As it approaches its 50th anniversary, the future of Coleman Coliseum could be a subject of debate for the University of Alabama.
Coleman Coliseum will turn 50 in 2018. Over the last several years, the push for new or renovated facilities has been seen across all programs among the SEC schools, and Alabama has been no exception. Last spring saw the debut of baseball’s overhauled Sewell-Thomas Stadium, and the university could decide to make future upgrades down the road.
The question for many is whether the upgrades could extend to Coleman Coliseum. The venue underwent significant renovations in the previous decade, but there has been developments across the arena landscape since, with Auburn and Ole Miss both opening new arenas since the beginning of this decade. That slate of new arenas has also been marked by trends such as reduced seating capacities, enhanced premium spaces, and improved player amenities.
Given those developments, it is fair to wonder what Alabama could decide for Coleman Coliseum over the long run. As Cecil Hurt at Tuscalossanews.com notes, the university will have a hard choice to make, but it still seems that the arena’s future should be discussed:
Facts are facts. Huge capital expenditures on basketball can be problematic when football drives 90 percent of the athletic budget. A new arena isn’t, to put it in unavoidable basketball terms, a slam dunk decision. Alabama has other needs, including a new Aqua-home for the swimming and diving teams that is overdue. Spending someone else’s money is the easiest thing in the world, so I am on the side of cautious expansion more so than a reckless spree by a new AD.
For many years, in terms of arenas in the state, bigger has been better, with Coleman Coliseum in the forefront. But as its 50th year rapidly approaches, the question of whether it can last another half-century, both as a structure and as a fearsome home court, need to be examined.
Last April, men’s basketball head coach Avery Johnson indicated in an interview on The Game that continual improvements to Coleman Coliseum–rather than a new arena–was a likely course for the university. Regardless of which path it chooses, it still seems that Alabama could look to modernize its basketball offerings.