Moody Coliseum – SMU Mustangs
Former President George W. Bush suprises the crowd with The Mob shirt (SMU’s student section) Credit USA Today
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Moody Coliseum originally opened on December 3, 1956 on the campus of Southern Methodist University, located just north of downtown Dallas. The multi-purpose coliseum is a large part of SMU’s University Park neighborhood, housing not only SMU athletics, but concerts, academic ceremonies, and basketball and volleyball camps. However, Moody Coliseum’s most famous moment could be when the coliseum served as the temporary home for the Dallas Mavericks in 1984; that game was titled “Moody Madness,” as the Mavericks came away with an upset playoff win versus the Seattle Supersonics. Over the years, Moody Coliseum has had minor renovations, keeping the gym current with the times. However, in 2013 it was time for Moody Coliseum to undergo a major renovation project. That renovation would update the main lobby, bring in new concessions and wider concourses, improve the lighting and seating, provide luxury boxes, give the building Wi-Fi capability, along with new locker rooms, and would also bring in an LED scoreboard, LED signage around the arena, and a new floor scheme. This renovation, at a cost of $40 million, transformed the old-school gym into an updated arena for SMU.
Following the renovation, Moody Coliseum re-opened on January 4, 2014 to a sellout crowd, with an upset win over the then #4 ranked and eventual National Champion Connecticut Huskies. The Moody Coliseum attendance record of 7,518 fans was set on February 12, 2017 vs. Cincinnati.
Food & Beverage 4
The renovation of Moody Coliseum included updating the concessions spaces throughout the concourse. As you walk around the concourse, you may notice that the main stands have one of two names, either Hilltop Grill or Peruna’s Kitchen. The menu at these stands includes the typical fare of deluxe nachos with chili and cheese, served with jalapenos for $8, while the hot dogs and pretzels cost $7. Other stadium fare, such as peanuts, bagged popcorn, potato chips, large cookies, and Minute Maid Italian ice cost a little less. Moody Coliseum’s premium menu adds a few more options to the ones listed above, with costs topping out at $12 for items such as the Red & Blue Burger, an all-beef Bubba burger with smoked bacon, roasted pepper aioli, and blue cheese on a brioche bun. In addition, you can get brisket nachos, taco salad, or a chicken basket, and pepperoni and cheese pizzas are catered in from a long-standing Dallas staple called Campisi’s. The price is a little high at $10; it would be a better experience to just visit the Dallas landmark for a wonderful Italian meal.
SMU athletics serves Coca-Cola products on campus, so for a $6 32oz cup you have a choice of Coke, Coke Zero, Diet Coke, Mr. Pibb, or Sprite. Along with the soda offerings there is also Powerade ($6) and Dasani bottled water ($4). Beer and wine are also sold inside Moody Coliseum in the concourse areas; the selection of domestic beer is limited to three choices, including Bud Light and Michelob Ultra for $8. Shock Top Belgian White and the local Deep Ellum Brewing Co. craft beers, Dallas Blonde and Deep Ellum IPA, are also available for $10. In addition to beer, Copa Di Vino Chardonnay is offered at a cost of $10 per glass.
Moody Coliseum has all the modern accessories that fans enjoy, but what really makes Moody Coliseum special is the intimate feel of its basketball gymnasium. The arena’s 7,000 seats and great sightlines are a big part of an atmosphere that larger venues just can’t capture. The biggest asset for this type of atmosphere is that the fans can easily get involved with the game. The coliseum has three levels of seating, the 100 level, 200 level, and suite level. The suite level is above the 200 level, and runs along the sideline across from the team benches. In the lower 100 level, the seating is dominated by the SMU students, leaving only the seats across from the team benches for premium seating. The students, known as “The Mob,” surround the baseline and bench sideline inside Moody. They are continuously loud, energetic, and provide such an intimidating atmosphere; this contributes to Moody Coliseum having such a great home-court advantage for the Mustangs. In fact, with the rise of SMU’s home win record at Moody Coliseum, the players are now seen high-fiving the fans around the court after a win, before standing and facing the Mustang Band as the band plays the school song, “Varsity.”
The wonderful playing of college band music is alive and well inside Moody Coliseum, as one of the best bands in college sports, The Mustang Band, is positioned in section 100 behind the baseline. In addition, the SMU cheerleaders and SMU Pom Squad are positioned along the baseline on opposite sides; each group works tirelessly throughout the game to entertain the crowd. The Mustangs mascot, Peruna, also not only entertains but engages the crowd, and gets the already loud and festive student section to become even more involved throughout the game.
Before or after a game here, fans may visit The SMU Hall of Fame, located on the east side concourse. This area is a real tribute to the school’s history and students, with SMU student-athlete plaques depicting their athletic accomplishments, opposite a wall mural of a pre-renovated Moody Coliseum.
Moody Coliseum is on the beautiful campus of Southern Methodist University. The campus itself is 243 acres, with an enrollment of about 11,000 students. The neighborhood surrounding the campus is called University Park, located just north of downtown Dallas, off I-75. Within a short walk distance is Mockingbird Station, a development of shops, dining, and apartment complexes that were built around the Mockingbird DART light rail stop. Mockingbird Station has about 11 different restaurants and 18 shops. A few of the restaurants in the station include Trinity Hall Irish Pub and Restaurant, Twin Peaks, Smashburger, and Urban Taco. The complex also includes the Angelika Film Center, which provides an 8-screen theater (complete with stadium seating) devoted to independent and specialty films.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for at Mockingbird Station, just walk a few blocks down SMU Boulevard and you’ll find a Twisted Root Beer Co, Torchy’s Tacos, Banh Shop, and Barley House. The Barley House is definitely a good place if you plan to partake in alcoholic beverages, with its large list of beers on tap from breweries around the state. Of course, the DART light rail can easily get you to plenty of other pre or postgame activities, with downtown Dallas being just a short commute south.
There is plenty of lodging around the SMU campus, with downtown Dallas being a short distance away and accessible via the DART light rail. However, if you want to stay in the area, the Magnolia Hotel Dallas on North Central Expressway is only a short walk from campus and the light rail, near SMU Boulevard and across the highway from the main local attraction, the George W. Bush Presidential Library. Besides the library, there is the Meadows Museum, just off the boulevard on the campus of SMU, and well worth your time to visit. The public transit and location near Dallas provides plenty of tourist attractions, and a wide range of restaurants and lodging for any fan attending a game at SMU.
There are various levels of fandom when it comes to college sports; the fans that grew up rooting for a certain school, the alumni of the school, and of course the current students. The SMU fans and alumni combine to form a wonderful fan base, but it is the current students that are the heart and soul of Moody Coliseum, who continue to bring the arena to life game after game. The students known as “The Mob” provide the support that has helped Moody Coliseum to gain such a homecourt advantage. SMU has lost just four home games in the last three seasons, while reaching the 2014 NIT final and winning the 2014-15 American Athletic Conference regular season and tournament titles, en route to the NCAA Tournament. In the 2015-16 season, despite not being eligible for postseason play, the Mustangs earned a 25-5 record, showing how dedicated the players are to the SMU program. The current season has also been good, as the Mustangs are well on their way to securing a spot in this year’s NCAA tournament. All of these accolades can be attributed to the wonderful fan base that journeys to Moody Coliseum for SMU basketball.
Southern Methodist University is located in University Park, just north of downtown Dallas, making the campus accessible by public transportation, yet it doesn’t provide the most ideal parking situation for sporting events. Moody Coliseum is located on the SMU campus, and is accessible from I-75 near the George W. Bush Presidential Library. There are four cash parking areas around the coliseum; Moody Garage, Binkley Garage, Meadows Garage, and Westcott Surface Lot, all of which cost $10 and are close and accessible to Moody Coliseum. Otherwise, if you don’t mind a short walk, you’ll find free parking at Expressway Tower or at Dallas Area Rail Transportation’s Mockingbird Station; the DART light rail is the best option to avoid Dallas traffic, and Mockingbird Station is a stop on the Red, Orange, and Blue lines.
When you enter Moody Coliseum through the only public entrance, you’ll walk into the Nancy C. and Richard R. Rogers Lobby. The lobby houses the Moody Coliseum ticket office, along with the Mustangs Pro Shop. The concourse is well lit, signage is clear, and free game day programs are provided.
Return on Investment 4
The continuing high expectations of the Mustangs basketball team has tickets at a premium price. Season tickets are sold out, while single game ticket availability is limited; getting SMU tickets through a third party is the most likely way to obtain them. Ticket prices depend on the importance of the game, but for lesser, weekday game opponents, tickets can be found at a great value for $6. Overall, a visit to the SMU campus, along with a game inside Moody Coliseum, is well worth the price and trip for sports enthusiasts.
Moody Coliseum offers excitement for college basketball in a football driven state, and provides an atmosphere rivalling other basketball powerhouses. The Mustangs have had five straight record-breaking seasons in terms of attendance, and those wanting to buy season tickets are now being put on a waiting list, as season tickets are sold out. With the resurgence of Southern Methodist basketball and the recent renovations, Moody Coliseum has become the place to “see and be seen,” as Former President George W. Bush is a constant at SMU basketball games. In addition, other celebrities such as Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, as well as Dallas Cowboys players Tony Romo, Cole Beasley, and Jason Witten, along with head coach Jason Garrett, have all been seen in attendance.
The revival of SMU basketball, in a renovated classic venue like Moody Coliseum, has brought a lot of exposure and excitement to the Hilltop. Over the last five years, the arena continues to be the place to be seen, so invest in a trip to Dallas and witness Moody Magic. The basketball atmosphere here is as good as anywhere else in the country, including the powerhouses at Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Duke.
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