Should we ever actually consider moving games back to Varsity Gym?

diehardapp18
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Should we ever actually consider moving games back to Varsity Gym?

Unread post by diehardapp18 » Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:56 pm



So while procrastinating for finals I stumbled upon this video. It's a game of App State vs. ETSU from 1991. I'm a student who is heavily invested in the basketball team, but there aren't many like me. I seriously want to hear some opinions from you older guys that have spent more time around the program. Games in Convo are just boring. And sure, a lot of that relates back to the fact that are team is rarely good but I just don't think there's anything that makes it stand out. It's boring, no cool or unique features. Just a boring stadium. Look at this game in varsity gym. Obviously it didn't hold near as much as Convo does, but it's packed and way more intimate.

This idea may get laughed at, especially since we just got that huge new video board and everything. I'm just newer to App sports and I know a lot of you have been fans for decades. Would it be that crazy of an idea? As a student who loves college hoops we've got to try something new to make basketball games a more enjoyable experience for students. Obviously winning would be the best way to do that, but still.



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Re: Should we ever actually consider moving games back to Varsity Gym?

Unread post by Rekdiver » Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:05 pm

Nice idea....but no.



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Re: Should we ever actually consider moving games back to Varsity Gym?

Unread post by AppSt94 » Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:15 pm

Winning would be the biggest catalyst for moving the attendance needle. Games in the early 90’s were great at Varsity. The game against a ranked Nebraska was the best outside of any game involving ETSU. Don’t be fooled, there were stinkers in there but it was a fun atmosphere. The intimate venues that are still being used are few and far between. I appreciate your love of the nostalgia but I can’t see the school getting Varsity up to code to host events there when they have the big beautiful building.

Good luck on exams.



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Re: Should we ever actually consider moving games back to Varsity Gym?

Unread post by AppDawg » Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:30 pm

Varsity was an awesome atmosphere. I was fortunate to have experienced it for its last tour in ‘99/‘00 as a Freshman.

Was always a proponent for at least 1 “throw-back” game like NC State does at Reynolds. Unfortunately, I seem to recall hearing most of the old bleachers have been ripped out such that the gym is no longer able to hold such large events.



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Re: Should we ever actually consider moving games back to Varsity Gym?

Unread post by app97 » Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:39 pm

maybe the athletic dept. should hand out free pizza to students. That's what WCU did Monday night, and it worked. Of course, they were playing who they still consider to be a big in-state rival as well.



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Re: Should we ever actually consider moving games back to Varsity Gym?

Unread post by beav910 » Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:05 am

I'm a fellow student and a senior so I understand your pain. I agree varsity probably would get more rowdy due to proximity alone. Winning will help a lot though. You'll have to search through the archives but I believe the BGP talked about Varsity vs. Convo in pretty good detail.


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Re: Should we ever actually consider moving games back to Varsity Gym?

Unread post by beav910 » Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:06 am

app97 wrote:
Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:39 pm
maybe the athletic dept. should hand out free pizza to students. That's what WCU did Monday night, and it worked. Of course, they were playing who they still consider to be a big in-state rival as well.
They tried this last year and it didn't really do anything special attendance wise.


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Re: Should we ever actually consider moving games back to Varsity Gym?

Unread post by GOAPPS37 » Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:39 am

I was a student from 1977-81 during the Cremins' years. Varsity Gym was definitely "home court" advantage for us. I can remember sprinting from Justice on a Saturday afternoon to secure a bleacher seat for a game against our hated rivals, the Furman Paladins and those Saturday games were typically shown on regional TV which added more excitement. Our success began with Cremins who was able to recruit some great players from the Bronx and build the program from that core of talent. I miss those days terribly. My son, who is in his 5th year at APP (Grad School this year) and I recently went to the Davidson game. As we were leaving Holmes, I challenged him to tell his buddies how well the team performed and get them to come to the next game. IMO, the attendance woes fall on the students primarily. Yes, there are many other variables to get folks into Holmes, but you are only asking for two hours of a student's time to come out and support the team. I will never forget when we opened Holmes with UNC. What an atmosphere with the place completely sold out! If students could only find that video on YouTube, maybe they would ask themselves....what if?



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Re: Should we ever actually consider moving games back to Varsity Gym?

Unread post by AppOrange » Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:11 am

Not possible for a variety of reasons. Where we play is less important than how we play when when it comes to attendance. More efforts like USF and less like JMU and WCU and attendance will take care of itself. I witnessed many a game at Varsity, when we had a good teams, we had a great atmosphere, when we stunk, crickets and many empties. Win.


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Re: Should we ever actually consider moving games back to Varsity Gym?

Unread post by MDaniels84 » Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:17 am

I have a memory of a game in Varsity when Yosef actually shot his powder loader and just about blew out the eardrum of a coach from Marshall. Am I remembering this correctly? :shock:



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Re: Should we ever actually consider moving games back to Varsity Gym?

Unread post by appknowledgeispower » Thu Dec 07, 2017 8:17 am

You need people who have a connection to App to drum up the attendance. It isn't a difficult solution, but some don't want to go the extra mile or put in the maximum effort to assist the basketball attendance. Yes, a winning product helps but even back in the 2009-2010 season that culminated with a 24-13 record, and a handful of points shy from an NCAA berth....the crowds were just ok. Back then marketing took a back seat to football, but the team interacted constantly with other student-athletes, fellow students, professors, and had an extremely strong presence in the community. This is now starting to happen again but certainly did not take place during the Capel experiment. People don't have to believe it but the fact is, you have to do ground work to make attendance rise! Many in marketing over the years have not stayed around long enough to try to help this concern.



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Re: Should we ever actually consider moving games back to Varsity Gym?

Unread post by AppfaninCAALand » Thu Dec 07, 2017 8:18 am

I was a student while they were considering building the convo center and then starting construction. I went to most of the games in the last years of Varsity, Apke's last 2 years and Buzz's first 2. There were some great games, playing Ga Tech with Bobby Cremins and Kenny Anderson and beating a top 25 UNCC comes to mind. Varsity could get LOUD when the crowd was into it, but they were often still very small.

With the way the windows and doors were, you knew there was a game on from all over campus. I think half the games I went to were because was walking to the library and got distracted by the sounds of the pep band playing HiHiYikas drifting through the air.

I seem to remember in the talk of building the new place, one option was renovating Varsity, but the chancellor wanted his white elephant. In hind site, renovatation may have been the way to go. But how much of that is nostalgia over reason?



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Re: Should we ever actually consider moving games back to Varsity Gym?

Unread post by bigdaddyg » Thu Dec 07, 2017 8:36 am

Much has been written about the reasons for low attendance for basketball games. I have a hard time with the “too far to walk” excuse. Is the Holmes Center really that far of a walk for students? I realize some folks here won’t like the comparison but look at what students at UNC and NCSU have to do. Carmichael was an excellent location for games back in the day and the Smith Center is a haul but there is zero problem with attendance. RBC V Reynolds, same thing. I was at App from 82-86 and rarely if ever missed a basketball game. We hit the Bavarian Inn for some delicious food off of the wheel then walked over to Varsity. It’s funny, I can still recall sitting in Varsity thinking that many of the sight lines were crappy for a game (end zone seats). Seemed like we were in a big high school gym. Looking back nostalgically it was great. Times and perspectives do change.



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Re: Should we ever actually consider moving games back to Varsity Gym?

Unread post by /\PP ST/\TE GRAD 09 » Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:14 am

My ass walked from App Heights to the Holmes Center in the brutal Boone winter winds with a girl that complained non stop. Distance isn't an excuse for someone that really wants to attend. They will find a way. 262-Ride if they still offer that, Appalcart, etc. The problem isn't where games are played, it's just there is no interest. Hopefully winning can change that for some people. Just continue to do your part by attending and promote games in class, at the cafe, library, etc.

Side note. I do think it be cool to set up one game there as a fun throwback game. Wouldn't make it an annual occurrence, but once would be cool. Possibly against an old rivalry. No way people would want to sit on those high school type seats all year long.



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Re: Should we ever actually consider moving games back to Varsity Gym?

Unread post by appgrouch » Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:32 am

With the stands that they have in there now, there is not really enough room for a wrestling mat or the volleyball court.


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Re: Should we ever actually consider moving games back to Varsity Gym?

Unread post by t4pizza » Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:35 am

I really think the location of varsity was key to many of the good crowds. Can't tell you how many times I was walking to eat with friends when we realized there was a game and then went. That just can't happen at Holmes because of the location. Having the game next to the library and the largest food center on campus definitely helped with attendance at Varsity.



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Re: Should we ever actually consider moving games back to Varsity Gym?

Unread post by NewApp » Thu Dec 07, 2017 10:24 am

bigdaddyg wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 8:36 am
Much has been written about the reasons for low attendance for basketball games. I have a hard time with the “too far to walk” excuse. Is the Holmes Center really that far of a walk for students? I realize some folks here won’t like the comparison but look at what students at UNC and NCSU have to do. Carmichael was an excellent location for games back in the day and the Smith Center is a haul but there is zero problem with attendance. RBC V Reynolds, same thing. I was at App from 82-86 and rarely if ever missed a basketball game. We hit the Bavarian Inn for some delicious food off of the wheel then walked over to Varsity. It’s funny, I can still recall sitting in Varsity thinking that many of the sight lines were crappy for a game (end zone seats). Seemed like we were in a big high school gym. Looking back nostalgically it was great. Times and perspectives do change.
1. The big high school gym atmosphere was why it worked. The new place makes it feel like an auditorium rather than a gym and makes the court look small.
2. My 12 year old and I walked from Grace Lutheran Saturday night, so I don't buy the too far to walk idea although being in center of campus, Varsity made it more appealing to casual walk-ins and thus a habit.


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Re: Should we ever actually consider moving games back to Varsity Gym?

Unread post by NoLongerLurking » Thu Dec 07, 2017 11:10 am

It would be cool to have one game a year there.



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Re: Should we ever actually consider moving games back to Varsity Gym?

Unread post by bigdaddyg » Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:44 pm

NewApp wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 10:24 am
bigdaddyg wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 8:36 am
Much has been written about the reasons for low attendance for basketball games. I have a hard time with the “too far to walk” excuse. Is the Holmes Center really that far of a walk for students? I realize some folks here won’t like the comparison but look at what students at UNC and NCSU have to do. Carmichael was an excellent location for games back in the day and the Smith Center is a haul but there is zero problem with attendance. RBC V Reynolds, same thing. I was at App from 82-86 and rarely if ever missed a basketball game. We hit the Bavarian Inn for some delicious food off of the wheel then walked over to Varsity. It’s funny, I can still recall sitting in Varsity thinking that many of the sight lines were crappy for a game (end zone seats). Seemed like we were in a big high school gym. Looking back nostalgically it was great. Times and perspectives do change.
1. The big high school gym atmosphere was why it worked. The new place makes it feel like an auditorium rather than a gym and makes the court look small.
2. My 12 year old and I walked from Grace Lutheran Saturday night, so I don't buy the too far to walk idea although being in center of campus, Varsity made it more appealing to casual walk-ins and thus a habit.
At the time the perception by many was that Varsity seemed like a big high school gym. Did not say that was necessarily a bad thing. One great game I recall was against UT Chat when Damien Wilkins played there. Really good team. Me and a few buddies sat on the bottom bleacher across the floor from the UTC bench. We had a good time messing with Wilkins during the game while he was on the bench. He gave it right back to us. Attended one of the (still) best games in my life. We beat a Marshall team that on paper was WAY better than the Kevin Cantwell bunch. I think we beat them at the buzzer in a back and forth overtime thriller



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Re: Should we ever actually consider moving games back to Varsity Gym?

Unread post by AppinVA » Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:32 pm

I don't get the nostalgia. Varsity was a dump. Maybe it could've been renovated, but we may have lost a season or two of home games. When I was in school, there was a story going around that the coaching staff managed to sign a recruit, I believe it was Chad McClendon, without showing him the...ahem...arena.


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