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  • Writer's picturePaul Baker

Tripp Athletic Center - UMass Dartmouth Corsairs


Photos by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.86

Tripp Athletic Center Ring Road Dartmouth, MA 02747



Year Opened: 1972

Capacity: 2,500


Worth the Tripp

The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth is one of five campuses in the University of Massachusetts system. Originally known as Southeastern Massachusetts Technological Institute and then as Southeastern Massachusetts University, it merged into the UMass system in 1991. The school has a student body of just over 8,500 students enrolled in over 90 different academic programs.


The Tripp Athletic Center, named in honor of former coach, athletic director, moderator of athletics and Textile Science professor Frances Tripp, features a fitness center, aquatics center and indoor track in addition to several basketball courts. It was built in 1972 at a cost of $2.7 million.


UMass Dartmouth has sponsored varsity basketball programs at the school since its founding in 1966. They currently compete at the Division Three level in the Little East Conference, which is made up of nine small schools located throughout New England. The Corsairs have qualified for 15 NCAA Tournaments, reaching the Sweet Sixteen six times (1990, 1991, 1994, 2001, 2009 and 2022) and the Final Four once (1993). The women’s basketball team reached the Elite Eight in 2017.


Food & Beverage 1

There is a concession stand in the main lobby of the Tripp Athletic Center. Unfortunately, this stand is not open for all games. When operational, the stand offers hot dogs, assorted snacks and drinks. Pepsi products are featured here at UMass Dartmouth. No alcoholic beverages are sold here at this on-campus facility.


If you happen to visit UMass Dartmouth for a game when the concession stand is closed, there are some vending machines in the lobby that are available for cold drinks and snacks. Fans are also able to bring in their own items. This being New England, it’s not uncommon to see Dunkin’ Donuts coffees here on a cold Massachusetts winter night.


Atmosphere 2

The game day atmosphere at a Corsairs game is typical of other small schools throughout the northeast. Basketball just isn’t a huge deal at these schools, but they do have some dedicated fans, most of whom have a personal connection with the players on the court, and who make a surprising amount of noise. The school’s mascot, Arnie the Pirate (get it? Arrrrr-nie?) shows up on occasion to mingle with the fans.


There are scoreboards on either end of the court which display basic game stats. Unfortunately, the larger scoreboard at the far end of the gym is difficult to see due to its placement behind the basket support. Music plays during stoppages and PA announcements are made throughout the game. The PA announcer here really leans into his job. It’s a laid-back presentation fitting of the venue and crowd.


New for the 2023-24 season is a video board hung on the south side of the gym. It's utilized throughout the game with graphics. As the season has progressed, Corsair staff have unlocked more of its features and are utilizing it to enhance the fan experience.



Neighborhood 4

While the UMass Dartmouth campus is fairly secluded with a great deal of green, open space and wooded areas, it is close to a very busy commercial area. Visitors will find many places to eat, shop and stay on Route 6, a short drive from campus. A complete visitor’s guide to the area around campus can be found here.


Likewise, fans coming to the area may not wish to spend a whole lot of time in either Fall River or New Bedford, two cities struggling with many of the issues facing many poor cities in the northeast. Still, there are places of interest in both cities. Fall River is home to Battleship Cove, the largest collection of World War II naval vessels in the world. Also nearby is the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast/Museum, located in the same house where the infamous murders took place in 1892. The museum is open for tours and fans of the macabre can actually spend the night at the house. The New Bedford Whaling Museum focuses on the history of the Whaling industry.


There are plenty of attractions in the area for visiting fans. Boston is located about an hour away to the north. Cape Cod is located a half hour to the east. Providence is a half hour away to the west, and Newport, with its Gilded Age mansions, is 45 minutes away.


Fans 2

UMass Dartmouth averages between 200-300 fans per game at Tripp Athletic Center. As is typical of other small schools in the northeast, the crowd here can be described as a “friends and family” crowd. Many of the fans in the stands have a personal connection with the athletes on the court. There are lots of proud parents and classmates mixed in with some die-hard local hoops fans. UMass Dartmouth’s membership in the Little East Conference means the bulk of their schedule consists of other local schools. It’s not unusual to see visiting fans taking in the action as well.



Access 3

UMass Dartmouth is located in suburban Dartmouth, Massachusetts, in between the small cities of Fall River and New Bedford. The school is easily accessed by Interstate 195. Route 6, the main commercial thoroughfare in this area, passes near the campus. Given the suburban location of the campus, driving is the primary method for getting to UMass Dartmouth. The Southeastern Regional Transit Authority (SRTA) operates busses to both Fall River and New Bedford that arrive on campus roughly every half hour.


Tripp Athletic Center is located on the south side of campus, adjacent to several other athletic facilities, including Cressy Field. UMass Dartmouth has a rather unique setup in that most campus buildings are located within a single ringed road. Tripp Athletic Center is on the outer edge of the road, away from the parking lots. Visiting fans can park in the lots across the street. Your best bet is to park in lot 10, right across the street from the Tripp Center. It’s not the most convenient setup you’ll come across, especially on a cold winter night.


You would be hard pressed to find a more nondescript building than the Tripp Athletic Center. Marked with only a small sign and hidden away from the road, it is an easy building to miss. The basketball gym in the Tripp Athletic Center is located in the rear of the building. Fans entering the building enter the gym lobby on the second floor. The Corsair Hall of Fame is located here, as well as the concession stand, restrooms and vending machines.


All seating is on one side of the basketball court, and consists of wooden bleachers. When an especially big crowd is expected, the bleachers on the west side of the gym will also be opened. Fans will enter at the top of the seating area and walk down to their seats. In this small gym, all seats offer great views of the action. Restrooms are more than adequate for a typical Corsair crowd.


Return on Investment 5

Tickets to Corsair basketball games cost five dollars. If attending on a night where a conference foe is visiting, one admission ticket gets you into both the women's and men's games. Parking is free in the lots across Ring Road. If you need a drink or snack during the game, the vending machines are pretty inexpensive. It adds up to an affordable night of entertainment for southeastern Massachusetts sports fans.


Extras 3

The Corsair Athletic Hall of Fame is located in the lobby just outside the basketball court. The display features memorabilia from throughout UMass Dartmouth’s athletic history. Banners honoring Corsair tournament appearances and 1,000 point scorers are hung throughout the gym.


An extra point is awarded for the improvements to the facility for the 2023-24 season. The gym received a fresh coat of paint, the old banners that cluttered the south wall of the gym were taken down and the new video board was installed.


A final extra point is awarded for the design of the UMass Dartmouth campus itself. The university was “honored” in 2013 as one of the ugliest campuses in the United States. Travel and Leisure magazine likened its buildings to “concrete spaceships,” which is a fairly accurate description. Designed by internationally renowned Modernist architect Paul Rudolph. Campus buildings were built in the Brutalist style popular in the 1960s. The exterior and interior of the buildings are made from rough concrete (beton brut). The campus features large windows, meant to blur the distinction between inside and outside, and short, irregular stairs, meant to slow people down and allow them to appreciate the campus more fully. Newer campus buildings, including the Tripp Center, have been built to complement, but not to copy, Rudolph’s aesthetic. The end result is a cold, drab campus featuring buildings that can actually be very difficult to get around.



Clarie T. Carney Library at UMass Dartmouth. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.


Final Thoughts

The Tripp Athletic Center is a small gym that enjoys some big support from the local community. Fans who like their hoops with a side of architecture will certainly enjoy a visit to the UMass Dartmouth campus. A tour of the Paul Rudolph-designed campus can be just as interesting as the action on the court.

Follow Paul Baker’s stadium journeys on Twitter and Instagram @PuckmanRI.

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