Cole Field House

Coordinates: 38°59′16.6″N 76°56′48.1″W / 38.987944°N 76.946694°W / 38.987944; -76.946694

Cole Field House

Exterior, summer 2007

Interior, summer 2007
Former names Student Activities Building (1955–1956)
Location 4095 Union Line
College Park, Maryland 20742
Owner University of Maryland
Operator University of Maryland
Capacity 14,596
Opened December 2, 1955
Construction cost $3.3 million
($29.2 million in 2016 dollars[1])
Maryland Terrapins (NCAA) (19552002)
Capital Bullets (NBA) (1973)
Maryland Maniacs (IFL) (2010)

The William P. Cole, Jr. Student Activities Building, more commonly known as Cole Field House, was the home of the University of Maryland basketball teams from 1955 until it was replaced by XFINITY Center (originally called Comcast Center) in 2002. Cole is situated in the heart of the campus, right next to Stamp Student Union and near McKeldin Library.

Cole Field House still holds the distinction of being the site of the most upsets of No. 1-ranked men's basketball teams. In 2002, Maryland defeated Duke, the seventh and final top-ranked foe to lose at the arena.


The building was originally constructed in 1955 as the Student Activities Building at a cost of $3.3 million. Although the building's original capacity was 12,000, additional seats were installed throughout the years to bring the final capacity to 14,596 (in 1993). The first basketball game was played on December 2, 1955, when Maryland beat Virginia 6755.[2]

The first coach at the venue, Bud Millikan, did not like its size, saying at one point "It's like playing on a neutral court" with seats too far from the courts. In the late 1960s Lefty Driesell added nearly 3,000 seats around the court raising the hometown decibel level.[3]

The center was renamed the William P. Cole, Jr. Student Activities Building in 1956 after Judge William P. Cole, Jr., who was chairman of the university's Board of Regents from 1944 to 1956.

Cole Field House held its first NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament East Region finals in 1962, when New York University defeated St. John's in the regional final, 9485. The NCAA Tournament Final Four was first held here in 1966 between Duke, Kentucky, Texas Western (now Texas-El Paso), and Utah. Texas Western (which started all black players) upset Kentucky's all-white team 7265 in front of a crowd of 14,253. Future Maryland men's basketball coach Gary Williams, then a student, attended the game. Cole also hosted the NCAA Tournament Final Four in 1970.[2]

Cole hosted the Division I men's basketball ECAC South-Upstate Region Tournament, organized by the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC), in 1979.[4][5]

In 1991, Cole was the site of the first-ever upset of an NCAA Tournament No. 2-seed at the hands of a No. 15-seed, as Richmond defeated heavily favored Syracuse, 73-69.[6]

As of 2014, Cole Field House still holds the distinction of being the site of the most upsets of No. 1-ranked men's basketball teams. The Terrapins accounted for six of the upsets at Cole, while the other one occurred in the 1966 Final Four where No. 3 Texas Western defeated No. 1 Kentucky. The seventh such occurrence was on February 27, 2002, when Maryland defeated No. 1 Duke. The venues which hosted the second- and third-most No. 1 upsets are Notre Dame's Joyce Athletics & Convention Center (six) and Oklahoma's Lloyd Noble Center (five), respectively.[7]

The Maryland Maniacs indoor football team used Cole Field House as its home venue in 2010.


In the 1990s, the administration at Maryland followed a trend occurring at other schools in the ACC to seek a new facility that provided more seating and amenities than were present at Cole Field House. However, this decision brought some debate. Coach Gary Williams privately wished the team remain at Cole due to the home court advantage he received. The small, cramped arena made Cole Field House a loud and difficult place for opponents to play in.[8]

The last Maryland men's basketball game played at Cole Field House was on March 3, 2002, when Maryland defeated Virginia 11292. The team now plays at the XFINITY Center. Overall, 13 men's All-Americans and 4 women's All-Americans have played at Cole. Maryland men's basketball remained undefeated at Cole during its last season and went on to win the National Championship.

Current usage

Cole Field House is still used by the university in athletic and non-athletic ways. The soccer field is used as a practice facility by some athletes. The upper level also serves as a makeshift track. When not used for athletics, the building is used for Homecoming events and classes, and holds offices.

Because of the grand space enclosed by the structure and its location in the middle of campus, it has been the subject of speculation for renewal and reuse. One such idea is to build a station for the future Purple Line of the Maryland Transit Administration.[9]

On September 24, 2013, the Maryland Athletic Department announced that the Terrapin men's and women's basketball teams would hold their Maryland Madness event on October 18 at Cole Field House.[10]


In November 2014, the University of Maryland announced a multi-phase project to renovate and expand Cole Field House. The renovations will include the Terrapin Performance Center, which will serve as the headquarters for the Maryland Terrapins football team. The center will include an indoor practice field, strength and training facility, locker rooms, meeting rooms, and offices for the coaching staff.[11]

In addition to football facilities, Cole Field House will be the home for Maryland's Center for Sports Medicine and Academy for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The $155 million project will be funded by Big Ten conference revenues, the State of Maryland, rental income, and private donations, including a $25 million gift from Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank. Construction is expected to begin in December 2015, complete Phase I in 2017, and complete Phase II in 2018.[11][12]

Other notable events

University of Maryland, College Park campus


  1. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved October 21, 2016.
  2. 1 2 "Cole Field House – Maryland Terrapins Athletics – University of Maryland Terps Official Athletic Site". Maryland Terrapins Athletics. 26 September 2000. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
  3. Terps' Cole rebounded to be cherished hoops home – Baltimore Sun – March 05, 2002
  4. "ECAC Men's Basketball Tournaments – Varsity Pride". Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  5. "1979 ECAC Men's Basketball Tournaments – Varsity Pride". Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  6. Juliano, Joe (15 March 1991). "Syracuse Stunned By Richmond 2d-seeded Orange Are Ousted, 73-69". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
  7. History & Honors, p. 183, 2009 Maryland Basketball Media Guide, 2009.
  8. John Feinstein, A March to Madness: A View from the Floor in the Atlantic Coast Conference
  9. "Purple line plans may speed up – News". Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  10. "Maryland Madness to be Held at Cole Field House – Maryland Terrapins Athletics – University of Maryland Terps Official Athletic Site". Maryland Terrapins Athletics. 24 September 2013. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
  11. 1 2 "University of Maryland Unveils New Vision for Cole Field House". 21 November 2014. Retrieved 22 November 2014.
  12. Stubbs, Roman (21 November 2014). "Maryland officially releases Cole Field House facility plans". Washington Post. Retrieved 22 November 2014.
  13. ELVIS, HIS LIFE FROM A TO Z. Library of Congress: Wings Books. 1992. pp. 338–339. ISBN 0-517-06634-3.
  14. GONZALES, PATRICK (January 29, 2005). "Lights, Camera, Action". Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Retrieved 4 Dec 2012.
  15. GINSBURG, DAVID. "First women's college basketball game on national TV was hard sell". ACC. Retrieved 4 Dec 2012.
  16. "PSU's JoePa era stretches generations". Retrieved 4 Dec 2012.
  17. "The History of Women's Basketball". Retrieved 4 Dec 2012.
  18. [Concerts "QUEEN CONCERTS – 04.02.1977 – Queen live in Cole Field House, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, USA"] Check |url= value (help). Retrieved 30 September 2013.
  19. [Dead (official site) "Cole Field House – March 7, 1981 | Grateful Dead"] Check |url= value (help). Rhino Entertainment Company. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
  20. Pagel, Bill. [Dates "Bob Dylan – Bob Links – Fall 1998 Tour Guide"] Check |url= value (help). Retrieved 29 September 2013.
Preceded by
Ritchie Coliseum
Home of the
Maryland Terrapins

1955 2002
Succeeded by
Preceded by

Memorial Coliseum
Freedom Hall
NCAA Men's Division I
Basketball Tournament
Finals Venue

Succeeded by

Freedom Hall
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