Photos by David Welch, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.29
The Coliseum 325 W Georgia Drive Carrollton, GA 30117
Year Opened: 2009 Capacity: 7,000
The Coliseum – University of West Georgia Wolves
The University of West Georgia Wolves christened their new home, The Coliseum, in 2009, which serves as the home of the West Georgia basketball and volleyball teams.
The 2023-24 season will mark the final season for the Wolves as a part of the Gulf South Conference and NCAA’s Division II, as they make the jump to Division I as members of the Atlantic Sun Conference.
Food & Beverage 2
There are two concession stands built into the arena, but only one seems to be typically used. The stand is conveniently located in the northwest corner of the concourse, just around the corner from the main lobby. The menu does seem a bit limited with hot dogs and nachos being the main courses; candy, chips, and popcorn are also available. When it comes to beverages, Coca-Cola products, Powerade, and bottled water are the go-to choices.
Even though the options are not overly eye-opening, there are no menu items over $3 – these low prices make grabbing a bite to eat a bit more enticing.
The Coliseum is a rather modern-looking facility that incorporates a glassed entryway into a high-ceilinged, open lobby. As soon as they pass through the doors, fans are greeted with the unmistakable squeak of sneakers on hardwood, the repetitive thud of the ball on the floor, the blasts of referee whistles, and the arena horn.
The entry point lobby is open to the playing area, so one of the first glimpses of the court fans have is of the large four-sided video board that hangs above the center court; the board gives fans a feed of the live broadcast. A second video board is suspended high above the eastern end of the court and shows live statistical totals, and in addition to these first two impressive video boards, smaller scoreboards that provide time and score information are affixed to the inside walls of the sideline seating.
The Coliseum is probably bigger than it needs to be for West Georgia basketball, but the facility is also used for many events throughout the year, including the high school state basketball playoffs, concerts, graduation ceremonies, and several other large community events. So, while the size of the arena does make for a bit of an empty feel during basketball games, the fans here do well in making the stands seem much fuller than they are.
Most breaks in the action are accompanied by a performance from West Georgia’s large (more than 30 members) cheer squad, typically followed by a short musical interlude from the West Georgia pep band – the combination creates a classic basketball atmosphere.
The Coliseum is less than 2 miles from downtown Carrollton, which is sneaky exciting with several shops, restaurants, and a brew house. On weekends the area is frequently bustling with activity, from the local eateries to town events. Maple Street, which runs along the front of the West Georgia campus toward downtown, also has several restaurants along its length.
The Coliseum is tucked into the back of West Georgia’s campus, neighbored by the school’s baseball stadium, Cole Field, and several of West Georgia’s administrative buildings; the location does help promote a “college campus” feel and fanfare that makes college basketball so special.
An initial look at attendance numbers may make it seem like the Wolves struggle with fan support, but that is not necessarily the case. Attendance tends to be five to six hundred per game, which for the Gulf South Conference is just about in line with other programs.
What boosts the Wolves’ basketball experience, though, is that despite what appears to be a lack of attendance, there is a very supportive fan base. The most ardent of fans tends to be a group of students near court level across from the visiting bench, who are ready to celebrate each 3-point basket and dunk from the Wolves. Students tend to populate the southern seating area, while fans from the community and alumni typically sit in the northern bleachers, which are across from the main entrance.
The West Georgia campus is in the Georgia town of Carrolton, in the outer reaches of metro Atlanta. For those heading to West Georgia from outside of the immediate area, getting to Carrolton can be a bit of a challenge, as many fans would likely be using Interstate 20. For weekday games, this can take more than a handful of patience, as Atlanta traffic is notorious for its unpredictable and uncooperative nature.
Once on the West Georgia campus, a large parking lot sits just across the street from The Coliseum, just a short walk away from the venue.
Upon approaching the front doors, a sandwich board instructs fans to scan a QR code to purchase tickets, since there is not a staffed ticket office selling them. Just after passing through the main entry, a table is set up to scan the entry tickets – the process is not difficult, but it might be wise to try and purchase tickets ahead of time just to not have to deal with the hassle of setting up a Wolves purchasing account.
Once in the arena, the main lobby is very spacious and easy for groups to navigate. Alums and fans from the community usually sit behind the team benches by proceeding to the concourse straight ahead, while students occupy much of the seating across from the team benches, accessible by taking a sharp left upon entering the facility. There are no designated seating areas for students and alums, but the seating seems to shake out that way anyway.
The concourse is open to the court from the baseline around the top of both sides. Though the concourse does continue completely around the arena, it is a bit deserted around the walkway at the opposite end.
Return on Investment 5
Seating is general admission and runs $10, which is extremely reasonable for college basketball tickets. If those rates are not good enough, West Georgia also offers ticket deals like ticket four packs for just $30.
When factoring in free parking and the concession prices, it would be difficult to find a better deal in college basketball, short of free.
Banners celebrating the successes of the University of West Georgia athletic programs line the rafters along both sides of the court; included are banners from the NAIA National Championship the basketball program won in 1974. A trophy case just to the right of the lobby area displays the hardware of much of the Wolves' successes as well.
The Red Clay Rivalry is an all-sport competition between the Wolves and the Valdosta State Blazers – the basketball portion of the rivalry creates a fun atmosphere, as the passion of the fans is a bit more amped up during those contests than normal.
The West Georgia mascot, Wolfie, is a frequent participant in welcoming fans to the arena and during pregame festivities. Wolfie also makes several appearances with the cheer squad for off-court activities on the concourse, as well as for some of the on-court routines.
The Coliseum is a beautiful facility and should fit in seamlessly as the Wolves move from Division II to Division I. As with several programs in similar situations, there are typically growing pains that go along with such a move, but the Wolves of West Georgia appear to have solid footing upon which to build.