Corner University & Avenida Cesar Chavez, Albuquerque, NM 87106
"University Arena" "The Pit"
University Arena, now officially The Pit, is home to the UNM Lobos
One of college basketball's most famous and recognizable buildings, University of New Mexico Arena is the home of New Mexico Lobos men's and women's basketball.
Many teams don't like to play the Lobos at home because of the altitude and noise generated by the fans & design. At a mile high, teams from lower altitudes struggle with the thinner air and the concretes of the arena seating echos the chants of the fans. Some teams used to verbal signals have to improvise with hand signals. Because of this, the Lobo Fans are often referred to as the "6th Man."
The slogan for the Pit is "A Mile High and Louder than..."
Click image to take a
Full Screen Virtual Tour of
the newly renovated Pit
Step into the Pictures of Center Court, the Locker Rooms, Suites,
End Zone Lounge, Club Level and 2 dozen more images
Sports Illustrated listed The Pit thirteenth in its list of Top 20 Venues of the 20th Century, in the company of Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, Pebble Beach and Wembly Stadium
ESPN named The Pit one of NCAA Basketball's Top 10 Home Court Advantages January 16, 2013. The Pit was ranked 5th with company like the Allen Fieldhouse and Cameron Indoor Stadium,
The Pit got its name from its construction, its built in a 37-foot hole on Albuquerque's southeast mesa. First the roof was constructed, then the hole was dug and the Arena built. That all happened in 1966. The unique Behlen roof (338 by 300 feet) was set up by contractors and then 55,000 cubic yards of earth were removed. About 28,000 yards of concrete were poured in the initial construction, which allowed a seating capacity of 14,831. The cost: an incredibly economical $1.4 million.
Arena expansion was undertaken when it became apparent that fan interest was too great even for the original structure. The expansion in 1975 cost near $2.2 million and involved the extension of a cantilevered deck above the existing facility. There are six rows in the deck, with a seating capacity of 2,300. Reserved standing-room-only spots increase The Pit's capacity to 18,018.
Further expansion and renovation was started in 2009 and completed in 2011 at a cost of $60 million
Bob King Court
On October 2, 1992, University of New Mexico President Richard E. Peck announced that the basketball court at University Arena would be named in honor of Bob King, former UNM basketball coach. King coached the UNM men's basketball team to national prominence in the 1960's. "We wanted to recognize Coach King's contributions to Lobo basketball," Peck said. "UNM's Memorial Committee recommended that we honor Coach King's accomplishments, and the naming of the court has allowed us to do so without diminishing the recognition which has already been paid to his colleagues, including former Director of Athletics Pete McDavid. The Bob King Court and the Pete McDavid Lounge are a tribute to two of the men who are responsible for the success of the facility we fondly call The Pit." The Bob King Court was dedicated at formal ceremonies on Dec. 1, 1992.
For the 1983 NCAA Basketball Championship, The Pit hosted the Final Four.
In one of the most memorable games in NCAA history. Lorenzo Charles converts Derreck Whittenburg's desperation shot, to win the championship.
Coach Jim Valvano and the "Cardiac Kids" celebrate one of the largest upsets in tournament history. Houston's "Phi Slamma Jamma" was led by Akeem Olajuwon, who won the Most Outstanding Player in spite of the loss.
Located on the southwest corner of Avenida Cesar Chavez and University Boulevard, The Pit can be easily accessed by exiting off I-25, just south of the Big-I, at Avenida Cesar Chavez. Head east on Avenida Cesar Chavez and The Pit is located on the right.
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Online July 15, 2003.