LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The McNeese Cowboys men’s basketball team christened their new arena at their first home game against Loyola University New Orleans Friday, Nov. 16.
The $40 million, 4,200-seat complex is the new home of McNeese’s basketball teams, volleyball teams, and in Januray, the building will hold classes.
Will this new home draw more people to the stands? Athletics Director for McNeese, Bruce Hemphill, thinks so.
“With a new arena, new coach, new basketball team too, will not only increase attendance—a winning program, which we’re counting on, will help,” Hemphill said.
Hemphill believes a new arena might also increase student enrollment at the university.
“I think the students are pumped about watching basketball games in here. Our coaches have been all around town pumping it up in the area, as well as on campus," Hemphill said. "I think all of those will blend together to help not only be successful, but also help with enrollment on campus.”
McNeese fan Tyson Green said this is something the community has been waiting for.
“I think it’s pretty amazing to have something like this in here Lake Charles. It’s something we’ve sorely need[ed] to get the fans involved, to get the attendance up, and everybody to come support a team like what they have," Green said. "A new season, new coach; it’s gonna be great.”
One McNeese Senior, Chad Trosclair, said this new arena makes him proud. He agrees it will bring more students to the games this season.
“It’s such a different feeling than it was at the Burton because, like, this ours. This isn’t the Burton Coliseum, this is the McNeese Arena.”
McNeese lost Friday night with a final score of 79 to 78.