UD ‘getting closer’ to moving ahead with arena upgrade

Dayton President Eric Spina reacts to a play during a game against Virginia Commonwealth on Wednesday, March 1, 2017, at UD Arena.

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Dayton President Eric Spina reacts to a play during a game against Virginia Commonwealth on Wednesday, March 1, 2017, at UD Arena.

AD Neil Sullivan says comprehensive project has been a ‘deliberate process’

Dayton Flyers Athletic Director Neil Sullivan said UD never set out to break the single-season average attendance record this season. Every year, they want to sell as many tickets as possible, he said, so the players can play in the best environment.

It just so happened the record finally went down this season. A crowd of 13,455 watched the Flyers beat Virginia Commonwealth 79-72 Wednesday at UD Arena. The team clinched its first outright Atlantic 10 championship.

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The average attendance for the season in 16 games was 13,018. The record of 12,982 was set in 15 games in 1969-70, the arena’s first season

“We’re proud of it,” Sullivan said Wednesday. “We’re very thankful to the fans. We don’t take it for granted. People take time out of their day to come down here and park. We have a good relationship. They support us, and the players support them.”

That support may soon lead to a major renovations to the arena. Sullivan provided an update on that as well Wednesday.

“We’re getting closer,” he said. “It’s a pretty comprehensive project. We’re still studying all kind of different options. If you think about a 50-year-old building and all the things that have to occur, it’s just been a very deliberate process, but when we’re ready we’ll be excited to share what we think the vision is.”

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Dayton won its last 14 games at home this season. The fans said goodbye to five seniors in the final game. That group played a big part in the record.

“I think it’s a combination of a special group of seniors and a special team,” Sullivan said. “If you look at the four-year run, it’d be the first time in Dayton’s history we’ve been to four straight NCAA tournaments. I think right now there are only 12 team in the country that can say they have been to (the last four) NCAA tournaments. I think expectations were high. Anytime expectations are high — we have a great fan base — but it brings in other people who are willing to sit in the 400-level corners. At the end of the day, that’s the only thing that’s open.”

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