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Humphrey Coliseum, the largest on-campus basketball arena in the state of Mississippi, will be the home of Bulldog Basketball for the 36th season during the 2010-11 campaign. Opened in 1975, Humphrey Coliseum has undergone many modifications during recent years to rank as one of the finest multi-purpose facilities in the Southeastern Conference.
On the heels of MSU’s record-setting 2003-04 basketball campaign, in which coach Rick Stansbury’s 26-4 Bulldogs claimed the overall SEC championship and won a second-straight SEC Western Division crown en route to making another NCAA Tournament appearance, Humphrey Coliseum underwent its most recent major transformation in the summer of 2004.
Thanks to the generous $1.8 million contribution from the Henry Mize Foundation, “The Hump” now features a new four-sided, center-hung video scoreboard. The state-of-the-art, multi-purpose scoreboard, purchased from Barco Sports of Logan, Utah, measures 22 feet 10 inches across and 18 feet 6 inches in height in addition to weighing 14,000 pounds.
Featuring four identical TrueColor video displays, four custom fixed-digit LED scoreboards with statistics and electronic team names, along with top backlit ad panels and bottom LED color ad displays, the scoreboard’s active area measures 10 feet 4 inches wide and 8 feet 10 inches deep. In addition, the Coliseum’s new basketball scoreboard features decorated truncated corners and an illuminated donor panel noting the recent monetary contribution of the Henry Mize Foundation.
THE MIZE CONTRIBUTIONS
The late Henry Mize hailed from Booneville, Miss., and was a 1938 MSU alumnus and lifetime supporter of Mississippi State Athletics, while his nephew, Paul “Buzzy” Mize of Tupelo, Miss., and a 1978 State graduate, has served as the executor of the Henry Mize Foundation.
Additional support and services for the construction, installation and hoisting of the Coliseum’s new basketball scoreboard were provided by Hoffend & Sons (Victor, N.Y.), Ellis Steel (West Point, Miss.), Burkhalter Rigging (Columbus, Miss.) and Spencer Engineers (Jackson, Miss.), as well as on-campus support from the MSU Physical Plant and the University Television Center.
Another major renovation project, completed in November 1998 by Pryor Construction, Inc., out of Tupelo, Miss., involved the addition of approximately 1,000 maroon theatre-style chairback seats to increase the Coliseum’s permanent seating capacity to nearly 10,500. This improvement to the Bulldogs’ basketball arena was accomplished with the realignment of the lower-deck seats plus the addition of permanent foldout chairback seats at courtside.
In addition to the Coliseum’s re-configured seating plan that now features chair back seats courtside often found at NBA arenas, an improved lighting system was installed this past summer to enhance the electric atmosphere at “The Hump.” Additional restrooms were also added to the east side of the facility at the time.
THE NEW-LOOK FLOOR
In 2000, Humphrey Coliseum was graced with the arrival of a new hard maple floor, courtesy of the Horner Flooring Company of Dollar Bay, Mich. MSU’s basketball playing surface measures 112 feet long and 60 feet wide and back in July the surface received a complete overhaul, with the “Mississippi State” wordmark replacing teh M-State logo.
A high-directivity distributed loudspeaker system was installed in 2001 by Sound and Communications, Inc., of Jackson, Miss., to enhance the Coliseum’s public address and sound reinforcement system.
Also added in recent years has been rotating corporate sponsorship signage at the scorer’s table located between Mississippi State’s bench area and the visiting team’s bench.
The Coliseum’s most recently added amenities were unveiled this summer with new, attractive banners honoring the Bulldogs’ and Lady Bulldogs’ SEC championships and postseason tournament appearances.Since Humphrey Coliseum opened in 1975, the Bulldogs have won more than 70 percent of their battles at “The Hump.” After ushering in the Humphrey Coliseum era of MSU basketball with an 85-82 victory over Indiana State back on Dec. 1, 1975, the Bulldogs have compiled an impressive 354-135 home.
In 1990-91, Mississippi State went over the 1-million mark for overall home basketball attendance with the Bulldogs drawing 100,000-plus fans (102,072; 7,852 per game) in a single season for the first time in school history during MSU’s SEC Championship campaign. On Feb. 23, 2002, at Humphrey Coliseum, a then-state of Mississippi-record 10,645 fans attended State’s 61-59 home win against the Ole Miss Rebels in a crucial SEC contest. After nearly drawing 100,000 total fans during the 2002-03 season and setting a new single-season school record by averaging 9,165 fans per home SEC game, the 2003-04 Bulldog squad shattered all existing MSU basketball attendance records en route to capturing the school’s first outright regular-season league championship since 1962-63.
In recording 12 or more home wins in a year for the fourth-straight, the 2003-04 Bulldogs established new single-season Coliseum attendance standards for most total fans (111,940), highest per-game average for overall games (7,996), highest per-game average for SEC contests (10,209) and most crowds (6) of 10,000+ fans, along with setting a new mark for the largest single-game crowd (10,735) for MSU’s 80-56 home triumph over Ole Miss on Feb. 7, 2004.
In a home win streak that began the year prior, the 2003-04 State squad also set a new all-time Coliseum record with 14 consecutive homecourt victories over the course of two years.
Six years ago, State’s attendance boom and home success continued as the Bulldogs went over the 100,000 mark for attendance (103,031) for the second-straight season.
MORE RECORDS SHATTERED
Three years ago en route to advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, MSU established single-season school standards for home attendance (139,305) as it claimed 12 victories. Two years ago, records were shattered again as a total of 157,111 fans came through the turnstiles to witness the Maroon & White claim 13 victories.
Last year, in posting a 13-4 ledger at home, MSU drew 116,919 fans.
As a result of those victories, MSU has now registered 10 or more home wins in a season 17 times over the last 18 basketball campaigns dating back to 1992-93, including all 12 seasons under Stansbury’s guidance.
Prior to the start of MSU’s anticipated 1995-96 Final Four campaign, the capacity of State’s home basketball arena was increased to 10,000 with the addition of permanent seats around the Coliseum’s inner concourse. During the summer of 1996, the Coliseum underwent major renovations to accommodate the MSU athletic department’s growing need for additional locker room availibility.
Standing the equivalent of a seven-story building (84 feet), Humphrey Coliseum is 318 feet long and 268 feet wide and was originally constructed from approximately 450,000 red Mississippi-made bricks.
Named in honor of George Duke Humphrey, a former Mississippi State president (1934-45), the Coliseum also serves as the home for the Lady Bulldog basketball team, in addition to housing some administrative offices and several non-football coaches’ offices.