Photo by Cole Stratton

As of Thurs. Jan. 10th, The University of West Georgia holds yet another Gulf South Conference Record. During the Thurs. night basketball game The Coliseum packed 5,614 students and fans into seats of the state of the art facility. This sets the record for the most in both West Georgia and the Gulf South Conference history. With the arena packed, both the men and women’s basketball teams were able to overcome instate rival Valdosta State.

“The atmosphere was electric,” said Trent Ross, assistant director of The Coliseum.  “It really had the feel of a Division I venue.” “It was very exciting,” said UWG student Joey Garrison, “It was one of those atmospheres you love to be a part of.”

On hand to witness the record setting game was Gulf South Conference Commissioner Nathan N. Salant. “Game environment is something that Division II focuses upon and a record crowd comprised of a nice mix of students, faculty, staff and community helps make that happen,” said Salant. The pep-band and cheer squads add to the atmosphere and a loud but well-behaved crowd makes it even better, roaring as “one” as nearly every basket made it down the homestretch of the men’s game. “It was unbelievable to look up into the stands and not see an empty blue seat on the student side,” said UWG student Jared Boggus, “hearing the place explode after a big play made it really special.”

“It’s a tribute to the entire athletic department, which worked hard in so many ways to make this happen and to the students who rallied behind their school and came out to root against the instate arch-rival Blazers,” said Salant. As the university continues to move forward the facilities at UWG continue to improve and provide opportunities for athletes, students, and the community of Carrollton as a whole. “There is no question that West Georgia has the largest and best basketball facility in the GSC; In fact I would be hard-pressed to think of a better one on any campus in Division II,” said Salant.

Moving forward, The Coliseum and the University look to continue this trend of filling up the arena as well as possibly hosting a more diverse offering of events on the conference and regional levels. “Given that level of support, perhaps there should be some serious thought about bidding on the NCAA D-2 Elite Eight when it comes up for bid again,” said Salant.  “The facility certainly warrants it and there are plenty of hotels in the extended community.” “I would like to see a crowd like tonight replicated on a regular basis,” said Ross. “I think we have the potential to recreate this atmosphere at every game by filling up The Coliseum and generating an electric atmosphere.”