level. New seating was installed as a part of the most recent renovations, and they are wider than normal and offer cup holders. There are enough restrooms and concession stands to service the typical crowd for a Georgia home game.

Return on Investment 4

One of the best ways to fill the stands is by offering seats at very affordable prices. Tickets are only $15, one of the cheapest seats in the SEC. Parking is free for the on-campus lots designated for basketball games. The concessions menu at the home of the Dawgs is not broad, but the prices are very reasonable. An overnight stay at the UGA Continuing Education Center Hotel is an absolute bargain with free parking.

Extras 5

The Bulldogs have sent several players on to the NBA. They include Dominique Wilkins, Jumaine Jones, Damien Wilkins, Litteral Green, and Vern Fleming.

The UGA campus hosted several athletic events during the 1996 Olympic Games. Stegeman Coliseum was home to both the rhythmic gymnastics competition and the early rounds of the volleyball tournament. Nearby Sanford Stadium hosted the Olympic Soccer Finals.

The basketball Bulldogs share Stegeman Coliseum with the ultra-successful Women’s GymDawgs. Over the years this program has won 10 NCAA National Championships.

The architectural design of Stegeman Coliseum is structurally unique as it consists of two structures… the roof and the building below it. The roof is designed to rise and fall as the temperatures inside the building change. This is accomplished through an aluminum set of bellows.

Final Thoughts

The University of Georgia has made a serious commitment to its basketball program through upgrades totaling more than $20 million for Stegeman Coliseum. The Bulldog's home since 1964 has been brought into the 21st century with renovated concourses, a state-of-the-art scoreboard, improved lighting, and new seating. Most important, the Bulldogs have brought Coach Tom Crean to Athens to challenge the power structure in the SEC.

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