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  • Marc Viquez

Tiernan Center – Richmond High School Red Devils



Photos by Marc Viquez Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.43

Tiernan Center 380 Hub Etchison Pkwy Richmond, IN 47374


Richmond HS Red Devils website

Tiernan Center website


Year Opened: 1984

Capacity: 8,100

 

The New & Improve Tiernan Center

At one time, the Tiernan Center was the 4th largest high school basketball gym with an 8,100 capacity. However, over the summer of 2020, a $1.3 million renovation project reduced the seating to 5,655, knocking it down the list to number 16 in the state. However, the changes were for the better of the Richmond High School Red Devils basketball program.


When the gym debuted for $7.9 million for the 1984-1985 season, it began an era of winning basketball that resulted in the school playing for its first state championship that year, falling to undefeated Marion, 74-67. In 1987, the team would return to the final game and again lost to Marion 69-56. During this time, regular-season games against rivals New Castle, Connersville, Muncie Central, and Marion would attract up to 6,000 fans.


In 1992, the Devils would win in an overtime thriller against Lafayette Jefferson 77-73 to claim its first and only boys' basketball championship. The team welcomed 6,000 fans at the Tiernan Center upon its return from the championship game in Indianapolis. Former head coach George Griffith told the Richmond Palladium-Item that without that first title run at the Tiernan Center, the 1992 state championship never happened.


Today, the crowds at regular-season games no longer reach those proportions, and the changes improved many areas of the basketball arena. All of the bleachers were replaced, there is a new sound system, LED lights now hang from the ceiling, and a new center court design will augment the playing floor. The multiple changes hope to usher in a new era of high school hoops in Richmond.


Food & Beverage 3

There is a selection of food served at the Tiernan Center at three locations. The main concession stand can be found in the main lobby, while two other areas are in the corners of the upper deck–closed during our visit during the pandemic. The options include hot dogs, popcorn, nachos, and personal pizzas from Mancini’s. Coca-Cola products are the beverage of choice at the gymnasium.


Atmosphere 4

The Tiernan Center stands out among the many other Indiana basketball gyms and fieldhouses. First, it feels like a college basketball arena in size, aesthetics, lighting, and concourse size. Second, the new seating gives it a much more modern look in comparison to other high school gymnasiums that are somewhat older.

The new and improved look provides a nice shine to the already massive facility. Despite the reduction of over 2,000 plus seats, the basketball arena is still impressive when walking in from one of the two main entrances from the main concourse.

The old beige bleachers were removed in favor of red plastic seats that spell out RHS in the upper-level area. For comparison, the old bleachers are folded up into the corner of the upper concourse. The new seats create a vast improvement and freshen up the arena which should please many long-time fans and visitors.


The building also features new LED lighting and a sound system that further enhances the new gym’s new look. The acoustics create a vibrating sound from the band, crowd, and the PA announcer. The hallways leading up to the upper row also appear to have received a new fresh coat of paint.


Speaking of hallways, there is a lot of nostalgia hanging on the walls that include championship photos of Red Devils sports teams of the past. The main lobby features more memorabilia, including a massive trophy case, and the original center court from the school’s former Civic Hall gym. The lobby also houses a small table for merchandise when applicable.


Neighborhood 3

There are a few interesting places to visit in Richmond. There is a collection of family restaurants, fine cuisine, breweries and winners, and live music that should provide an enjoyable night after a game.


Clara’s Pizza King is a funky, old-school joint with a double-deck bus with seating. The family spot serves cracker-thin pizza, but this might be the best one to eat in. Firehouse BBQ is located in a former firehouse and offers 11-hour smoked brisket, pulled pork, smoked chicken wings, and Brunswick stew. Little Sheba’s a few blocks away for giant sandwiches and pizza. The Olde Richmond Inn is one of the city’s best places for dining and a top destination restaurant for steaks, chops, and seafood entrees.


The Historic Richmond Depot District is worth spending some time perusing through stores, antique shops, restaurants, bars, and retail shops. The late 19th-century buildings have been repurposed, and the area transformed into a pleasant shopping district. The Model T Museum is a must-see destination for the cars that built the country. You will also find the New Boswell Brewery & Tap Room and the 4th Floor Blues Club if you are staying out a little bit later at night.


Fans 3

They don’t sell out games as they used to in Richmond, but there is plenty of fan support during the regular season. The Tiernan Center is usually the home site for post-season tournament games every March, creating a vibe that many call Hoosier Hysteria.


Fans expect great basketball from players who put forth their best effort.

If you listen to a few people after the contest, you can hear them discussing the night’s results. Richmond is only one of a handful of schools that also still sell reserve seats, a throwback to when high school basketball was the hottest ticket in town.


Access 4

One can expect smooth access in and around the gym during a game. There is a large wrap-around concourse in the top row that is wide and spacious. The main lobby offers four entrances into the gym, but most fans enter through the two main gates. There is ample parking outside the gym on the street and in various lots of the school.


Return on Investment 4

The cost of a ticket is $6, foot options are reasonable, and there are a few great spots in town to check out before or after a game. Richmond is a nice little town in between Dayton, Ohio, and Indianapolis off of I-70. An easy place to visit and check out during the winter months. The Tiernan Center alone is enough to visit, but there is much more in town to see during a visit.


Extras 3

The Tiernan Center earns a point for its renovations that have spruced up the old place. The changes look great and should enhance the experience of the game. The arena receives a second point for the number of memorabilia hanging from the walls of the staircases and the lobby. The third point is for the homemade cake made by a long-time fan. The decadent treat features a frosting made with real vanilla and caramel. It’s not for the fans, but it is definitely worth a taste.


Final Thoughts

The Tiernan Center is no longer the 4th biggest gym in the country, but the changes make it a much better place for basketball fans. The smell of the new seat smell is fresh, the gym is much brighter, and the sound is better than many other similar size gyms. The 16th largest basketball palace in Indiana has never looked better.


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Follow all of Marc’s stadium journeys on Twitter @ballparkhunter and his YouTube channel. Email at marc@stadiumjourney.com


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