McKale Center

McKale Memorial Center is an athletic arena located at 1756 E University Blvd on the campus of the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona. It is primarily used for basketball, but also features state-of-the-art physical training and therapy facilities. Its construction is marked with a large copper cap that has turned brown over time. McKale Center is home to the University of Arizona Wildcats basketball team. The arena opened in February 1973 and has a capacity of 14,545 spectators. It hosted the 1988 Pacific-10 Conference men's basketball tournament.

McKale Center was named in honor of J.F. "Pop" McKale, athletic director and coach of all sports at the University of Arizona for a time, a figure at the university from 1914 to 1957. McKale was head basketball coach of Arizona from 1914 to 1921, where he recorded a 49-12 record.

McKale is also credited with giving the university its nickname, the Wildcats. McKale coached the 1914 school football team that played a tough game against California champions Occidental College on Thanksgiving Day, where the press deemed the Arizona team "Wildcats", and McKale ensured that the nickname remained.

The University of Arizona is in the Pacific-12 Conference of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

Following the Arizona State University game on February 26, 2000, the University of Arizona athletic department honored head coach Lute Olson with a ceremony to name the McKale Center floor, "Lute Olson Court". Then, during a memorial service in January 2001 for Olson's late wife, Bobbi, it was renamed, "Lute and Bobbi Olson Court" in recognition of the couple's impact on the university and the city of Tucson.

In 2002, the Eddie Lynch Athletics Pavilion, a state-of-the-art medical and strength/conditioning facility for Wildcat student athletes, was completed and opened. The pavilion (which cost $14 million) was a 36,000-square-foot (3,300 m2) addition to the north end of McKale Center. The upper level has a 10,000-square-foot (930 m2) museum-like display area, open to the public, showcasing the history of Arizona Wildcat athletics.

In terms of capacity, McKale Center is the second largest arena in the Pac-12 conference. Utah's Jon M. Huntsman Center is the largest basketball arena in the conference, but Arizona averages greater attendance.

Major events
  • Host of the 1988 Pac-10 Conference men's basketball tournament.
  • On January 12, 2011 the McKale Center hosted a memorial service for the 2011 Tucson shooting victims in which President Barack Obama was the keynote speaker.
  • The arena has been a frequent site for games in the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament since its opening. McKale Center hosted the first and second rounds of the tournament in 1979, 1987, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1997, 2000 and 2005; the second and third rounds in 2011; and the West Regional semifinals and final in 1974 and 1980.
Inside McKale Center
  • Upper Deck

  • Upper Student Section

  • President Barack Obama speaks in honor of the victims of the 2011 Tucson shooting


2 photos