GCU has a chance to be
heard nationwide
By filling all 7,000 seats and making
the Arena a tough place to play
for opposing teams, GCU has an
opportunity to claim a prominent spot
on the college basketball map in only
its second year in Division I. Gonzaga
University was the only Far West
university to make SBNation’s list of
top mid-major basketball venues, and
its arena seats only 6,000. Only half of
the Pacific 12 Conference universities
averaged more than 7,000 per game
last season.
The new floor has
all-star connections
The new, portable basketball floor
(the old one wasn’t removed for
other events; this one will be) is one of
several floors the NBA used at its All-
Star Weekend last February in New
Orleans, GCU Operations Manager
Dino Trejo said. The University
purchased it from Horner Flooring in
Dollar Bay, Mich., which refinished the
floor to Majerle’s specifications, with
pads underneath that help players
avoid shin splints.
The top-down view
will be top-notch
The new section that goes around the
top of the Arena offers unobstructed
views — no coaches or officials in
your way — and feels right on top
of the action. Bob Machen, who as
senior vice president of campus
development oversaw both the
original construction and the
expansion of the Arena, predicts that
the center-court seats in the upper
deck will be considered the best seats
in the house. The biggest challenge for
game operations staff will be to figure
out how cheerleaders can throw free
Lopes T-shirts all the way up there.
Freshmen can help the
Monsoon reign
Emily Stephens, the University’s
director of spirit programs and game
operations, made sure freshmen
were heavily recruited at orientation
to join other students in the Monsoon,
which encompasses all of the special
student cheering sections at men’s
basketball games, and the Havocs,
the elite unit in the group. They’re
determined to be louder than ever.
“They just can’t wait to be in there —
they’re excited about the challenge,”
Stephens said. “And the freshmen are
completely ready.”
The band sound
will be even bigger
Not only will the pep band have 95
members, 10 more than last year,
the new bleachers on the south end
of the Arena will be more vertical,
which means the band will be even
closer to the court. “We should be a
lot louder,” band director Paul Koch
said. Not that anyone had trouble
hearing them before.
The video board will be
on the move
The new upper-tier seats on the south
end of the Arena were installed where
the video board used to be, so part of
the renovation was the creation of a
57-foot, 3,000-pound trolley beam
that will allow the board to move to
the corner for basketball games. It
still can be in the middle of the south
end for concerts and similar events.
The screen could be moved up and
down last year, but now it will go side-
to-side and swivel.
The list of events
goes on and on
Casting Crowns was the first
Christian rock band to play at the
Arena when it opened in 2011 and
will be back for the first big concert
in GCU Arena 2.0. Among the other
Christian music performances
scheduled to play at the Arena
are MercyMe, Lincoln Brewster,
Switchfoot, Rend Collective and
Kari Jobe. And here’s a taste of the
variety of the many other events on
the Arena docket — everything from
a high school robotics competition to
a Google Summit, Promise Keepers,
a Catholic Youth Conference, and
Bubba’s Bash, hosted by Bubba
Watson, the two-time champion of
the Masters golf tournament, and
featuring Lecrae and Britt Nicole.
GCU men’s
basketball coach
Dan Majerle had
a bird’s-eye view
of the Arena
expansion over
the summer. But
Majerle soon will
take charge of
action on the new
floor when the
team begins its
highly anticipated
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