Athletic Department

Memorial Coliseum: Home of Kentucky Women's Basketball

Exterior of Memorial ColiseumSituated along Euclid Avenue on the University of Kentucky campus, Memorial Coliseum is the home of one of the richest basketball traditions in the nation. It is also home to the University of Kentucky women’s basketball team, a team that has returned glory and excitement to a facility that has known a wealth of both.

For 25 years, the historic coliseum housed the re nowned Kentucky Wildcats men’s team, which won two national championships and 16 Southeastern Conference titles while playing in the facility under the direction of legendary coaches Adolph Rupp and Joe B. Hall. When the Wildcats moved downtown to 23,000-seat Rupp Arena in 1976, the then-11,500 seat Coliseum became the exclusive basketball home for the women’s team. Although the Coliseum is nicknamed “the house that Rupp built,” University President H.L. Donovan is credited with beginning the plans for the Coliseum’s construction in 1941 when he recommended a building that would “properly take care of our athletics, our health services, our physical education and our recreation.”

Memorial Coliseum InteriorMemorial Coliseum was completed in 1950 at a cost of $3,925,000. The huge building was dedicated to serve as a memorial to the nearly 10,000 Kentuckians who lost their lives in World War II and the Korean conflict. The Coliseum covers an entire city block and has as much space as a seven-story office building.

A new state-of-the-art floor was installed in the summer of 2007, as the original 52-year-old floor was taken out in place of a playing surface that will be much more friendly to each athlete’s tendencies and will cut down on injuries. A new sound system and speaker cluster were added in the summer of 2008.