- Joseph Oakes
Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum – East Carolina Pirates
Photos by Aaron S. Terry and Joseph Oakes, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.71
Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum 200 Ficklen Dr Greenville, NC 27858
Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum website
Year Opened: 1967
Pirates of the Coliseum
Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum is the home of the ECU Pirates out of the American Athletic Conference. It opened on January 27, 1968, when ECU last to West Virginia 77-60. The arena seats just over 7,000 and is the home to ECU men’s and women’s basketball, as well as volleyball. It was originally constructed for a cost of just $2 million and then underwent a $12 million renovation before the 1994-95 season.
Food & Beverage 3
Minges Coliseum offers typical concessions, but there is not a lot of variety. Personal Pan Pizza from Pizza Hut is $8, and hot dogs are $4. Other offerings include nachos ($4), soft pretzels ($5), popcorn ($4-7), and candy ($4). There is also ice cream from local creamery Simply Natural available for $8. The Minges name of the Coliseum is from the large donor and local Pepsi bottler Minges Bottling Group, so naturally, ECU is a Pepsi school. 22 oz fountain drinks are $4 and 32 oz souvenir fountain drinks are $5. Aquafina bottled water is also available for $3. One thing to note is that on the upper concourse where we were seated many of the concession stands were either out of certain food items are were closed completely. Our suggestion is to eat before you arrive.
Minges Coliseum is a bit of an odd and quirky arena with three seating levels. The lower level seating is eight rows of what looks to be fairly uncomfortable bleacher seating. This seating is accessed from the floor level through the same tunnels where the players enter. The upper concourse offers access to a mini “club level”, which are three rows of cushioned purple seats right above the bleachers. Right above cushioned purple seats is the large upper level where the majority of the seating is located. There is little upper-level seating in the corners of the arena as this is where the video boards and scoreboards are located. There are two scoreboards and two videoboards located in opposite corners of each other above the seating. Minges Coliseum has a very low roof and is also a dark arena. Keep this in mind as the upper seating rows are very dark.
PeeDee is the Pirate mascot and is very visible around the seating areas for photos and hi-fives. When we attended over the Christmas holiday break, there was only a handful of cheerleaders and no pep band. It was disappointing that a program at the D1 level has games without a pep band.
Our suggestion for seating is to resist the urge to sit in the lower level as it is only bleachers. We suggest sitting in the upper level.
Minges Coliseum is located on the southern edge of ECU’s campus, in the vicinity of Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium and Clark-LeClair Stadium. Eastern North Carolina is famous for its barbecue. There are several great barbecue restaurants in Greenville, but be sure that you try one of the following: Parker’s, B’s, or Sam Jones. If barbecue is not your thing, check out Sup Dogs, a hot dog joint near campus that has won the Barstool Best Bar title for three out of the last four years. The Greenville Mall is less than a mile from the coliseum. In its vicinity are restaurants such as Mellow Mushroom and McAlister’s Deli. If you are looking for a place to spend the night, check out hotels near the Greenville Convention Center (Hilton, Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn).
Minges Coliseum is a small and intimate venue seating only 7,100. Therefore, it does not take many fans for the building to get loud. That being said, the Pirates have never really drawn well for basketball. Expect only 3-4K fans in attendance for a typical ECU game. While the half-capacity can definitely get loud at times, it does not really offer the home-court advantage that a near-capacity crowd would.
Free parking is readily available adjacent to Minges Coliseum along the north side of Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. If you have never been to Minges, you may get lost trying to enter as there does not seem to be a main entrance, and the entrances are not signed well. The box office is on the Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium side of the arena and seemed to be the entrance that most fans used when we attended.
Tickets can be bought at the box office pre-game, but it was backed up quite a bit even for a small crowd. We recommend purchasing tickets online, where you can select your seat, and use your mobile wallet for entry. While security was in place for entry, they did a very little checking. Keep in mind that ECU does have a clear bag policy. Once inside the arena, the concourses and seating sections are well-signed. Concessions and restrooms are located on both the upper and lower concourses. Handicapped seating is located on the upper lever right above the purple cushioned seats.
Return on Investment 3
Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for youth, regardless of where you choose to sit (upper or lower level). This may seem a tad bit high but is not over the top. ECU does occasionally have ticket specials for $10. Parking is free and concessions are not outrageous either, so ECU is an affordable option to see some quality AAC basketball.
There are no extras worth noting at Minges Coliseum.
ECU is often overlooked among the tradition-rich basketball programs in North Carolina, and rightfully so due to their lack of historical success on the court. That being said, the arena has a great little atmosphere even at half capacity and is a great environment when the crowd is into it.