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curry_hicks_cage

Curry Hicks Cage

The Curry Hicks Cage was a home arena for the UMass Minutemen and Minutewomen basketball teams. The building still stands but is no longer in use by the teams.

It is located in the center core of campus at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. After a renovation that was completed in 1985, the arena had a seating capacity of 4,058.

The Cage was preceded by Drill Hall, and succeeded by the Mullins Center for primary use in 1993.

Fast Facts

  • Status: Former home arena
  • Opened: 1931
  • First game: January 9, 1932
  • Closed: N/A, secondary facility as of 1993
  • Capacity: 4,058 (1985 renovation)

History

The building under initial construction, looking at the building's eastern facade.

The building opened in 1931, and designed by alumnus Clinton Goodwin 1), who graduated from the school in 1916. Goodwin accepted no fees for his designs as an expression of gratitude to the school.2)

In 1941, the facility was named for Curry Hicks3), a longtime Director of Athletics and Student Health at the school. Beginning his tenure in 1911, he retired in 1949.4)

The first game in the building was on January 9, 1932, against cross-town rival Amherst, with a win for the home team, 17-12.5)

The Cage went through renovations during the 1984-85 season, and the Minutemen played all their home games at the Springfield Civic Center.6)

The Final Rage

With the Mullins Center ready for use in early 1993, the last game in The Cage was scheduled for January 29, 1993. In a creative marketing move, UMass scheduled the game against Southwest Louisiana, nicknamed The Rajun Cajuns. The game was dubbed The Final Rage.

The Minutemen went on to close the building in style, with a 84-74 win over the Rajun Cajuns.

Overall, UMass went 359-212 (.629) at The Cage from 1932-1993.

Subsequent uses

For several years after the Mullins Center opened, sellout crowds (of 9,493) were the norm. In the first decade of the 2000s, as wins became harder to come by, crowds at Mullins started to shrink. Some fans began to suggest having a “retro” game back at The Cage.

UMass officials first obliged the requests in 2007, as one of the two exhibition games in the 2007-08 season was held at The Cage. The Minutemen beat Concordia (NY), 107-80. Since then, official games have also been played at The Cage.

DateOpponentGame ResultsNotes
11/3/2007Concordia (NY)W 107-80Exhibition. Gary Forbes 23, Ricky Harris 19, Max Groebe 17.
11/27/2010Holy CrossW 83-76UM hits nine 3s. Gurley 24 points. Riley 17 points in 17 minutes.
11/11/2011ElonW 85-67Chaz Williams goes for 18 points and 8 assists in UMass debut. Vinson & Sampson Carter 17 each.

The Minutemen also regularly used The Cage as a practice facility, prior to the opening of the John Francis Kennedy Champions Center in 2015.

Inside The Cage on 12/12/2021. Zoom in and you can see a broken panel on the scoreboard, and a Xavier banner still hanging. Xavier left the Atlantic 10 in 2013. Photo courtesy @juliaamc5

Renewed calls for re-use

With the 20-plus win seasons in the early 2010s, crowds at the Mullins Center were routinely exceeding Cage capacity. In the late 2010s and early 2020s, as the team struggled for wins again, crowds dipped back within Cage numbers, and some fans revived the talk of having another throwback game at The Cage.

Such a possibility seems unlikely, as more money has since been spent on upgrades to technology and amenities in the Mullins Center, and deterioration to The Cage would require additional funding to get it back into game-ready condition.

2022: There is also a proposal to turn The Cage into a permanent practice facility for the track teams.

curry_hicks_cage.txt · Last modified: 2022/04/11 15:21 by mikeuma