Touring another old gymnasium

DE PERE, Wis. — I got to see another old gym tonight. I’m at St. Norbert this weekend to see the Green Knights open a new football stadium against No. 5 St. Thomas and got the tour of campus from sports information director Dan Lukes.

When we drove by a particular building, Dan mentioned that it used to be the gym, and I asked if we could get out and see it. We couldn’t get in the gym itself, but it is indeed still a gymnasium. This being September, there were volleyball nets up. There are glass backboards, with “No Dunking Allowed” on the bottom of the glass.

The playing floor is just 77 feet long — just long enough to make a Grinnell game even more of a breakneck speed. If you have ever been in the old gym at Mount St. Mary’s, yes, the Division I school in Emmitsburg, Md., this looks exactly like it. It has a big wall with windows on the end — in this case, facing the Fox River instead of U.S. 15, a high vaulted ceiling, and was built in the 1930s. I could almost picture Jim Phelan stalking the sidelines in a bow tie, although in this case, I was told that Dick Bennett coached in the last game St. Norbert played in the gym, for UW-Stevens Point.

I’ve written about my fascination with old gymnasiums before. Since then, I’ve added the old gym at Wash U to my list (it’s connected to the new gym), as well as the old gym at Stevens. I think Randolph-Macon may be my favorite, however.

6 thoughts on “Touring another old gymnasium

  1. Hey Pat:
    How about givin’ the old Stormy Petrel Gym at Oglethorpe some love and you’ve been here.
    Got to remember Sherman came through here a few years back and did some extreme renovation work. We have been rebuilding ever since. Some think I have been around Hotlanta since then.
    Is it October 15 yet?
    Go Petrels!

  2. Hey Pat, since you like the RMC Alumni Gym, here’s a movie for you. In the film THE CONTENDER, the gym is used as a backdrop for the old US Senate gym. Movie stars Jeff Bridges, Christian Slater, Sam Elliott and others. But the RMC gym is in several scenes and you would easily recognize it.

  3. Another great old venue is Alumni Gym at Guilford College. It’s been retired as the home court for the Quakers, but it’s still available for special occasions. Among others, former NBA players Bob Kauffman, Greg Jackson, M. L. Carr and World B. Free all played there. Notable visotors would be Earl the Pearl Monroe, Gene Littles and Coach Tubby Smith. Once, during an ESPN interview, Tubby was asked the toughest place he ever was as a coach or as a player and, without batting an eye, he responded “Alumni Gym, Guilford College.”

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