C. M. Tad Smith Coliseum

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As the Ole Miss basketball team continues to reach new heights, so do the facilities in which the team competes and trains. With plans for the new Pavilion at Ole Miss to open in January, excitement around Ole Miss Hoops continues to build. This marks the team’s final year in its current home, C.M. “Tad” Smith Coliseum, which has established itself as one of the toughest arenas in the country for opponents to play. The Rebels also now enjoy the luxury of $13 million, Tuohy Basketball Center, which opened in 2010, that stands within sight of the Coliseum.

Affectionately known as the “Tad Pad,” Ole Miss’ coliseum has seen the Rebels pile up 121 wins with just 31 losses over the past nine seasons under head coach Andy Kennedy. This success has spurred much excitement from the Rebel fan base. In 2013-14, the season average of 7,301 per home game set a school record, while the 2007-08 season average 8,994 patrons per SEC home game still stands. In 2012-13, the Rebels sold out a school-record seven straight home games. Ole Miss also set a single-game attendance record when 9,452 fans watched the Rebels defeat No. 18 Alabama in 2007, Kennedy’s first year at the helm. In fact, 11 of the 20 largest crowds in arena history have come in the last seven years, including each of the top three.

Dating back to 1996-97, the Rebels have won 246 of their last 313 games in Oxford (.786 winning percentage), which includes a school-record 29-game homecourt win streak. Since the Coliseum’s opening, the Rebels have an all-time record of 485-210 (.698 winning percentage).

Thanks to the Rebels’ recent success, the Coliseum has seen extensive updating over the past five years. In 2011, the court received a makeover with a sleek new NBA-style design, featuring a large Ole Miss script logo at centercourt.

Upgrades in 2010 included a unique new centerhung video display, featuring four LED boards measuring approximately seven feet high by 13 feet wide. Two ring displays are also part of the centerhung structure and are able to show a variety of graphics, animations and statistical information. Overall the display measures approximately 17 feet high by 24 feet wide and also features four dedicated scoring sections. In addition, Daktronics provided a custom sound system for the arena.

The arena capacity increased to 9,061 in 2008 with a substantial addition to the popular courtside seating area.
Other recent updates include new areas for media, officials and cheerleaders under the coliseum, two long video ribbon boards, lighter ceiling paint and extending the student section of bleachers to the ceiling. There have also been improvements to the locker rooms for the men’s and women’s players and coaches.

The men’s and women’s basketball office complex opened in January of 1998 and housed the programs until their move to the new practice facility in January 2010. The former office area is now occupied by the UMAA Foundation’s fundraising wing and has recently undergone extensive renovations. The athletic ticket office is also located in the Coliseum, on the north side.

The Coliseum has four large dressing rooms, storage rooms, an athletic training area, media room, officials’ dressing rooms and cheerleaders’ warm-up areas. The locker rooms experienced a major overhaul in fall 2005 with new lockers, stereo and video systems, showers, ceilings, tile, carpet and lighting.

The structure is a round, domed building which reaches 89 feet above the playing floor. The diameter of the roof measures 272 feet, and the diameter of the circular floor is 130 feet. The basketball-playing surface sits 12 feet below ground level.

Construction of the arena is of reinforced steel on bell pipes. The roof dome is framed in steel atop of which is a cement board deck and a Neoprene-Hypalon roof. The exterior consists of red brick at the concourse level, and vinyl-faced steel panels surround and enclose the upper stadium.

Known as Rebel Coliseum when it opened on Feb. 21, 1966, it was renamed C.M. “Tad” Smith Coliseum on March 25, 1972. Smith ranks as one of the all-time great legends in Rebel athletic history. A three-sport letterman, he starred as a halfback in football from 1926-28. As a first baseman for the Rebels, his senior season culminated in the Southern Conference championship in 1929. He was also a member of the 1928 Southern Conference championship squad.
Smith coached the freshman football team for 12 seasons and was a backfield assistant for two years. He served as head baseball coach at Ole Miss for 15 years, collecting a 112-147-3 record.

Smith was selected as Director of Athletics at Ole Miss on Feb. 1, 1946, becoming the first University of Mississippi alumnus to serve in this capacity. During his tenure as athletics director, the football program won three national championships and six SEC titles, and the baseball program captured eight SEC Western Division crowns and four conference championships.

The native of Brookhaven, Miss., was responsible for the expansion and upgrade of many athletic facilities and kept the Rebel athletic program among the nation’s elite.

He was inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 1969 and retired from the athletics department in 1970. Smith passed away on May 26, 1992.

 Top Tad Smith Coliseum Crowds (entering the 2015-16 season)

1. 9,452 vs. Alabama 2-10-07 (W, 75-69)
2. 9,360  vs. Mississippi State  1-9-10  (L, 75-80) 
3. 9,328 vs. LSU 1-12-08  (W, 74-71)
4. 9,321 vs. Kentucky 2-11-81 (L, 62-55)
5. 9,318 vs. Mississippi State 1-19-80 (W, 75-64)
6. 9,311 vs. Alabama 3-3-02 (W, 84-56)
7.  9,304  vs. Florida  1-16-08  (W, 89-87) 
8. 9,232 vs. Kentucky  1-29-13 (L, 74-87)
9. 9,224 vs. Mississippi State 1-12-02 (W, 66-59)
10. 9,217 vs. Memphis 12-7-01 (W, 71-67)
1. 5,870 vs. Southeastern Louisiana 11-13-09 (W, 80-42)
2. 5,404 vs. Tennessee 2-6-88 (L, 67-68)
3. 4,489  vs. Tennessee 2-22-04 (L, 69-85)
4. 4,445 vs. Tennessee State 11-30-05 (W, 90-50)
5. 4,264 vs. Tennessee 1-18-92  (W, 80-78, OT)
6. 4,123 vs. Tennessee 2-2-06 (L, 63-78)
7. 3,962 vs. LSU 2-3-05 (L, 58-82)
8. 3,933 vs. Auburn 2-25-07 (L, 56-64)
9. 3,781 vs. Southeastern Louisiana 12-4-08  (W, 85-73)
10. 3,772 vs. Tennessee 3-22-85 (W, 63-60)
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