Renovations to Stegeman Coliseum are coming over the next two seasons…
Stegeman Coliseum has been insulted in the past by rival coaches, rival alumni (Charles Barkley) and ignorant fans seeking to make excuses for why Georgia Basketball is not deserving of success. Terms such as ‘barn’, ‘barnyard’ and ‘dumpy’ have been tossed around. It’s an unfair statement to describe Stegeman Coliseum as it has been. It is an arena that has appropriate amenities and capacity, it is unfortunate that Kentucky fans actually do buy season tickets for Georgia Basketball and that 10% of the student section for Georgia Football makes the effort to attend games. The attendance and fan passion are not anywhere close to what is seen for Kentucky, which is understandable, but when Auburn is showing up the Georgia Basketball program as far as support, that is an insult.
Stegeman Coliseum received a recent facelift on the outside of the uniquely shaped building as well as the concourses, restrooms (that were known to have South Carolina fans mistaking the foot powered sink for a urinal trough), concessions (with the formerly infamous hot dogs) and updated tributes to the UGA Men’s and Women’s Basketball programs as well as UGA Gymnastics. Stegeman Coliseum’s renovation started five years ago and was officially dedicated in January 2011, but due to issues with fracturing glass, scaffolding surrounded the building to avoid the risk of injury. The scaffolding was removed prior to the start of the 2014-15 Season and now Stegeman Coliseum will get some work done in the interior of the facility.
Proposed Renovations to Stegeman Coliseum:
- A center hanging scoreboard in 2016-17 with High Definition video.
- The current scoreboard will have High Definition video next season and will likely be discontinued.
- Sound and lighting improvements
- Possible changes in seating arrangements
Keeping Stegeman quirky is a good thing and efforts to upgrade the arena without removing the charms that make Stegeman Coliseum a unique home court environment are a good thing. The decision to move the scoreboard is an awful idea even though many think that a center hanging scoreboard is more modern. Stegeman Coliseum in its current interior set up as seen below has the video board just behind the newly christened Dawg Pound student section, which is a revival of the old UGA Student Sections under Harrick and Felton (Harrick’s Hounds and Felton’s Fanatics). The video board setup with the horseshoe alignment of seating is very reminiscent of Sanford Stadium, which makes for the strange opportunity for an opposing free throw shooter to look at a distracting video board plus a distracting student section in the first half of games. It is quirky and unusual, it is a shame that this will be a casualty to making a more cookie-cutter arena.
The other unique feature of Stegeman Coliseum that should be protected are the acoustics and how the facility traps sound. Stegeman Coliseum can get very loud and traps the noise that fans wish Sanford Stadium could. Being inside Stegeman is like being inside of a golf ball, but the large majority of the sight lines are excellent. Notice the ceiling at Stegeman and ignore the blue shirts.
The biggest problem with Stegeman Coliseum as far as how it is set up is a combination of seating assignment and seating placement. The Dawg Pound Student Section takes up the sections illustrated below and this should change. There is nothing wrong with students occupying sections U, V, W and X. The problem is that students are being placed in UU, VV, WW, XX and YY. This creates a horrible free throw shooting disadvantage as seats in sections L, M, and N are not exactly occupied nor positioned properly.
Placing students in sections L, M and N will satisfy the student seating needs and provide an opportunity for the Dawg Pound to distract free throw shooters during both halves. Seats could even be moved in such a way to copy the way Georgia Tech or Alabama used to have students positioned on the actual floor or at a less steep angle in the lower areas. Students cannot surround the entire court because that would violate SEC rules as the student section is NOT permitted to be behind the team benches. There currently is too much space between courtside seating and sections L, M and N. This needs to be fixed in some way.
Stegeman Coliseum does not need to be torn down and replaced nor does it need a complete renovation like what Clemson is doing to Littlejohn Coliseum or what Georgia Tech did with the now McCamish Pavilion. Stegeman really needs to a few seating fixes in the non-scoreboard end zone, re-assignments of seating, HD for the video board and UGA fans to pack the place and get loud. It would be nice if fans tailgated for Georgia Basketball games as well. Who wants to get loaded for 5 to 7 more Saturdays? Plenty of people would!