An End of an Era; Barn Floor Construction Begins
Willams Arena is once again going through changes. The arena, orginally built in 1928, has undergone many changes through its 81-year history and on May 11 construction began on the next phase, a new floor. The project to replace the orginal floor, which will be concluded on Aug. 28, will come with a price tag of roughly $600,000. Ironically, the orginal construction expense for Williams Arena was $650,000.
The original floor that is being replaced was installed in 1928.
The arena was initially named The University of Minnesota Field House.
When the building was remolded in 1950 it was renamed in honor of Dr. Henry L. Williams, the U of M football coach from 1900-21.
In the remodel it was built for basketball and hockey (the old Mariucci and current Sports Pavilion) with a capacity of 18,025 for basketball.
From 1950-71 Williams Arena had the largest capacity of any collegiate basketball arena in the country at 18,025.
After the 1950 remodel, Williams Arena was granted the 1951 NCAA Finals (Kentucky defeated Kansas, 68-58).
The arena underwent major renovations in 1991-93 and 1997.
After the additional renovations, fire code restrictions put the capacity at what it is today, 14,625.
The University of Minnesota men’s program has only had two losing seasons in Williams Arena since 1935-36.
The Gopher men have an overall record of 710-279 (.718) at Williams Arena while the Gopher women have an overall record of 212-108 (.663).
1,407 Golden Gopher basketball games (men’s and women’s) were contested on the Williams Arena floor.
17 Gopher Men’s All-Americans and 13 Gopher women’s All-Americans donned the Williams Arena floor.
The most points scored in Williams arena is 45 from Michigan State’s Scott Skiles (1/18/86).
The arena hosted the NCAA women’s first and second rounds in 2004-05.
The University of Minnesota Women’s basketball program played at Williams Arena from 1971-93 and returned to the Barn in January of the 2001-02 season.