The ESPN college basketball blogging crew of Eamonn Brennan and Diamond Leung continue to do great work. They posted a piece this afternoon where they asked ESPN's college basketball analysts what where the toughest places to play during their college careers, and both Jay Bilas and Hubert Davis cited Reynolds Coliseum as their examples.
Reading their quotes bring back good memories for me as a student at State at the end of the Reynolds era, memories that pale in comparison to some of the ones I'm sure many of you hold if you were in attendance during the 70s and 80s.
I love that we continue to play games there (though I'm not sure three in one season is ideal), but it'll obviously never be like it once was in its heyday.
Here are the quotes from Bilas and Davis:
To me, the toughest places to play had more to do with the quality of the opposing team than anything else, but Reynolds Coliseum at NC State was the toughest place I played while in college. Reynolds was configured much the same way as Cameron Indoor Stadium, but the end zones were much deeper and the sides were right on top of you. Reynolds was loud, edgy and intense. The Wolfpack under Jim Valvano were a tough out and the games were always fistfights, but the thing I remember most is coming back to a huddle and seeing lips move, but not being able to hear what was said. It was so hot and loud that your head would spin. Of course, having to guard guys like Thurl Bailey, Lorenzo Charles, Cozell McQueen and Chris Washburn probably had something to do with my head spinning.
The toughest place I ever played was Reynolds Coliseum, former home of the NC State Wolfpack. Cameron Indoor Stadium and Cole Field House don't even come close. (emphasis mine) I remember the long walk from the locker room to the floor. You had to enter under the bleachers and then had to sprint to the floor so that the fans wouldn't throw soda on us. The end zone seating went back as far as I've ever seen – the sea of red just never seemed to end. In the four years I played there as a Tar Heel, I never scored on the opposite basket away from our bench in the first half. I eventually calmed down, but was always flustered in those first 20 minutes. It was that intimidating.
I know those days are never coming back, and it's telling about where we are as a program that Davis felt the need clarify what Reynolds Coliseum is and who it was the former home of. Because 20 years ago, people knew…people knew…
Nevertheless, kudos to Bilas and Davis for acknowledging Reynolds' greatness and not copping out by saying The Dean Dome and Cameron Indoor, respectively. Bonus points to Davis for emphasizing that Cameron wasn't even close, in terms of intimidation.