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  • Pete Dowell

Trask Coliseum – UNC Wilmington Seahawks

Photos by Arian Kelly, Special to Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.57

Trask Coliseum 2900 N College Rd Wilmington, NC 28405

Year Opened: 1977

Capacity: 5,200


The Locals Seem To Love It

The 5,200-seat Trask Coliseum was built in 1977 and named for Raiford G. Trask a benefactor and former Trustee of Wilmington College. The Coliseum is used by both UNCW’s women's and men’s Seahawk basketball teams. The coliseum had its first major improvements in 2011 and later minor improvements in 2013. In 2011 the coliseum received chair back seats on the lower level, a high-definition video board, and permanent scoreboards, and the scoreboards were upgraded in 2013 with LED lights.

In recent history, the UNCW male Seahawks have won multiple regular season championships in the Colonial Athletic Association. The UNCW male Seahawks have also made six appearances in the Division 1 NCAA tournament since 2000. The Seahawk's greatest success in the tournament happened in 2002 when they made it to a second-round loss in the Division 1 NCAA tournament.

The Trask Coliseum has been used for other purposes besides UNCW basketball. Notably, in the past, the Trask Coliseum has been the site for the Federation Cup women’s tennis semifinal match between the United States and France in 1998 and during 2001-2003 the Trask Coliseum had the honor of being the pre-season training ground for a somewhat past his prime local native *Michael Jeffrey Jordan* and his fellow Washington Wizards NBA teammates. The Trask Coliseum is functional, well maintained, and does an outstanding job of providing the teams and spectators with the comfort and intimacy that is lost in newer and larger coliseums.

Food & Beverage 3

The food at the Trask Coliseum is nothing to jump up and down about but at least the lines move quickly and the service comes with a smile. A few of the small stands only accept cash.

There isn’t anything unique about the snacks offered in the Trask Coliseum. Papa John’s drops off pizza to the concession people just before the doors open. The pizza seems to be the most filling thing on the menu. All the usual snacks are there (dry popcorn, salty soft pretzels, nachos with orange cheese, candy, etc.) I had a super salty soft pretzel that was no better or worse than any I’ve had before.

Pepsi products are available. Soft drinks are served in bottles but cups are available. The main concessions stand seems to be the best as it offers every available snack.

Atmosphere 3

The Trask Coliseum is clean, functional, and a generally well-maintained small coliseum. The Trask Coliseum has an old-school vibe. Nothing in the coliseum is pretty or new age but everything is clean, sturdy, and well-maintained. People of varying sizes seem to fit comfortably into the roomy, hard green plastic seats with armrests. The forward legroom in the upper-level seating is much more than any other venue I’ve visited. Current hits are played on the sound system before the game. During the game, a brass band takes over and plays multiple times throughout the game. This coliseum does the job.

The Seahawks mascot Sammy C. Hawk runs about taking selfies and keeping spirits high. The cheer squad does their thing during multiple timeouts and halftimes. T-shirts are tossed multiple times by hand and by air gun and there is a raffle giveaway from one of the team's marketing partners.

The size and layout of the Trask coliseum are so cozy and well laid out that even the view from the furthest wall touching the seat would not be an issue. I do recommend sitting in the upper level in one of the midcourt sections to get what I would consider the best perspective view.

Neighborhood 5

Although the neighborhood directly around the Trask Coliseum seems not very interesting, overall the city of Wilmington has many great options for food, drink, and sightseeing.

There are 20+ chain restaurants and fast food places (such as McDonald’s and Applebee’s) all within one mile of the coliseum. You will need to drive a bit further for more exciting food and entertainment options. The coliseum is located on campus and across a very busy street from the closest food choices. You won’t be at a loss to find something to eat close to the Coliseum.

If you don’t mind venturing out away from the coliseum Wilmington will open up to you. There are multiple local hot spots to fill your belly. Wilmington’s downtown area is within five miles of the coliseum and has a little something for everyone to enjoy. The downtown area boasts a comedy club (Dead Crow Comedy Room), live music bars, fine dining, cheap eats, shopping, multiple tours (history, site seeing, ghost walk, foodie explorations), and scenic walks on a dock.

Try Flaming Amy’s Burrito Barn before the game; it’s within two miles of the coliseum. After the game go five miles away from the coliseum and enjoy food & drinks from Fork n Cork or Copper Penny in Wilmington’s downtown area.

Multiple lodging options are not within walking distance and are not high-end. I recommend Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Wilmington-University Ctr. It’s a mid-range chain hotel that’s clean, near food/shopping and within two miles of the coliseum.

Fans 3

Multi-generational fans are in attendance. There are more grey-haired fans in attendance than students or young families. The general feel of the coliseum is loud but not overly loud and into it but not overly into it.

I was told that most home games are near sold out. The Trask Coliseum seats just 5,200 fans. In a town with no pro sports teams, this is not a high achievement.

I got the feeling that no matter who was wearing a Seahawks uniform and how they were playing they were going to get some love from the UNCW fans. The fans are not overly into making noise but they do show their love to the team on every play. The student section is the loudest and most active in showing team support.

Access 5

In general, the Trask Coliseum is easy to navigate to, from, and around. I didn’t notice any mechanical means to get to the upper level so that might be an issue for handicapped fans.

The Wilmington Wave Transit provides dedicated bus service via the UNCW Seahawk Shuttle for free to UNCW staff and students and $2 for all others. Go to the shuttle website to view routes and times. Wilmington International Airport (ILM) is six miles from the Trask Coliseum.

Free General Parking is located in the following areas: Greene Track Parking Lot, Alderman Hall Parking Lot, and the Kenan Auditorium Parking Lot. Once on campus, there are parking attendants that will help you get to where you need to be. Parking is free and very easily navigated.

There are multiple entrances and ticket handlers. There is no real security to speak of other than taking your ticket and asking if you needed anything. There are no digital tickets but tickets purchased online can be picked up at Will Call at the marked Will Call / Player Pass entrance or purchased at any of the marked entrances.

The areas in the Trask Coliseum are closed off via doors that can be closed or staged open. The transit areas are extremely large when compared to what I’m used to from venues that seat thousands more people. Everything about the Trask Coliseum is sturdy and functional.

Return on Investment 4

The Trask Coliseum is an upbeat and happy place that will get you feeling like you’re part of the team.

Ticket prices are $18/adults, $10/youth (15 and under), and complimentary for the first 1200 UNCW Students. All snacks are under $5 a piece, all 12 oz drinks are $3 and under and parking is free. You will get a lot in this coliseum when compared to other venues. The only discounts are free for the first 1200 students and group tickets are $10/each as opposed to $18/each.

Extras 2

It seems that many other venues of this type make fans pay for parking. The Trask Coliseum provides close, free parking that makes the whole experience just that much better. I’ve paid many times to park at live entertainment venues and it felt great when the parking attendant directed me to the free general parking.

Last but not least one of the constant issues I find at arenas/stadiums/coliseums is the lack of forward legroom in front of the seats. There is so much forward legroom that other fans were walking in front of me at times and I never had to stand up or pull my knees up not to be hit. I can’t say enough how comfortable extra legroom makes sitting for a few hours.

If the Trask Coliseum wanted to I think they probably could fit a few hundred more seats in the building by cutting down on the forward legroom. Let’s hope they never adjust the seats.

Final Thoughts

This is a nice local venue. If faced with seeing the latest action movie at the theater or seeing a Seahawks game at the Trask Coliseum I would easily choose the movie, but if you are a true sports enthusiast who doesn’t need all the fanfare of big-time pro sports or big-time college sports then the Trask Coliseum fans and team won’t fail to entertain you. The locals seem to love it so you might as well.

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