Williams Arena, or as it is more affectionately known “The Barn,” is the home of the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers men’s and women’s basketball teams. The Barn opened in 1928 and is located on the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities East Bank campus. The arena opened as the Minnesota Field House. However, it was renamed in 1950 to Williams Arena in honor of Henry L. Williams who served as the Gophers head football coach from 1900 to 1920.
Williams Arena underwent a substantial renovation in 1950, which made it the largest collegiate basketball arena in the country from 1950 to 1971. During the renovation, the arena was split into two arenas within one, the larger one for basketball and the smaller one for hockey. In 1993 the Gophers hockey team moved into the new Mariucci Arena and the smaller half of Williams Arena was renovated again this time to create the Sports Pavilion, which houses the Gophers wrestling, volleyball, and gymnastics teams.
A unique features of Williams Arena is the raised floor that sits approximately two feet above the ground. The result of this is that the players’ benches and scoring table are below the court and when sitting fans in the first row are almost eye level with the court. During play, only players in the game, officials, and head coaches are allowed on the raised floor.
In addition to being the home to the Gophers men’s and women’s basketball teams, Williams Arena has also hosted several other major events over the years. It has been a site of the NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball Tournament twice, being home to the final in 1951 and the Mideast Region in 1964. Williams Arena also hosted the Frozen Four twice in 1958 and 1966. The Arena has even shown up on the silver screen as the 1978 film Ice Castles was filmed there. Williams Arena is sure to provide an excellent venue for both the Gophers and other major sporting events for years to come.
Football returned to the University of Minnesota campus in 2009 with the opening of TCF Bank Stadium. The 52,525 seat stadium is the home of the Minnesota Golden Gophers football team and is named for TCF Bank who donated $35 million dollars over 25 years for the naming rights.
TCF Bank Stadium is the second-newest stadium in the BCS and as such is a state of the art facility that offers many amenities. The stadium boasts the largest home locker room in both college and professional football as well as the ninth largest scoreboard in college football, which stands at a whopping 48 by 108 feet. The Bank also features 113 restrooms, a team store, and the T. Denny Sanford Athletics Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame features exhibits from all Gophers sports including images, artifacts, and interactive activities. Also, TCF Bank Stadium was designed to accommodate an expansion that would increase the capacity to 80,000 by adding a third deck.
TCF Bank Stadium has hosted many different events besides just Gopher football. Most notably the stadium was host to Brett Favre’s final NFL game in addition to being where Devin Hester broke the NFL record for kickoffs returned for a touchdown. TCF has also held many concerts, including the 2014 MLB All-Star Game Concert, and other sporting events such as a soccer game between Manchester City and Olympiacos in 2014 and an NHL Stadium Series game between the Minnesota Wild and Chicago Blackhawks in 2016.
The stadium was built in the hopes that the new stadium would help turn the program’s fortunes around, and it already has been paying a dividend. The Gophers hope to continue this trend and bring a Big Ten championship back home to The Bank.