The Missouri men’s basketball may have made the Hearnes Center famous, but these days its volleyball, wrestling and gymnastics that call it home. So when men’s basketball decided to move back in for a night, Mizzou Athletics had to make preparations.
The men played at Hearnes from 1972-2004, winning eight conference titles in the process. The Tigers will host Oklahoma City University on Friday in its first game at the old arena. The 1993-94 team, which went undefeated in conference play, will be honored before the game.
Daryle Bascom, director of facilities for Mizzou Athletics, said he expects a crowd of roughly 10,000 for Friday’s contest.
Since the current tenants usually draw smaller crowds, the top concourse is seldom needed. Because of that, the top level will receive some general maintenance, including plumbing work and cleaning.
“On the cleaning side of things, going up into the upper deck, where people haven’t been in years, the dust is a little thick,” Bascom said. “There’s never any bodies or traffic or need to even go into the upper deck, so after going up there last week, it’s quite dusty. We have to get the dust off the rafters, so to speak.”
The Hearnes Center is usually only set up for basketball one day a year. Because of that, the hardwood sports volleyball lines, with basketball lines being taped over when needed.
“You have to pull up your NCAA diagrams and everything that would be painted for a basketball floor has to be taped out,” Bascom said.
Even with basketball taking over its home arena, the undefeated volleyball team will not be affected by Friday’s event.
“Obviously a lot of thought went into that before we could even determine a date,” Bascom said. “They (volleyball) happened to be on the road playing LSU this week. Thursday’s a travel day. We take two days to prepare the arena floor to go back to basketball.”
The arena staff isn’t the only group that needs to adjust. One main difference between the Hearnes Center and Mizzou Arena is the distance between the hoop and the seats behind it. At the Hearnes Center, the fans are almost over the court.
“It’s kind of just another arena,” junior guard Jordan Clarkson said. “Not like a road game, but just a new feel.”
The event’s purpose is mostly for fans and members of the 1993-94 team to recall old memories, but Missouri coach Frank Haith said he was nostalgic when addressing the media before the team practiced at the Hearnes Center Thursday afternoon. Haith became familiar with the building during stints as an assistant for Texas A&M and Texas.
“I have some memories when I walk in here, so this is pretty cool,” Haith said.