MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Mountaineers everywhere revere the WVU Coliseum as an iconic building in Morgantown, but fans of a certain age will recall that some of the most memorable events in school history took place at the WVU Field House on Beechurst Avenue. Renamed as Stansbury Hall in 1973, the building will be demolished later this summer.
The Field House was the brainchild of Harry Stansbury, WVU’s director of athletics from 1916-1938. The vision he had for a new, on-campus, indoor sports venue came to fruition in 1928 when construction of the building was completed. The Field House was opened in December for its first event, the inauguration of new WVU President Dr. John Roscoe Turner. It quickly gained a reputation as one of the finest sporting complexes in the region and would maintain that status up until World War II. Along with basketball, the new arena was home to the WVU Track Games, wrestling, and boxing. On January 3, 1929, the WVU basketball team took the court for the first time at the Field House against Salem, winning 26-23. Over the next 41 years, the Mountaineers had a record of 374-77 on their home court. The last game played at the Field House was one to forget, as rival Pitt won 92-87.
West Virginia University athletics were not the only events to be held at the Field House. Starting in 1939, the West Virginia High School State Boys’ Basketball Tournament was played for 22 years on the home court of the Mountaineers. After WVU’s outstanding run of basketball success in the 1950s, two NBA games took place in Morgantown, both featuring the Los Angeles Lakers whose roster included Mountaineer legends Hot Rod Hundley and Jerry West. Former WVU head coach Fred Schaus was at the helm for the Lakers.
The Field House saw many physical changes throughout its lifespan, the largest being a 1948 expansion that added balcony seating and increasing capacity to nearly 6,500. However, just over a decade later, a push started to build a new arena for WVU. This would lead to the construction of the WVU Coliseum, which was completed and opened for the 1970-71 season. The Field House was decommissioned from use by the Mountaineer varsity teams, and renamed Stansbury Hall in 1973 after its originator. Basketball remained a priority inside the building, as Stansbury’s five courts became the definitive destination for the best pick-up basketball games in Morgantown.
As the date of Stansbury Hall’s demolition approaches, MetroNews is gathering memories from those who witnessed many of WVU’s most memorable events there. We would like to hear your tales from throughout the building’s history from the days of Hot Rod and Jerry West to the thousands of pick-up games played on its courts. We welcome personal stories, photographs, and memories of the WVU Field House.
We invite you to email your remembrances to firstname.lastname@example.org. (Your contact details will not be published or shared in any fashion without previous consent.)