Feb. 13, 2002
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Do you remember when?
Do you remember when the Wyoming Cowboys opened the Arena-Auditorium back in February of 1982? When that team went on to win the Western Athletic Conference championship with a 14-2 record, then earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament?
Do you remember the "Sweet 16" team of 1986-87, and the season it produced, one of the most special in Cowboy hoop history?
Those and many, many more memories will be rekindled this weekend when the University of Wyoming's "W" Club hosts a reunion for basketball with the spotlight on those teams of 1981-82 and 1986-87.
This is the 20th anniversary of the Double A, and several coaches and players from the team that opened the building on February 20, 1982 (a 59-29 victory over Air Force) will be on hand. Great names like Bill Garnett, Mike Jackson, Anthony Johnson and Mark Wrapp will represent that team.
The "Sweet 16" team also will be well-represented. Names like, Sean Dent, Eric Leckner, Jon Sommers, Tim Hunt, Mike Amundson, Rod Tyson and Quinn Wirth will be attending the gatherings.
In addition to those players, Jim Brandenburg, head coach for both of those teams, and Chuck Bell, an assistant coach during those years, will take in the festivities.
According to Joe Dowler, director of the "W" Club, some 50 lettermen from basketball seasons gone by will be in Laramie for the weekend. Other hoop names Cowboy fans will certainly remember include Charles Bradley, Al Simpson, Henry Bailey, Keith Bloom Quient Higgins and the oldest letterman returning, Ted Neuman (1937-38-39).
Festivities begin Saturday with a tip-off brunch set for the returning lettermen at 11:45 at the Rochelle Athletic Center. The returnees will be introduced at halftime of the Cowboy-UNLV basketball game, and participate in an autograph session following the game.
Facts and Figures on the Arena-Auditorium
*On Feb. 22, 1979, the Wyoming state legislature approved $15,668,200 to fund construction of the Arena-Auditorium.
*On Nov. 15, 1979, a ground-breaking ceremony was held to initiate construction of the Arena- Auditorium.
*The Arena-Auditorium hosted its first game on Feb. 20, 1982, when Wyoming defeated Air Force 59-29 before a sellout crowd of 15,004.
*The leading scorers in the first game versus Air Force were Bill Garnett, who scored 16 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, and Mike Jackson, who scored 15 points.
*Saturday's game will be the 283rd in the Arena-Auditorium.
*A total of 2,246,448 fans have attended games in the Arena.
*The largest crowd to watch a Cowboy Basketball game in the Arena was on Feb. 10, 2001, when 15,456 fans saw Wyoming defeat Colorado State 72-70.
*In addition to its official name, the Arena-Auditorium, Wyoming's home arena is also called the Double A, AA, the Copper Top, Dome on the Range and the "Dome of Doom."
*The Arena contains 200,000 square feet of space.
*Wyoming has won 77.0 percent of its games in the Arena, posting a 217-65 record.
*In conference play, Wyoming has won 70.5 percent of its games in the Arena-Auditorium, posting a 110-46 conference mark.
*The best home teams in Arena history were the 1987-88 squad, which posted a 13-1 (.929) home record, and the 1999-2000 Cowboy team, which posted a 12-1 (.923) home record. This year's Cowboy team is currently 10-0 (1.000) for the 2001-02 season.
*The winningest coach in Arena-Auditorium history based on winning percentage is current Cowboy head coach Steve McClain, who brings a 90.0 winning percentage (45-5 record) into today's game.
*The winningest coach in Arena-Auditorium history based on total wins in the Arena is Benny Dees, who won 63 games over six seasons, posting a 63-25 (.716) record.
*UW has defeated the last six Top 25 teams to play in the Arena. Wyoming has not lost at home versus a Top 25 team since Dec. 17, 1994, when LaZelle Durden of Cincinnati hit three free throws with no time left on the clock for a one-point victory (81-80). Cincinnati was ranked No. 17 in the nation at the time.
*The highest-ranked team defeated by the Cowboys in the Arena-Auditorium was No. 5 ranked Utah on Feb. 12, 1998, by a score of 62-56.
*The Arena-Auditorium has served as the host for the National Invitation Tournament five different seasons -- 1986, 1991, 1998, 1999 and 2001.
*The Arena helped springboard the Cowboys to a trip to the 1986 NIT Championship game in New York City. Wyoming defeated Texas A&M 79-70, Loyola-Marymount 99-90 and Clemson
62-57 in three consecutive games in the Arena-Auditorium to earn its way to New York City. The 1986 Cowboy team defeated Florida 67-58, in New York City's Madison Square Garden before losing to Ohio State, 63-73, in the NIT Championship game.
*The Arena was host to the first Western Athletic Conference Tournament to feature all eight teams at one centralized site. That tournament took place in Laramie on March 6-8, 1986. The Arena also played host to the 1991 WAC Tournament.
*The record for the most points scored by a team in the Arena is 113 by Wyoming against the University of Denver on Nov. 27, 1987. The final score of the game was 113-82.
*The highest scoring game in Arena history was played Jan. 31, 2000, with Wyoming defeating UNLV 109-98 for a total of 207 total points scored.
*The record for most points scored by an individual in the Arena is 49 points by Wyoming's Maurice Alexander against New Mexico on Feb. 9, 1991.
*The record for most rebounds by an individual in the Arena is 27 by Wyoming's Reginald Slater versus Troy State on Dec. 14, 1991.
*The record for assists by an individual in the Arena is 14 by Wyoming's Mike Jackson versus Colorado on Dec. 28, 1983.
*The record for blocked shots by an individual in the Arena is 11 by Wyoming's Theo Ratliff against San Diego State on Jan. 2, 1995.
*Five different coaches have served as Wyoming head coach since the opening of the Arena: Jim Brandenburg (1981-82 season to 1986-87 season), Benny Dees (1987-88 to 1992-93), Joby Wright (1993-94 to 1996-97), Larry Shyatt (1997-98 season) and Steve McClain (1998-99 season to the Present).