SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Wofford College broke ground today (Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015) on the Jerry Richardson Indoor Stadium, the new home of basketball and volleyball at the college. The facility will be adjacent to the north end of Gibbs Stadium, where the Terriers play football.
Wofford alumnus and trustee Jerry Richardson, Class of 1959, provided the gift to fund the facility that will include a 3,400-seat basketball arena and a 500-seat volleyball competition venue as well as offices, locker rooms, meeting rooms, training rooms and special fan areas, including several open-air suites. The facility will replace Benjamin Johnson Arena, which will continue to be used as a first-rate gymnasium for intramural and campus recreational activities.
“Breaking ground today on the Jerry Richardson Indoor Stadium is the start of something very special that, along with the Rosalind Sallenger Richardson Center for the Arts, also given by the Richardsons, will be a game-changer for Wofford College,” Wofford President Nayef H. Samhat said.
Construction on the Jerry Richardson Indoor Stadium will began this fall with the opening date slated for September 2017. Construction already has begun on the Rosalind Sallenger Richardson Center for the Arts that will open in the spring of 2017. It will house academic programs in theatre arts, visual arts and art history.
“The Richardsons have done it again,” head men’s basketball coach Mike Young said. “First the Center for the Arts and now the Jerry Richardson Indoor Stadium… I’m eager to tour prospective students through both buildings to show them, as well as tell them, that Wofford student-athletes are students first.”
Wofford student-athlete Kentra Washington, a junior women’s basketball player from Greenville, S.C., will never play a college game in the new indoor stadium, but she went on the record during the groundbreaking with her RSVP to the first alumni game in the stadium.
“I’d probably be jealous if I wasn’t so happy for my younger teammates and the future student-athletes who will compete in the Jerry Richardson Indoor Stadium,” says Washington. “We realize the significance of the gift the Richardsons have given us, and we feel the weight of the responsibility we have a student-athletes to use this facility and our gifts wisely — to become the best student-athletes, citizens and leaders we can be.”
Both women’s basketball and volleyball have fielded teams since 1980, while men’s basketball played its first game in 1906. The men’s team has had 47 winning seasons and was the Southern Conference champion in 2010, 2011, 2014 and 2015, putting the team in the NCAA Tournament four of the past six years.
The teams currently play their home games in Benjamin Johnson Arena in the Campus Life Building, which opened in 1981. Before that, teams played in Andrews Field House.
“When our student-athletes graduate and see the Jerry Richardson Indoor Stadium, they will remember the moments of hard work and grit, the elation of victory… even the lessons learned in defeat,” said head volleyball coach Lynze Roos. “The new stadium will be a symbol of how much one person can positively affect the lives of others.”
The Jerry Richardson Indoor Stadium also will have a seating capacity for non-athletics functions, such as commencement and concerts, of 4,500. It will include home and visitor lockers for multiple sports, a state-of-the-art training room, coaches’ offices and locker rooms and team meeting rooms. Other features include a video board and ribbon boards, plus designated areas specifically designed for students, fans, children and donors. Several open-air suites also are planned.