Stephen C. O'Connell Center

The Stephen C. O'Connell Center, also known as the O'Dome, is a 12,000-seat multi-purpose arena located on the University of Florida campus in Gainesville, Florida. The facility is named for the sixth president of the university, Stephen C. O'Connell, who served from 1967 to 1973. The facility is located on the northern side of the university's campus, between its football field, Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, and its baseball field, McKethan Stadium.

Florida Gators home arena

The O'Connell Center is the home arena of several of the university's Florida Gators intercollegiate sports teams, including the men's and women's college basketball, gymnastics, swimming and diving, indoor track and volleyball teams. ESPN The Magazine nicknamed it the "House of Horrors" in 1999, a name that the sports teams began using promotionally a few years later. The student section of the stadium has been dubbed the "Rowdy Reptiles." ESPN commentator Dick Vitale, on assignment at the Florida-Kentucky game in 2006, said that the Rowdy Reptiles make the O'Dome one of the toughest places to play in college basketball.


The arena opened in 1980, but problems with the inflatable, Teflon-coated fabric roof required replacement with a permanent, hard shell dome on top of the structure in 1998. In 2006, the university undertook an overhaul of the four scoreboards located above the entrances to Gates 1 through 4. Instead of displaying information and advertisements, the scoreboards are now used for live instant replays of events inside the arena. The arena, which is the fourth on-campus home of the Gators, replaced the old Florida Gymnasium, nicknamed "Alligator Alley," which was the home of the Gators for the previous thirty-one seasons.

Following the men's basketball team's victory in the national title game of the 2006 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament, the University Athletic Association (UAA) bought the temporary hardwood floor that had been installed in the Indianapolis RCA Dome for the Final Four. Although the national finals logos were removed by sanding, the basketball teams now play on the same lumber on which the Gators won their first basketball national championship. The UAA also bought the court used to win their second title from the Georgia Dome, and displayed it in the O'Connell Center during their championship celebration event, but sold it in pieces to raise funds for scholarships.

On December 23, 2006, a then-record crowd of 12,621 watched the fifth-ranked Gators defeat the third-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes, 86–60. The two teams would meet again that season for the National Championship game, with the Gators, once again, emerging victorious as the first back-to-back National Champions since Duke in the early 1990s. This record was broken, however, on February 5, 2011 in a 70-68 Gator victory over the 11th-ranked Kentucky Wildcats, as 12,633 attended the game.

In addition to its use as a basketball arena, the O'Connell Center also contains both indoor and outdoor swimming pools, and is regularly used to host other events on campus, including career fairs, graduation ceremonies, concerts, and public speakers.

Photo gallery
  • The non-student side of the O'Connell Center during the 2008 NIT Second Round. Note the video replay board in the upper left added during the 2006-2007 season.

  • Another angle from inside of the O'Connell Center during the 2008 NIT Second Round


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