McDonough Gymnasium

McDonough Gymnasium, sometimes referred to as McDonough Arena when hosting a sports or entertainment event and officially known as McDonough Memorial Gymnasium, is a multi-purpose arena on the campus of Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. It opened in 1951 and can hold 2,500 people.

McDonough Gymnasium
"McDonough Arena"
McDonough Memorial Gymnasium on December 11, 2016
McDonough Gymnasium
McDonough Gymnasium′s location in Washington, D.C.
Full nameMcDonough Memorial Gymnasium
AddressGeorgetown University Washington, D.C. 20057
Coordinates38°54′27″N 77°04′39″W
OwnerGeorgetown University
OperatorGeorgetown University
Record attendance29
Broke groundMay 20, 1950
OpenedDecember 8, 1953 (1953-12-08)
Construction cost$250,000
Georgetown Hoyas men's basketball (NCAA) (1951–1981 and occasional games to present)
Georgetown Hoyas women's basketball
Georgetown Hoyas women's volleyball
James "Jabbo" Kenner League (1982–present)

Naming and construction

The building is named for Rev. Vincent J. McDonough, S.J., Georgetown's athletic director from 1916 to 1928. 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, its capacity was 4,000 for basketball and 5,500 for general events.[1] Air conditioning was installed in the building in 1988.[2]

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.[3] 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[4][3] through 1980-81.[3] Play at McDonough began with a 57-50 loss to Fordham on December 7, 1951[4] 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.[3]

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.[5][6][7]

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 1981-82 season,[3] and early in the 1997-98 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.[3] However, McDonough remained the team's practice facility until 2016, and since 1981 it has 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,[3] 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[8] and Big East rival Providence in January 1984.[8] The only exceptions have been 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.[9][10] McDonough also hosted a 2019 NIT game on an evening when Capital One Arena – as the Verizon Center had been renamed in August 2017[11] – was in use for a Washington Capitals National Hockey League game.[12]

Kenner League

McDonough Gymnasium has hosted the James "Jabbo" Kenner League every summer since the league's founding in 1982. 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.[2] 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.[2]

Other uses

In addition to an occasional Georgetown Hoyas men's basketball game and each summer's Kenner League games, McDonough Gymnasium hosts 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.[13]

Many concerts have been held at McDonough Gymnasium, including shows by Ray Charles, Bruce Springsteen, and The Who,[3] and it was the site of one of President Dwight D. Eisenhower′s two inaugural balls in January 1953.[3] On March 30, 2011, President Barack Obama gave a speech on U.S. energy security policy at McDonough Gymnasium.[14][15]

Freshman convocation is hosted in McDonough Gymnasium at the beginning of each academic year.

Until Yates Field House opened in 1979, McDonough Gymnasium was the only facility for intramural sports on the Georgetown campus.[3]

The Thompson Center

McDonough's aging practice and training facilities had long been considered overcrowded and obsolete[16] 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, which lies 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 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.[16][17][18]

The Thompson Center replaced McDonough as the university's primary athletic center, but McDonough remains in use. Physically connected to the Thompson Center, McDonough continues to house the administrative offices of the university's athletics department, the women's basketball team continues to play its home games there, and as of March 2014 the university had other uses for McDonough's court and training facilities after the Thompson Center opened under consideration.[17][19][20]

See also


  1. "DEDICATES GYMNASIUM; Georgetown U. Opens Memorial to. Rev. Vincent McDonough". New York Times. 1951-12-09. p. 96.
  2. The Georgetown Basketball History Project: Kenner League
  3. "Georgetown Basketball History Project: History & Tradition". Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  4. "Georgetown Basketball History Project: Record Book". Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  5. Varsity Pride: ECAC Men's Basketball Tournaments
  6. "1977 ECAC Men's Basketball Tournaments - Varsity Pride". Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  7. "1978 ECAC Men's Basketball Tournaments - Varsity Pride". Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  8. "Georgetown Basketball History Project: Record Book". Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  9. "Georgetown Basketball History Project: Record Book". Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  10. "Georgetown Basketball History Project: Record Book". Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  11. Paras, Matthew, "Verizon Center renamed Capital One Arena,", August 9, 2017. Retrieved July 29, 2018
  12. Wallace, Ava, "Harvard makes Georgetown’s postseason stint a short one with loss in NIT,", March 20, 2019 Retrieved March 24, 2019
  13. See for example Bailey, Ron, "Hoya Madness is tonight!,", October 13, 2017. Retrieved July 29, 2018.
  14. President Obama at Georgetown
  15. Obama Sets Goal to Cut One-Third of Oil Imports
  16. Wang, Gene, "Georgetown University breaks ground on John Thompson Jr. athletics center,", September 13, 2014.
  17. Maguire, Carolyn, "," The Hoya, March 7, 2014.
  18. Wang, Gene, "Georgetown cuts ribbon on athletic center dedicated to John Thompson Jr.,", October 6, 2016.
  19. "GUHOYAS.COM, Georgetown University Official Athletic Site". Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  20. Wang, Gene, "At Georgetown, athletic center named after Big John Thompson is open for business,", August 11, 2016.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.