IU athletic director Glass wants to preserve Assembly Hall, not replace it

Improving training and playing facilities for Indiana University sports has been a major focus for Fred Glass in his five years as the Hoosiers athletics director.

While construction of the North End Zone Student-Athlete Development Center at Memorial Stadium already had started when Glass took over in Oct. 2008, it was completed under his watch. It’s a prime example of how an older facility like Memorial (opened in 1960) can be transformed in stunning fashion with a well designed addition and some fresh coats of paint.

Glass has a similar vision for Assembly Hall, IU’s basketball home since 1971.

While the board of trustees has favored construction of a new basketball arena at some point in the future, Glass doesn’t believe that’s the right approach.

“I’m not in favor of a new Assembly Hall, if you will, because it would just be so expensive to build. I think it would suck the oxygen out of everything else we are trying to do. I think a new building like that would cost $300 million and that’s a heck of a lot of money to try to raise, especially when we have other obligations, responsibilities and considerations.

“Even if it was affordable, I’m not sure it’s desirable. We have a great one-two punch with Cook Hall as a development facility that has all the bells and whistles that our perspective student-athletes, our existing student-athletes and our coaching staff want.”

Glass would prefer to have Assembly Hall receive some badly needed cosmetic changes — updated bathrooms and concessions, televisions in the concourse area, fresh paint, etc. He also wants to explore making an addition to Assembly Hall that would create an expanded plaza area for fans to gather.

“I know Assembly Hall has some weird elements to it, but it’s unique,” said Glass. “I worry if you build a new building if it would just seem cookie-cutter like every other arena that is being build these days.”

Under Glass’ leadership, IU has built a new baseball stadium — one that hosted an NCAA regional last spring — as well as a new softball stadium, a new track and a new building for the golf program.

“We’ve been making investments in all of our programs all across the board and quite frankly I think that’s why we are seeing more success too.”

During the 2012-13 academic year, IU finished tied for second with Texas A&M in the Capital One College Cup Standings behind UCLA.

“It was great because we had some milestones last year that really helped demonstrate progress, both internally and externally,” said Glass. “Nothing succeeds like success. Coming in second in the Capital One Cup for men, I don’t like to tout being second in anything, but that’s a big deal to have the second-ranked program in the country.

“The national championship in men’s soccer was great as was going to the first College World Series in Indiana history, and being the first Big Ten team to go to the College World Series since 1984 — that’s a big deal.”

But it all comes back to basketball at IU, and Glass knows that.

“I feel like it wasn’t that long ago when we were perennially in the NCAA (tournament) and challenging for Big Ten championships in men’s basketball,” said Glass. “It’s a little surprising when you look back and see that last season was our first outright Big Ten basketball championship since 1993 and it was our first back-to-back Sweet 16s since 1994.

“So basketball is back. Our core teams have qualified for postseason play — more teams are finishing in the top 15, so there’s a lot of momentum across our athletic department and we’re not satisfied. We’re looking to build on that base and have even bigger and better achievements this year.”

3 comments on “IU athletic director Glass wants to preserve Assembly Hall, not replace it

  1. I was in my last year at IU prior to going to medical school. The Vietnam War was raging, the country was in turmoil and it seemed nobody was in the mood to build Assembly Halll. So we voted on it (the students only). I voted for it because basketball at IU is known to be the best. It passed. Well, its been 45 years since and I think it is about time to build another stadium, but one that is nothing but the best. It should seat over 20,000. Build it and they will come. Don’t build it and IU basketball will sink into a decade of mediocrity. What are they doing? Wasting their money on a paint job and some TVs? How outrageous. We are the creme de la creme in college basketball. I say build a new one. OR AT LEAST let the students vote on it as we did in 1967!

    • I wouldn’t disagree with you about building a new arena. There are some horrible sight lines at Assembly Hall, especially for those balcony seats. Heck, I often get a pretty poor view sitting two rows up and in the corner near the visitors bleachers, but that’s to be expected. I’m press, and Tom Crean only tolerates us as much as necessary.

      That said, I can understand where Glass is coming from in terms of tradition and being saddled with such a huge expense. But I’m guessing his view would change in a hurry if someone got the fund-raising campaign off to a huge start with a generous gift of, say, $20 million. The problem is where would the arena be built in order to maintain the athletic complex and keep in near the practice facility?

  2. And I would name it : BOB KNIGHT ARENA

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