Hilton Coliseum | Basketball, Gymnastics, Volleyball, Wrestling
James H. Hilton Coliseum opened its doors on Dec. 2, 1971, with a price tag of $8.15 million. Over its 35-year history, the building has been home to the Cyclone basketball, gymnastics, volleyball and wrestling teams and has hosted several NCAA events and countless numbers of memorable moments in Iowa State athletics history.
Hilton has played host to 12 NCAA events in its history, most recently hosting the 2006 NCAA Gymnastics Regional Meet. Also in 2006 and 2008, the facility displayed its versatility, hosting the Beauty and the Beast promotion in which more than 7,000 fans watch wrestling and gymnastics simultaneously.
Iowa State’s crowds certainly rank among the nation’s most “rabid” despite the plush surroundings and 14,356 theater cushioned seats that make Hilton Coliseum look more like a concert hall than an arena. Renovations to Hilton occurred in the summer of 2006 that further increased its appeal as one of the nation’s top arenas. A spectacular new score and video board by Daktronics was introduced by Daktronics. The system includes a center-hung score and video display featuring Daktronics’ ProStar technology and ProAd digital displays. The new video boards have the capability to showcase game information, statistics, amazing colorful animation and spectacular video images.
Major entrances are located at the elevated walkway level to minimize conflict between pedestrians and vehicles. Specialized design treatment and sound systems provide surprisingly good acoustical quality for such a large arena.
Also included in the facility are seven meeting rooms, the coliseum offices, athletic equipment storage areas, and a lower concourse area that will house a complete mobile television trailer only a few feet beyond the basketball baseline.
A Magical Experience
On Dec. 2, 1971, during the midst of a cold winter, 14,510 Cyclone faithful warmed the inside of their new basketball arena. James H. Hilton Coliseum was officially open. The men on the floor didn’t disappoint the rabid fans, as Iowa State recorded its first victory on the new floor, trouncing Arizona, 71-54.
Now, Hilton Coliseum has been transformed into one of the nation’s finest basketball facilities. Hilton offers visitors the excitement of collegiate basketball in the comfort of theater-style seats. The addition of a spectacular new score and video board introduced by Daktronics in 2006 distinguishes Hilton Coliseum from its competition. The system includes a center-hung score and video display featuring Daktronics’ ProStar technology and ProAd digital displays. The new video boards have the capability to showcase game information, statistics, amazing colorful animation and spectacular video images.
However, one thing that hasn’t changed is the enthusiasm and passion for college basketball displayed by Cyclone fans. Hilton Coliseum has earned national recognition as one of college basketball’s most electric environments. If the walls could speak, they would tell stories depicting the Iowa State squad overcoming insurmountable odds to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Fueled by the passion of Iowa State basketball fanatics, the Cyclones have been able to produce magic on the floor.
“Hilton Magic,” the power of the Coliseum faithful to produce unexpected victories, was first recognized by Des Moines Register sportswriter Buck Turnbull. On a Feb. 14, 1989, showdown with No. 3 Missouri, the Cyclones conjured up the spirit of the Hilton crowd to produce a stunning 82-75 victory. The following day’s headline read “Hilton Magic Spells ‘Upset’ One More Time.”
In the article, Turnbull called for more “Hilton Magic” in the Cyclones’ upcoming bout with Oklahoma State, which had pummeled ISU, 102-74, just three weeks earlier. On cue, “Hilton Magic” displayed its powers, as the Cyclones defeated the Cowboys, 90-81, marking a 37-point reversal from the season’s prior meeting.
More than a decade old, the term “Hilton Magic” is still applicable today. This reality was never more apparent than ISU’s school-record 39-game homecourt winning streak that was ended during the 2001-02 season. The streak, which spanned four different basketball seasons, was the second-longest in the nation at the time. In 2003-04, Iowa State went 17-1 in Hilton, recording the second-best single-season home win total in school history.
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