Corner University & Avenida Cesar Chavez, Albuquerque, NM 87106
"University Arena" "The Pit"
University Arena, now officually called The Pit, is home to the UNM Lobos Mens and Womens Basketball
One of college basketball's most famous and recognizable buildings, University of New Mexico Arena is the home of New Mexico men's and women's basketball. The Pit is built in a 37-foot hole on Albuquerque's southeast mesa. First the roof was constructed, then the hole was dug and the Arena built. That all happened in 1966. The unique Behlen roof (338 by 300 feet) was set up by contractors and then 55,000 cubic yards of earth were removed. About 28,000 yards of concrete were poured in the initial construction, which allowed a seating capacity of 14,831. The cost ? an incredibly economical $1.4 million.
Arena expansion was undertaken when it became apparent that fan interest was too great even for the original structure. The expansion in 1975 cost near $2.2 million and involved the extension of a cantilevered deck above the existing facility. There are six rows in the deck, with a seating capacity of 2,300. Reserved standing-room-only spots increase The Pit's capacity to 18,018.
The lastest renovation & expansion of the Pit was completed in 2011
Click on image for a
Full Screen Virtual Tour of
the newly renovated Pit
Bob King Court
On October 2, 1992, University of New Mexico President Richard E. Peck announced that the basketball court at University Arena would be named in honor of Bob King, former UNM basketball coach. King coached the UNM men's basketball team to national prominence in the 1960's. "We wanted to recognize Coach King's contributions to Lobo basketball," Peck said. "UNM's Memorial Committee recommended that we honor Coach King's accomplishments, and the naming of the court has allowed us to do so without diminishing the recognition which has already been paid to his colleagues, including former Director of Athletics Pete McDavid. The Bob King Court and the Pete McDavid Lounge are a tribute to two of the men who are responsible for the success of the facility we fondly call The Pit." The Bob King Court was dedicated at formal ceremonies on Dec. 1, 1992.
The first game was played Dec. 1, 1966, with New Mexico defeating Abilene Christian, 62-53. A total of 614 games have been played overall. The Lobos have come away the victor in 498 of those ? good for a stunning .811 winning percentage. What is even more impressive about UNM's home court is that nearly 10 million fans have flocked into this sunken edifice to see their beloved Lobos play basketball. The exact figure stands at 9,690,166. The Lobos have averaged an astounding 15,782 fans the past 35 years, an amazing 97% of capacity. The Lobos have finished second in the nation in attendance five times, third on four occasions, and fourth six times. UNM hosted the NCAA Championship in 1983, won by North Carolina State over Houston, the 1968, '78 , '92 and 2000 West Regional, the 1985 and 1996 West Region First and Second Rounds, and 1988 McDonald's High School All-American basketball game. New Mexico also hosted the first and second rounds in 2002 and will host the West Regional again in 2005.
The UNM women's basketball team is also enjoying the home court advantage The Pit offers. Over the past eight seasons, The Pit has become one of the rowdiest places in all of women's college basketball. The women have compiled a home record of 111-22 (.835) over the last eight years. The women's team has also been in the top-15, nationally, in average attendance in each of the last eight season.
For the 1983 NCAA Basketball Championship,
The Pit hosted the Final Four.
In one of the most memorable games in NCAA history. Lorenzo Charles converts Derreck Whittenburg's desperation shot, to win the championship.
Coach Jim Valvano and the "Cardiac Kids" celebrate one of the largest upsets in tournament history. Houston's "Phi Slamma Jamma" was led by Akeem Olajuwon, who won the Most Outstanding Player in spite of the loss.
The Game Winning Shot at the
1983 Final Four in The Pit on YOUTUBE
Located on the southwest corner of Avenida Cesar Chavez and University Boulevard, The Pit can be easily accessed by exiting off I-25, just south of the Big-I, at Avenida Cesar Chavez. Head east on Avenida Cesar Chavez and The Pit is located on the right.