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William D. Mullins Memorial Center

The Mullins Center serves as the primary home arena for the UMass Minutemen men's and women's basketball teams, as well as the men's hockey team. It is located on the campus of the University of Massachusetts. When configured for basketball, the arena has a seating capacity of 9,493.

Though the vast majority of the UMass campus is located in the town of Amherst, the bulk of the Mullins Center footprint is situated in the town of Hadley. Only the southeast corner of the arena lies in the town of Amherst.1)

Fast Facts

  • Status: Primary home arena
  • Opened: February 4, 1993
  • Closed: N/A, active facility
  • Capacity: 9,493 (basketball)

History

The Mullins Center is named in honor of William D. Mullins, a state representative from nearby Ludlow 2). In 1985, Mullins, then the vice chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, argued that the UMass campus lacked an indoor facility of sufficient size for major sports and other events. Mullins died of cancer in 1986 at age 54, but several of his colleagues in the legislature, as well as other supporters, carried on his project. As a tribute to Mullins’ dedication to UMass sports, the facility was named in his memory. 3) 4) 5) 6)

The following sub-sections appeared in a fact sheet compiled by the University.

Chronology

1985 to July 1988The Mullins Center project progresses through the Massachusetts House and Senate seeking funding for design and construction.
July 1988Capital outlay appropriation passed.
October 1988Building Authority issues bonds for the Mullins Center.
October 1990Design complete.
December 1990Contract signed between the Building Authority and the successful bidder for the building contract, Suffolk Construction.
January 1991Construction begins.
September 28, 1992Contract signed between the University, UMBA and Ogden for the management of the Mullins Center.
Winter 1992/93Construction completed.
January 31, 1993Mullins Center Open House.

Construction Details

  • Construction costs for the Mullins Center was funded jointly by a State Capitol Outlay and Building Authority Bond Issue. The bond will be repaid through a $50.00/semester fee charged to students beginning in September of 1993.
  • Design began in October of 1990 and expected construction completion is winter of 1992. Total cost is expected to be $51,000,000.
  • The building contains approximately 254,000 gross square feet. The roof size is over 2.5 acres.
  • The exterior of the building consists mostly of red/brown brick with a sloping roof. Large glass areas provide natural lighting to the interior circulation concourse. The entrance to both the main arena and the practice rink is defined by a large pedestrian plaza which also provides access from the campus to existing playing fields behind the Mullins Center.

Major Features of the Mullins Center

  • 8,389 fixed seat arena, with capacity of over 10,000 seats depending on event. Approximate seating counts for major events are as follows.
Basketball9,493
Hockey8,389
Theatrical3,510
Endstage8,532
Centerstage10,413
Circus8,853
Commencement10,177
Ice Show7,806
Gymnastics9,121
Banquet954
Exhibition100 booths
  • A large function room overlooking the Main Arena which can seat 200 for a banquet.
  • Identically sized Olympic ice rinks (one in the main building, one in the adjacent practice building) with year round skating in the practice rink.
  • 7 racquetball courts
  • A full Fine Arts theater conversion with a 30' x 60' stage.
  • Ticket office for all athletic events.
  • Various athletic support spaces: athletic offices, varsity and visiting team locker rooms, equipment room, training and weight rooms.
  • New digital video boards were added above the center of the arena, and at both ends, in summer 2017.7)

Opening

The UMass Minutemen closed out the Curry Hicks Cage era on January 29, 1993, in a game that was coined “The Final Rage”. Six days and two games later, on February 4, the Minutemen played the first game at the Mullins Center against West Virginia. WVU was a fellow Atlantic 10 Conference member at that time, and was in the conference tournament final with UMass the previous season.

In pre-game festivities, the arena's lights were turned off, and music from the television series “The Twilight Zone” played over the sound system. A booming voice said “You have just entered the Cal-Zone,” in reference to UMass Head Coach John Calipari.

The game did not disappoint, as the Minutemen and Mountaineers went into overtime, with UMass prevailing 64-59.

Floor dedication

The playing floor is dedicated to Jack Leaman, in recognition of his decades of service and success with the UMass Athletics Department. The floor was dedicated in a ceremony on February 25, 2006.8)

mullins_center.txt · Last modified: 2017/11/03 16:52 by mikeuma