Pam Evans Smith Arena, home to Tiger men's and women's volleyball and men's and women's basketball.
About This Facility
Pam Evans Smith Arena, named in 2008 for the legendary women's basketball coach and former student-athlete, is one of the premiere small college basketball and volleyball facilities in the state of Ohio.
Three full-size hardwood courts serve as the competition and practice home of the men's and women's basketball and men's and women's volleyball teams, and also host indoor training for other intercollegiate and club teams, in addition to campus events and intramural activities.
As much a part of the community as Wittenberg itself, the arena hosts local high school commencements and athletics tournaments, youth skill camps, and many other community events. In the event of rain, the university's commencement takes place in Pam Evans Smith Arena.
Collapsible stands seating 3,044 spectators expand to cover the two auxiliary courts, leaving the center court in the spotlight at gametime. The arena features scoreboards on the north and south walls as well as a hanging scoreboard at center court. The entire facility is fully air conditioned for comfortable year-round use and measures a spacious 35,000 square feet.
The Jim Acton Press Box and Joe Clayton Memorial Press Table overlook the floor from atop the north stands, with wired and wireless internet access to accommodate visiting press. The Tiger Sports Network, featuring a crew of students with interests in careers in digital media, conduct live video and audio broadcasts from the press box.
The basketball and volleyball teams continually fill the arena with excitement, annually hosting North Coast Athletic Conference and NCAA Division III postseason competitions. Restrooms and concessions are located just outside the entrance to the arena, and the locker and training rooms are privately accessible to both teams and officials.
A $7.1 million project finished in 1982 as part of the Campaign For Wittenberg added the arena, natatorium, locker and training rooms, racquetball courts, and lobby to the existing 1929 Fieldhouse to become a space known as the Health, Physical Education and Recreation (HPER) Center. After renovations to all of the facilities and an expansion that included construction of The Steemer, the facilities became known as the Health, Wellness & Athletics (HWA) Complex.
Accessibility: Pam Evans Smith Arena and the HWA Complex are fully accessible to individuals with disabilities.
Pam Evans Smith '82
Pam Evans Smith, class of 1982, served her alma mater for more than 20 years as women's basketball head coach, a professor and athletics administrator. A 1999 Athletics Hall of Honor inductee, Smith established herself as one of the premier women's basketball coaches in NCAA Division III during a coaching career that spanned 21 seasons. The seven-time NCAC Coach of The Year compiled a 401-170 record after taking the reins of a struggling program prior to the 1986-87 season, along the way leading the Tigers to eight NCAA Division III Tournament appearances, twelve 20-win seasons and 11 NCAC regular season championships.
Smith also enjoyed a record-breaking career as a player in the Wittenberg Red & White between 1979-82. Smith was selected second-team Academic All-America as a senior after earning team Most Valuable Player three straight years. She was the Tigers' all-time leading scorer until 1989, and she remains the record-holder for season scoring average.
Formerly known as the New Gymnasium, Pam Evans Smith Arena was dedicated on Feb. 2, 2008, seven months after her passing, in a ceremony honoring the respected coach and student-athlete. Click here to view "A Life Remembered", an online tribute with links to articles about her life and career, submitted tributes and coverage of the dedication.
The men's and women's basketball teams have played in Pam Evans Smith Arena since 1982, when the men's basketball team opened the facility on Nov. 29 with a 65-47 win over Wilmington College. The official ribbon-cutting ceremonies took place on Jan. 8, 1983, between games of a men's and women's basketball doubleheader.
The arena took over as the facility of record for the basketball and volleyball teams when it opened, succeeding the gym in the 1929 Fieldhouse. The 1929 Fieldhouse concluded its 52-year run as the home of the Tigers on Nov. 20, 1982, in a 90-62 men's basketball win over Urbana.
The Fieldhouse was built in 1929 at a cost of $400,000 and was formally opened on Feb. 14, 1930 as the culmination of the Springfield Campaign, a community fundraising venture by President Rees Edgar Tulloss. The first game there was played on Friday, Dec. 29, 1929, a 29-18 win over Georgetown (KY). The facility was formally dedicated prior to a 29-11 win over the University of Cincinnati on Saturday, Feb. 15, 1930.
The men's basketball team would go on to compile a 244-32 overall record there between 1955 and 1982. For the men, the facility was a part of 11 Ohio Athletic Conference championship seasons, one national third-place run, two national runner-up seasons, and two national championship seasons. Legendary coach Ray Mears experienced the most success there, never losing a game in the Field House in his six years as head coach.
In 1890, President Dr. Samuel Ort convinced the Board of Directors to allocate $1,400 for the building of a gymnasium. The "Old Gym," as it came to be known, was built north of Recitation Hall, where Koch Hall now stands. The new structure helped usher in a wave of enthusiasm for athletics at Wittenberg, and was followed in 1892 by the establishment of a ladies gymnasium in newly-built Ferncliff Hall. The Old Gym was relocated to the current site of the field house in 1902 with the acquisition of the Zimmerman Field property.
Various athletics activities continued in the Old Gym until the building of the Fieldhouse. The basketball team, having outgrown the Old Gym, practiced at the Springfield YMCA and played games at Memorial Hall (now demolished, although the archway and facade of the entrance are to be reused at the new ice rink downtown) all the way until the opening of the Fieldhouse.
John Strawn '07
Some information from historical books by William Kinnison