McDonough Gymnasium

Last updated
McDonough Gymnasium
"McDonough Arena"
McDonough Gymnasium Exterior.jpg
McDonough Memorial Gymnasium on December 11, 2016
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McDonough Gymnasium
McDonough Gymnasium′s location in Washington, D.C.
Full nameMcDonough Memorial Gymnasium
Address Georgetown University Washington, D.C. 20057
Coordinates 38°54′27″N77°04′39″W / 38.90750°N 77.07750°W / 38.90750; -77.07750 Coordinates: 38°54′27″N77°04′39″W / 38.90750°N 77.07750°W / 38.90750; -77.07750
OwnerGeorgetown University
OperatorGeorgetown University
Capacity 2,200
Construction
Broke groundMay 20, 1950
OpenedDecember 8, 1951 (1951-12-08)
Construction cost$250,000
Tenants
Georgetown Hoyas men's basketball (NCAA) (1951–1981 and occasional games since 1982)
Georgetown Hoyas women's basketball
Georgetown Hoyas women's volleyball
James "Jabbo" Kenner League (1982–present)

McDonough Gymnasium, sometimes referred to as McDonough Arena when hosting a sports or entertainment event, is a multi-purpose arena on the campus of Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Officially known as McDonough Memorial Gymnasium, it opened in 1951 and can hold 2,200 spectators for sports events. [1]

Contents

One source claims that "McDonough Gymnasium" refers to the building as a whole, while "McDonough Arena" refers only to the event space within the building where athletic and social events take place. [2]

Naming and construction

The building, first proposed in 1927, [1] is named for Rev. Vincent J. McDonough, S.J., Georgetown's athletic director from 1916 to 1928. [3] Legend has it that three days before his death on September 3, 1939, he was asked what he wanted for the 25th anniversary of his priesthood, to which he replied, "You give the boys a new gym and I'll be happy." Though he did not live to see it, ground was broken for construction of the new gymnasium on May 20, 1950, the cornerstone was laid on October 14, 1950, and the official ribbon-cutting and opening was held December 8, 1951. When it opened, McDonough Gymnasium's capacity was 3,500 to 4,000 for basketball and 5,500 for general events. [4] [5] Its seating capacity for events has varied greatly over the years. [5] Air conditioning was installed in the building in 1988. [6]

Men's basketball

Georgetown Hoyas

Before McDonough opened, the Georgetown Hoyas men's basketball team had played its home games in an on-campus facility only from the 1914-15 season through the 1926-27 season, when the Hoyas played at Ryan Gymnasium. [7] McDonough's opening allowed the Georgetown men's team to move back on campus, and it was the home court of the Hoyas for 30 seasons, from 1951-52 [8] [7] through 1980-81. [7] Play at McDonough began with a 57–50 loss to Fordham on December 7, 1951 [8] the day before McDonough's official opening but the team went on to post an 11–1 home record in McDonough's inaugural season. The Hoyas had a .500 or better home record in 29 of their 30 seasons at McDonough. [7]

McDonough hosted a semifinal game of the Division I men's basketball ECAC South Region Tournament, organized by the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC), in both 1977 and 1978. [9] [10] [11]

To accommodate its growing fan base, the men's basketball team moved to the Capital Centre (later known as USAir Arena and later still as US Airways Arena) in Landover, Maryland, beginning with the 1981-1982 season, [7] and early in the 1997-1998 season it moved again to the MCI Center, a new downtown Washington, D.C., arena later renamed the Verizon Center and now known as Capital One Arena. [7] However, McDonough remained the team's practice facility until 2016, and from 1981 to 2019 it on occasion hosted Georgetown preseason and regular-season games, generally against less-well-known opponents; Big East Conference rules did not permit Georgetown to host conference games there because of the gymnasium's small capacity, [7] and no regular-season games against well-known opponents have been held at McDonough since Georgetown played there against No. 4 Missouri in February 1982 [12] and Big East rival Providence in January 1984. [12] The only exceptions have been postseason games Georgetown hosted during appearances in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT); under NIT rules, schools in the tournament were required to play games on campus or at campus-owned facilities, and so the Hoyas hosted 1993 and 2005 NIT games at McDonough. A scheduling conflict at the Verizon Center, which already had booked the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus on game day, forced Georgetown to host a 2014 NIT game at McDonough. [13] [14] McDonough also hosted a 2019 NIT game on an evening when Capital One Arena – as the Verizon Center had been renamed in August 2017 [15] – was in use for a Washington Capitals National Hockey League game. [16]

To comply with public health restrictions in Washington, D.C., during the COVID-19 pandemic, the team played all of its home games during the 2020-2021 season at McDonough, [17] [18] the first time it had done so since the 1980-1981 season. The season included Georgetown's first home opener at McDonough since the 2001-2002 season, [19] and by the time the team had played its first six home games it already had played more games at McDonough during a single season than any time since 1980-1981. [19] [20] No fans were allowed at the games, and 500 cardboard cut-outs of fans and their pets were placed in the stands instead. [21]

Kenner League

McDonough Gymnasium has hosted the James "Jabbo" Kenner League — officially known as "Nike Pro City Summer League-Washington" since 2007 — every summer since the league's founding in 1982 [6] except in 2020, when the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic forced its cancellation. [22] The only National Collegiate Athletic Association-sponsored summer basketball league in Washington, D.C., the Kenner League operates independently of Georgetown University, and provides an NCAA-structured environment in which Washington, D.C.-area high school and college players gain experience. [6] It also includes "senior" games between teams consisting of former Georgetown players, visiting National Basketball Association players, and legendary players from Washington, D.C.-area playgrounds. [6]

John Thompson Jr. Court

In the wake of the death on August 30, 2020, of John Thompson Jr. [23] — Georgetown's men's basketball head coach from 1972 to 1999 — Georgetown University paid tribute to him by naming the men's team's home court "John Thompson Jr. Court" during a ceremony at McDonough Gymnasium prior to the men's basketball team's season-opening game on November 25, 2020. [24] Plans called for the men's team eventually to honor Thompson with a court-naming ceremony at Capital One Arena once COVID-19 pandemic-related public-health restrictions in Washington, D.C., loosened enough to permit the team to resume playing its home games there. [24]

Other uses

McDonough Gymnasium hosting the University of Connecticut Huskies in a women's basketball game against Georgetown on January 9, 2013 McDonough Gymnasium interior.jpg
McDonough Gymnasium hosting the University of Connecticut Huskies in a women's basketball game against Georgetown on January 9, 2013
McDonough Gymnasium's scoreboard during the women's basketball game on January 9, 2013 McDonough Gymnasium scoreboard.jpg
McDonough Gymnasium's scoreboard during the women's basketball game on January 9, 2013

When it opened in 1951, McDonough housed facilities for four intercollegiate teams, but it eventually served 29 of them. [1] In addition to an occasional Georgetown Hoyas men's basketball game and each summer's Kenner League games, McDonough Gymnasium continues to host Georgetown women's basketball and women's volleyball games.

Each year in mid-October, McDonough Gymnasium hosts Hoya Madness, a free event for Georgetown students and athletics donors which unofficially kicks off the upcoming college basketball season and introduces Georgetown's men's and women's basketball teams for that season. The event also includes performances by the Georgetown pep squad and band and by musical groups. [25]

Many concerts have been held at McDonough Gymnasium, including shows by Count Basie, Chuck Berry, Ray Charles, Bruce Springsteen, The Who, and the Grateful Dead. [1] [3] [7] It has also hosted the GE College Bowl, a professional tennis tournament, and protests against the Vietnam War. [1] During its history, the building also has hosted a number of visiting foreign dignitaries, bishops, and academics, as well as graduation ceremonies. [3]

President Barack Obama speaks at McDonough Gymnasium on March 30, 2011. Obama Georgetown University energy security speech.jpg
President Barack Obama speaks at McDonough Gymnasium on March 30, 2011.

McDonough Gymnasium was the site of one of President Dwight D. Eisenhower′s two inaugural balls in January 1953. [7] In addition to Eisenhower, Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton visited McDonough Gymnasium, [1] and on March 30, 2011, President Barack Obama gave a speech on U.S. energy security policy there. [26] [27]

McDonough Gymnasium hosts freshman convocation at the beginning of each academic year.[ citation needed ]

When it opened in 1951, McDonough Gymnasium had a stage for theatrical performances and housed coaches′ offices, weight rooms, a squash court, and the university's physical education and student health programs. [5] In its early years, it also included dormitory rooms for students. [5] Over the years, McDonough Gymnasium also has provided office space for the university's athletics administration offices and housed sports medicine and training room facilities and varsity locker rooms. [3] [5] Until Yates Field House opened in 1979, McDonough Gymnasium was the only facility for intramural sports on the Georgetown campus. [7]

A portrait of the building's namesake, Rev. Vincent J. McDonough, hangs in McDonough Gymnasium's lobby, where dozens of Georgetown's national trophies and sports memorabilia, some dating as far back as the early 20th century, are on display. [3]

After opening of the Thompson Center

McDonough Gymnasium's aging practice and training facilities had long been considered overcrowded and obsolete [28] when, on September 12, 2014, Georgetown held a groundbreaking ceremony for the four-story, 144,000-square-foot (13,378-square-meter) John R. Thompson Jr. Intercollegiate Athletics Center, whose northwest corner is adjacent to the southeast corner of McDonough. Construction of the new center began in November 2014. Officially opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on October 6, 2016 — the first new intercollegiate athletic facility constructed at Georgetown since McDonough [1] — the Thompson Center serves all 29 of the university's varsity sports programs providing them with locker rooms, practice courts, and other training facilities and houses the offices of the men's and women's basketball programs. [28] [29] [30]

The Thompson Center replaced McDonough as the university's primary athletic center, but McDonough Gymnasium remains in use. Physically connected to the Thompson Center, McDonough continues to house the administrative offices of the university's athletics department and the women's basketball and volleyball teams continue to play their home games there. [3] [29] [31] [32] McDonough Gymnasium continues to host various university and community special events and to serve as a venue in which Georgetown alumni, parents, and fans gather before and after Georgetown sporting events. [1] [3]

Future plans

In 2000, Georgetown's athletic director unveiled a $22 million proposal to renovate McDonough Gymnasium, modernizing it to serve as a "convocation center" with an improved capability to host both athletic and social events, as well as provide an on-campus basketball venue that meets Big East Conference standards. [1] The proposal involved leaving the building's walls standing and avoiding any increase in its height, and digging down into McDonough's foundation to create a bowl-type basketball arena with a seating capacity of 6,000 to 7,000, with the basketball court rotated 90 degrees from its existing configuration, [1] as well as the construction of a new practice facility adjacent to McDonough. [1] The concept of a new practice center survived, resulting in the construction of the Thompson Center, but no work on McDonough itself took place. The university decided to prioritize other athletics projects in its plans between 2000 and 2010, and did not include the conversion of McDonough into a "convocation center" in its 2010–2020 plan for athletic facility improvements. [1]

By February 2018, McDonough was the oldest gymnasium of its kind in Washington, D.C., [1] and among the 20 oldest on-campus facilities in NCAA Division I. [1] As of February 2018, however, Georgetown had no plans to renovate McDonough, and did not plan to construct any new indoor intercollegiate facilities through at least 2036. [1]

See also

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The 1980–81 Georgetown Hoyas men's basketball team represented Georgetown University in the 1980–81 NCAA Division I basketball season. John Thompson, coached them in his ninth season as head coach. It was the last season in which they played all of their home games at McDonough Gymnasium on the Georgetown campus in Washington, D.C. They were members of the Big East Conference and finished the season with a record of 20-12 overall, 9-5 in Big East play. They advanced to the semifinals of the 1981 Big East Tournament before losing to Syracuse. In the 1981 NCAA Tournament, they lost in the first round to James Madison.

1977–78 Georgetown Hoyas mens basketball team American college basketball season

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1976–77 Georgetown Hoyas mens basketball team American college basketball season

The 1976–77 Georgetown Hoyas men's basketball team represented Georgetown University during the 1976-77 NCAA Division I college basketball season. John Thompson, coached them in his fifth season as head coach. An independent, Georgetown played its home games at McDonough Gymnasium on the Georgetown campus in Washington, D.C., and finished the season with a record of 19-9. Knocked out of the ECAC South Region Tournament for the first time in the semifinals, the team missed an NCAA Tournament bid for the first time since 1974. The Hoyas instead appeared in the 1977 National Invitation Tournament (NIT), their first NIT appearance since 1970, and lost in the first round to Virginia Tech.

1975–76 Georgetown Hoyas mens basketball team American college basketball season

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1974–75 Georgetown Hoyas mens basketball team American college basketball season

The 1974–75 Georgetown Hoyas men's basketball team represented Georgetown University during the 1974-75 NCAA Division I college basketball season. John Thompson, coached them in his third season as head coach. Georgetown was an independent that played its home games at McDonough Gymnasium on the Georgetown campus in Washington, D.C., and finished the season with a record of 18-10. The team won the 1975 ECAC South Region Tournament and appeared in the 1975 NCAA Tournament – the Hoyas's first appearance in that tournament since 1943 – and lost to Central Michigan in the first round.

1973–74 Georgetown Hoyas mens basketball team American college basketball season

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1969–70 Georgetown Hoyas mens basketball team American college basketball season

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1952–53 Georgetown Hoyas mens basketball team American college basketball season

The 1952–53 Georgetown Hoyas men's basketball team represented Georgetown University during the 1952–53 NCAA Division I college basketball season. Harry "Buddy" Jeannette – who had played professional basketball from 1938 to 1950 and had coached the original Baltimore Bullets from 1947 to 1951 – coached the 1952–53 Hoyas in his first season as head coach. The team was an independent and played its home games at McDonough Gymnasium on the Georgetown campus in Washington, D.C. It finished with a record of 13-7 – the most successful team of Jeannette's four-year tenure as head coach – and became the first Georgetown men's basketball team ever to be invited to the National Invitation Tournament (NIT), losing to Louisville in the first round of the 1953 NIT.

1951–52 Georgetown Hoyas mens basketball team American college basketball season

The 1951–52 Georgetown Hoyas men's basketball team represented Georgetown University during the 1951–52 NCAA Division I college basketball season. Francis "Buddy" O'Grady coached it in his third and final season as head coach. The team was an independent and played its home games at McDonough Gymnasium on the Georgetown campus in Washington, D.C. It finished the season with a record of 15-10 and had no postseason play.

1950–51 Georgetown Hoyas mens basketball team American college basketball season

The 1950–51 Georgetown Hoyas men's basketball team represented Georgetown University during the 1950–51 NCAA Division I college basketball season. Francis "Buddy" O'Grady coached it in his second season as head coach. The team was an independent and moved to Uline Arena in Washington, D.C., for its home games this season. It finished with a record of 8-14 and had no post-season play.

1927–28 Georgetown Hoyas mens basketball team American college basketball season

The 1927–28 Georgetown Hoyas men's basketball team represented Georgetown University during the 1927-28 NCAA Division I college basketball season. Elmer Ripley coached it in his first season as head coach. Georgetown was an independent and played its home games at the Arcade Rink, also known as the Arcadia and as the Arcade Auditorium, in Washington, D.C., which it had also used for home games from 1911 to 1914.

2020–21 Georgetown Hoyas mens basketball team American college basketball season

The 2020–21 Georgetown Hoyas men's basketball team represented Georgetown University in the 2020–21 NCAA Division I men's basketball season. The Hoyas, led by fourth-year head coach Patrick Ewing, were members of the Big East Conference. Although the Hoyas normally play their home games at the Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C., public-health restrictions due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic forced Georgetown to play its home games on campus at McDonough Gymnasium without fans.

References

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  26. georgetown.edu President Obama at Georgetown
  27. georgetown.edu Obama Sets Goal to Cut One-Third of Oil Imports
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