The year 1998 was a big year in the sporting world.
Kentucky won the NCAA Championship with a 78 – 69 victory over Utah.
The Chicago Bulls won their third straight NBA Championship in a lockout-shortened season to complete their second three-peat in the decade.
It marked the first year that NHL players participated in the Olympics, and the first year that women’s hockey was in the Olympics.
Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa both took aim at Roger Maris’ home run record of 61 in a season. Both would go onto top that mark, with McGwire hitting 70 home runs and Sosa hitting 66.
Also that year, the Furman Paladins opened the Timmons Arena in Greensville, SC. The new facility put the men’s and women’s basketball teams back on campus, and what a great move it was for the program and the school as a whole.
The Timmons Arena was opened in 1998, and the project was pushed forwards due to the closure of the Memorial Auditorium. The Memorial Auditorium was the home of Paladins basketball for 38 years prior to the Timmons Arena.
The overall cost to build the facility was $10.9 million, and a lead gift of $4 million was donated by longtime Furman supporters. William R. Timmons Jr., Jean Timmons Pleham and Charlie and Kitty Wells Timmons donated the $4 million to the school to help with the development and building of the new facility.
At the time of the family dedication, Bill Timmons stated that his family’s association with Furman University dated all the way back to 1910 when his father was enrolled at Furman. The family name has been around Furman for years, so it’s only fitting that the arena is named after them for all that they have done for the university, especially with the donation to get the facility plans up and moving forwards.
Timmons Arena is a 100,000 square foot facility that seats 3,500 people for basketball games and 6,000 people for concerts and other special events taking place at Furman.
The facility has two regulation-size basketball courts, offices, locker room facilities, and a sports medicine facility. The facility also has a 7,000 square foot strength and conditioning center that services all 20 of Furman’s intercollegiate athletic programs.
All of the seats in the facility for basketball games are chair-back, and are easily collapsible for the other events that Furman operates out of their facility.
The new arena is easily one of the nicer ones in the Southern Conference. The school has a solid student section who make a lot of noise. As for the fans in general, they are loud when Furman is making a run or after they made a big shot, but they can be eerily quiet at times. When opposing teams come to town within driving distance, their fans come out in large numbers and can occasionally take over the crowd noise for portions of the game.
Attending a Paladins game at the Timmons Arena is something that every fan should try and do, and it’s something that I am hoping to do in the very near future myself.
From what I have read and heard from several different sources, a general admission ticket for a Paladins game will cost you $10, and that’s essentially all you will have to spend at a game unless you want to buy merchandise. They have a fantastic deal where a person gets unlimited trips to the concession stand tied into the price of their ticket. They get up to four items for free with each trip to the stand, and they can make as many trips up as they want throughout the game.
Being Canadian, we’d never see deals like that around here for sporting events. Just for that alone, I want to attend a Paladins game.
But there’s more to see and experience at the Timmons Arena than unlimited concessions. It all starts from the drive into the campus towards the arena. The 750 acre campus is full of trails where people can hike, bike, and walk. The scenery is beautiful, and is the perfect setting to enjoy the environment, and serves as a perfect backdrop for a wonderful college basketball arena.
Once you get inside the arena, there is even more to see.
There is a trophy case out front, highlighting athletic accomplishments over the years by Furman athletic programs and athletes alike. There is also a Wall of Honour that lists the names of the people who have helped to either build or improve Timmons Arena. The Wall of Honour is a nice way to thank all of those who helped make the facility possible.
Once you get to your seat, you will notice a variety of banners hanging from the rafters. There are banners that highlight the variety of accomplishments for both the men’s and women’s basketball programs, as well as some retired numbers. The most notable retired number hanging in the rafters is the #28, formerly worn by Furman great Frank Selvy. Selvy was the 1st Overall pick in the 1954 NBA Draft by the Baltimore Bullets. Selvy once scored 100 points in a single game for the Paladins, and he enjoyed success both at the collegiate level and the professional level.
The Timmons Arena isn’t an old facility by any means, but it is rich in history with its trophy case, Wall of Honour and various banners hanging from the rafters. If you’re looking for a cheap option, financially, to spend an evening that’s full of excitement and something for everyone, attending a Paladins game is the way to go.
Where else can you get a general admission ticket to an event like Division I basketball, parking, program, and dinner for $10? A family of four would be $40. Most places you can’t get dinner for two people for that much, let alone an event on top of that.
Be sure to check out the Timmons Arena for great basketball, great scenery, and a little bit of history while you’re there. It’s on my list of places to attend, so it should be on yours too.