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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) In 1994, Hadley had sought a ticket tax to help pay for town infrastructure improvements.

Fast Facts

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


The Mullins Center is named in honor of William D. Mullins, a state representative from nearby Ludlow.2)3) 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. 4) 5) 6) 7)

Conceptual art of Mullins, circa mid-1980s. Perspective is from the southeast, looking across Commonwealth Avenue at the venue's east side.

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


1985 to July 1988The arena project progresses through the Massachusetts House and Senate seeking funding for design and construction.
April 1988John Calipari hired as men's basketball head coach. The promise of new facilities helped Calipari recruit better talent and build the program.
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.
February 4, 1993First men's basketball game in the building. UMass beats West Virginia in overtime.
October 30, 1993First men's hockey game since 1979. UMass beats Villanova 9-1.8)
January 2, 1994First women's basketball game in the building, versus #8 Vanderbilt.9)

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

Mullins Center, showing the south side. Taken in 2013, the field just to the south is now occupied by the Champions Center building. Full size original image.
  • 8,389 fixed seat arena, with capacity of over 10,000 seats depending on event. Approximate seating counts for major events are as follows.
Ice Show7,806
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 2017.10)


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 ended with “Welcome to the Cal-Zone,” in reference to UMass Head Coach John Calipari. Audio recording of the intro.

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

Game program cover
Commerative t-shirts for the first game in Mullins

Court 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, 2006.11)

Court design

The basketball court floor at Mullins has evolved many times since the building's opening in 1993, with more graphical elements and updated looks. In October 2019, UMass unveiled a new design that shows a shadow of the Massachusetts geographical boundaries.12)13) Jack Leaman Court, Fall 2019 redesign.

Scoreboards and displays

Upon opening, and for two decades after, the Mullins Center never had a center-hung scoreboard or video display. Scoreboards were mounted on the walls on the baseline ends, and were upgraded on occasion with better display technology.

This image, from the 12/28/2013 game against Providence College, shows the baseline display, mini-scoreboard on the side, and center-hung banners. Larger image.

In Fall 2017, large LED displays were center-hung, and the baseline displays were also upgraded to LEDs.14)

2017's new LED displays. Larger image.
mullins_center.txt · Last modified: 2024/03/10 16:20 by mikeuma