Harvard To Build New Basketball Arena

UPDATED: Oct. 11, 2012, at 11:39 p.m.

On the heels of a record-breaking basketball season and in the midst of a dominant run for Crimson football, Harvard will replace its undersized basketball stadium and renovate the nation’s oldest football stadium.

Jeremy L. Gibson, senior associate director of Harvard Athletics, said at a Harvard-Allston Task Force meeting Thursday night that the new basketball arena, which will be built between 2017 and 2022, will provide more seats for a program which has received increasing attention over the past few years, peaking in Harvard’s first appearance in the NCAA tournament in 66 years last spring.

Since coming to Harvard in 2007, men’s basketball head coach Tommy Amaker has led the Crimson to a 92-56 record, including back-to-back Ivy League championships. The Harvard basketball program stepped into the national spotlight more than ever before in 2012. The Crimson won the Battle 4 Atlantis, a pre-season tournament in the Bahamas, last November before winning the first outright conference championship in program history and spending time ranked in the Top 25 en route to its first March Madness berth since 1946. Meanwhile, alumnus Jeremy Lin ’10 garnered international headlines for his play with the New York Knicks, further expanding Harvard basketball’s profile.

Harvard sold out every home Ivy League game last season in Lavietes Pavilion, which has been the home of Harvard basketball since 1982. With a seating capacity of 2,195, Lavietes is currently the second-smallest basketball arena in the Ivy League, just 95 seats larger than Dartmouth’s Leede Arena.

Despite less positive headlines lately—co-captains Brandyn Curry ’13 and Kyle Casey ’13 voluntarily withdrew from the College this fall after being implicated in the much-publicized Government 1310 cheating scandal—Harvard is still considered a favorite to win the Ivy League this coming season, which kicks off on November 9 against MIT.

Gibson also emphasized the importance of renovating Harvard Stadium in order to preserve Harvard’s historic football center, home to a team whose current 13-game winning streak is the longest in Division I. This season the Crimson has handily defeated Cornell, 45-13; Holy Cross, 52-3; Brown, 45-31; and San Diego, 28-13.

“Harvard Stadium has served as the home of Harvard football for 109 years, and we want to make sure it’s the home of Harvard football for another 109 years,” Gibson said.

The athletic investments were announced along with other components of Harvard’s long-awaited Institutional Master Plan for development in Allston. Other components of the plan include a new building for executive education, renovations to several Business School buildings, the creation of a hotel and conference center, and a renovation of the Soldier’s Field Housing Project.

—Staff writer Mercer R. Cook can be reached at mcook@college.harvard.edu.

—Staff writer Alexander Koenig can be reached at akoenig@college.harvard.edu.

This article has been revised to reflect the following corrections:

CORRECTIONS: Oct. 11

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that basketball coach Tommy Amaker came to Harvard in 2008. In fact, he was hired in 2007.

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Harvard has sold out every home basketball game in Lavietes Pavilion for the past two seasons. In fact, the Crimson sold out every home Ivy League game last season.

CORRECTION: Oct. 12

An earlier version of this article misquoted Senior Associate Director of Harvard Athletics Jeremy L. Gibson. He said that Harvard Stadium, which was built in 1903, had served as the home of Harvard football for 109 years, not 130 years.

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