Bilas & Davis: Reynolds was Toughest Place to Play

Even on the day before the State football team makes its dreaded biennial trip to the abyss known as Winston-Salem, SFN member NCSU1987 gives us a great find in ESPN’s series on basketball arenas to stoke our passion for basketball (ESPN):

Jay Bilas: To me, the toughest places to play had more to do with the quality of the opposing team than anything else, but Reynolds Coliseum at NC State was the toughest place I played while in college. Reynolds was configured much the same way as Cameron Indoor Stadium, but the end zones were much deeper and the sides were right on top of you. Reynolds was loud, edgy and intense. The Wolfpack under Jim Valvano were a tough out and the games were always fistfights, but the thing I remember most is coming back to a huddle and seeing lips move, but not being able to hear what was said. It was so hot and loud that your head would spin. Of course, having to guard guys like Thurl Bailey, Lorenzo Charles, Cozell McQueen and Chris Washburn probably had something to do with my head spinning.

Hubert Davis: The toughest place I ever played was Reynolds Coliseum, former home of the NC State Wolfpack. Cameron Indoor Stadium and Cole Field House don’t even come close. I remember the long walk from the locker room to the floor. You had to enter under the bleachers and then had to sprint to the floor so that the fans wouldn’t throw soda on us. The end zone seating went back as far as I’ve ever seen – the sea of red just never seemed to end. In the four years I played there as a Tar Heel, I never scored on the opposite basket away from our bench in the first half. I eventually calmed down, but was always flustered in those first 20 minutes. It was that intimidating.

It’s a shame that there is already an entire generation of State grads that never got to experience Reynolds (the annual games don’t begin to compare). There are no doubt countless stories about the Reynold’s Experience, probably none better than those who were lucky enough to be there during 1983.

Got a Reynolds story to share? Do it on the SFN Forums.

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13 Responses to Bilas & Davis: Reynolds was Toughest Place to Play

  1. wolfbuff 09/09/2011 at 3:21 PM #

    Reynolds was at the same time the worst and best place to watch a game. Unless you were center court, you were either turning your head or straining your neck to watch the game. But, man, did we have some competitive teams that made it all worth it. The ingrained smell of popcorn as you walked in just was instantly recognizable. I can still smell it. And, yes it was loud. I was at the Sidney Lowe-to-Thurl Bailey dunk game. My God, my ears are still ringing. While a new arena had to be built, the RBC center is so sterile in comparison. But a lot of that has to do with the quality of play.

  2. old13 09/09/2011 at 3:50 PM #

    Despite the college petigree of these guys, I very much appreciate their comments. If nothing else, they both have a great appreciation for the history and legacy of the ACC and how NCSU and Reynolds fit into it all!

  3. jwrenn29 09/09/2011 at 4:34 PM #

    I still regret that they don’t play there anymore. How has Duke made it with their little bitty coliseum, but we had to build a big boring arena?

    I did though, hate the lack of legroom in the corners. But it was fun being able to shut and open the windows as needed at the top of the colesium.

  4. MatSci94 09/09/2011 at 4:51 PM #

    I went to games as a kid in the 70’s and 80’s, and in school in the early 90’s. The enormous student sections in the endzones were seats placed on a metal sheet that was supported underneath (I cant really describe it well, but it was essentially a hollow metal box with chairs on top). The crazed stomping of students in that section was insanely loud, the whole time being egged on by the (rigged?) sound meter with a red bulb at the top.

  5. MrPlywood 09/09/2011 at 5:31 PM #

    I’m calling BS on Hubert and the soda-throwing. Never did it, never saw it, never heard of it…

  6. Wufpacker 09/09/2011 at 5:38 PM #

    **How has Duke made it with their little bitty coliseum, but we had to build a big boring arena?**

    I would surmise that being a perennial top 5 team with multiple National Championships and final four appearances over the past 25 years, and thus selling gear/paraphernalia out the ass tends to help a school’s revenue stream.

    Being a private school with high tuition (and not having to answer to the UNC system BOG about how such money is spent) would help a tad too I would guess.

  7. Defenestrate 09/10/2011 at 7:44 AM #

    nice comments from Bilas & Davis. You have to appreciate what Reynolds once was. I believe the RBC can be even louder….just need to have a team that can inspire the noise.

  8. ClassOf95 09/10/2011 at 8:20 AM #

    I’ve thought for a few years now that we should host a holiday tournament in Reynolds. “The Everett Case Classic” and invite good teams from around the country. Have the tix separate from season tix (and of course we would have to share with the other schools.) because of the sharing it wouldn’t be as loud but that building deserves a better fate than an annual game against The Sisters of the Poor College or whoever else we round up.

  9. Master 09/10/2011 at 11:22 AM #

    My Dad had season tickets starting in ’67, mine started in ’85. I missed very few games at Reynolds and never experienced a loss during the DT era until MD finally beat us at home in the spring of ’75. My season tickets were all over the place, taking best available each year. I used to get a coke and popcorn every time I arrived and got the vanilla dipped in chocolate cone at every half time. I got there early enough to get the same parking space for each game, right by the old infirmary. I even took my son to the games from the time he was 6 months old til 4 years old. He could sleep right thru those great roars from the crowd, sometimes shaking a little when there was home team dunk.

    To this day, my biggest regret in leaving Raleigh is my innability to go to basketball games.

  10. cooperpop 09/10/2011 at 11:50 AM #

    Boy, howdy, was it loud…! I was there when DT ruled the tarboys and the terps. I thought the lid was going to come off when he slammed home his last basket of his career in the place against UNCC. (It could be dead silent too, when DT tripped on Phil Spence’s shoulder in the NCAA regionals.) Reynolds really got under Dean’s skin – you could see it every time he walked into the building. He whined and complained about having to play at Reynolds; the fans there were too emotionally charged, he would say.

    As a kid I remember going to the NCAA regionals there. Unfortunately it was Duke and UNC teams there then; nevertheless, the place was packed to the gills (probably a good thousand folks sitting where there was a beam blocking their view of the court) and a huge cloud of smoke hanging over the court. I don’t think you could read that old scoreboard from the end zone seats! But on the court, the action was always intense, no matter who played.

    I can only imagine what it was like back in the Dixie Classic when Reynolds was one of the very few arenas in the country of that size. The Dixie Classic was always one of the most sought after tickets and one of the most important mid season tournaments in the country. It was so important to so many that UNC almost completely lost its program over the point shaving scandal that resulted from the influences that had entered the sport due to the popularity of the tournament.

    I think it would be really great now to bring back an event like what the Dixie Classic originally meant. It would be a true showcase of collegiate basketball tournaments – and pump some life back into the ACC also!

  11. eas 09/10/2011 at 2:49 PM #

    Does the RBC have a sound meter like Reynolds?

  12. blpack 09/11/2011 at 8:24 PM #

    The good ole days. It was quite a place. We need to make every effort to get the RBC more Wolfpack friendly. And having a team on the court to cheer for will help too.

  13. GoldenChain 09/12/2011 at 3:26 PM #

    Rynold’s memories:
    – HOT!!!! Regardless of the temp outside. (reinforced when our HS, Concord, played for the 3A title in Reynolds in 2007 in Feb beating Kinston, hotter than HELL! Then when Statepride graduated in May 2009 and it was hotter than that!)
    – Stepping outside of the mezzanine doors to catch a breath at halftime…when it was 25 outside! Felt GREAT!
    – Noise Meter! The “real” one.
    – Camping out for tickets (K-ville before K-ville was kool)
    – Being in my room in 201 Owen, going to the game 15 minutes before tip at 9pm, then being back in my room studying at 11:15
    – Taking a Walkman and NOT being able to hear the play-by-play because of the noise.
    – Wally Osley in the rafters with the WPTF neon sign
    – Jesse Jones Sausage sign on the scoreboard

    Its a shame to me that there are 20 year’s worth of fans who don’t know what its like, no matter who you play, no matter how much you are down, you still had a chance to win until the final horn!

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