Most of you know one of my goals is to visit 7 historic college basketball gyms and so far I've seen a game in 3 of the gyms. This past weekend I had the chance to drive up to Stillwater, OK and see my team, the Texas Longhorns, play Oklahoma State at Gallagher-Iba Arena. The outcome of the game wasn't what I was hoping for but the rest of the trip was pretty awesome! Here's a little bit about our trip:
From Abilene it's about a 5.5 hour drive so this year seemed like the perfect time to drive up to Stillwater on a weekend to see the Longhorns play in historic Gallagher-Iba Arena. Friday morning we left and had to pick up our friend at the OKC airport around 12:30. After lunch at The Garage we had some time to kill so we headed south to take a look at the campus of the University of Oklahoma.
Even though I'm not a fan of the crimson and cream, I am a basketball fan and wanted to see if we could take a look inside the Lloyd Noble Arena. My favorite phrase for visiting any gym is "We just need to find the open door." On this trip we got especially lucky with that. As we circled around the arena, the last door we came to was propped open by construction workers and we confidently walked in to see the OU floor.
A few guys were setting up cameras and some people were cleaning up the gym for the game on Saturday. As we walked down to the floor one of the guys setting up the camera mentioned that Trae Young was about to do an interview with Slam Magazine so after getting a few pictures at center court we stuck around a few minutes to catch Trae Young. When he came out he was already busy with the interview and getting set up so I didn't get a picture with him but it was pretty cool to watch him on TV the next day put up 43 points on the very court we stood the day before.
After that excitement we headed out to Stillwater. We had learned after asking around that the only thing "to do" in Stillwater was eat at Eskimo Joe's, so we figured we would have some free time once we got to town. I thought Friday night might be our best chance to get in the gym since there would be more people around on game day.
When we got to the gym and found the open door, someone took us to the gym and Heritage Hall where they keep some of their memorabilia and trophies. After he left we walked around a little bit and headed back to the gym to take some photos. A few Oklahoma St. players were finishing up shooting so when they left we walked around on the court and took it all in. As I was taking a photo at center court the Texas team walked in behind me for their night-before-the-game-practice.
We stood around casually watching and trying not to stand out but a staff member noticed us and came to check out who we were. He asked and we told him we are longtime UT season ticket holders and travelled up for the game. He pointed us to someone from UT's Longhorn Foundation so we went over and introduced ourselves. After visiting he invited us to watch practice with a few other traveling Longhorns. WE WERE PUMPED! It was a typical game prep for the next day, running through OSU's offense and practicing specific breakdowns within their offense.
Game day was fun and being in the arena with a great crowd was another fun experience. On Saturday we got to the arena early and parked about as close to an arena as could and still didn't have to pay for it. For lunch we did eat Eskimo Joe's and I definitely recommend it for anyone traveling to Stillwater. Like I mentioned earlier the Longhorns didn't win and gave a big lead at the end of the game. For us though the night before and getting to watch practice was probably the highlight of the trip!
Here are a few things that make Gallagher-Iba unique:
- Originally built in 1938 and named after wrestling coach Ed Gallagher
- Later added Iba to the name after basketball coach Henry Iba
- The original court laid down in 1938 is still used today and is the oldest in the country
- It's made of white maple
- Original capacity for many years hovered between 6,000-9,000 until 2000 when they raised the roof and added more seats to make the current capacity 13,600