Saturday, November 5, 2011

Northern Arizona To Play Games At Rolle Activity Center

There was an interesting article in the Northern Arizona News last week about the Lumberjacks home arena. From 1977 until last season, Northern Arizona played their games at the Walkup Skydome, an arena that can hold a few thousand people.

Last season, because of renovations to the Dome, they played their home games at Rolle Activity Center, which can seat 900 people. Naturally, you would think that once the Dome renovations were complete, they would go back there. Not so fast. They will be playing their home games this year at the Rolle, due to the preference of players, coaches, and fans.

“We got a lot of feedback from the fans, players and coaches,” said NAU Athletic Director Jim Fallis. “Everybody really liked the environment and I think certainly there was a couple of games where the environment helped and created some home court advantage.”
The article said they will be expanding from 900 to 1,200 people around December 10th. NAU went 11-1 last year at home, so it is easy to see why they would be high on staying at that facility for the time being. If they can get more fan support and more people coming to the games, they could move back to the Skydome.

“My plans would be to return to the Dome if we could get 4,000-5,000 people to come to the games,” Fallis said. “But if you’re going to have 1,000 or 1,200 people, it’s a pretty big place to do something with only 1,200 people in it. We’ll have to wait and see, but if we do come back to the Dome at some point, we will definitely lose some of that home court advantage.”
It will be interesting to see how tightly they pack the Rolle Activity Center this year.

Thanks to reader MTJack for sending along the link for this!

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  1. I really don't like this move. It's worse than most high school facilities. If it sat 2 to 3 thousand, I'd understand. But it doesn't.

    Despite losing only one home game last season, it ranked as the lowest attended season in several years at NAU. I think perception means more than most realize. If you play in a 900 season gym compared to a several thousand seat dome, it gives a negative impression as to the state and quality of the program.

    Ask ISU why they moved all games to 3,000 seat Reed Gym under coach Doug Oliver, but then moved back to Holt Arena for all games.

  2. Hey, Anonymous. I'm happy someone cares enough about NAU hoops to post. My only question about your statement is how many times since you have been a Lumberjacks fan has NAU consistently brought in 2-3 thousand fans? I've been a fan since I was a kid in the early 90s and my memories are few. The Skydome has always felt like a crypt to me no matter how many fans attend. If 800-900 fans in a small gym with some noise and seats close to the court leads to an 11-1 record at home then I say stick with what worked last season. A "true" basketball arena on campus where the fieldhouse currently stands would be a dream come true.... but delusional on my part due to lack of funding. -MTJack