UD Arena is pictured on Saturday, Nov., 2019.
Photo: David Jablonski - Staff Writer
Photo: David Jablonski - Staff Writer

For UD Arena’s 50th birthday, fans share their favorite arena memories

There will be a rededication ceremony Saturday when the Flyers open the season against Indiana State

» PHOTOS: Dayton season-ticket holders

However, even in my seventh season on the Dayton basketball beat, having seen fans travel in droves all over the country to see their team and even outside the country in the case of the games in the Bahamas a year ago, I can still be surprised by the devotion of UD fans. They jumped at this assignment as if I were paying by the word. I did promise them all a high-resolution photo download from the Nov. 9 opener against Indiana State, but I think they would have done it for nothing.

» PHOTOS: First glance inside UD Arena

More than 50 fans responded, and all together, they contributed more than 8,000 words. It’s a long read. It may take fans a whole season to finish this. But all told, these fans paint a great picture of an arena that has witnessed numerous unforgettable moments — not only for the Flyers but for teams from around the country.

Stories from the heart

Kelly Hart: I can’t pin it down to just one single memory, but I shared many of my favorite memories at UD Arena with my dad. He had season tickets in the front row behind the press seats (right across from the UD bench.) I sat between him and the nicest older lady, named Weezy McGinnis. I was between the ages 7-12. I kept stats on the back of the free programs and grew to love Dayton basketball. Keith Waleskowski was my favorite Flyer! I still have an autographed jersey of his. I wore it at a game when I was in college, and Keith actually commented on it!

» PHOTOS: UD Arena through the years

My Dad passed away from cancer in 2004. He was buried in his UD jacket that he wore to every game, and his headstone says, “Flyer Faithful.” We even made sure he was close to campus in the Woodland Cemetery. He inspired my love for Dayton hoops, and I couldn’t help but feel his excitement, especially during the Elite Eight run.

Whenever I’m back in the arena, I always look down at our old seats. I love when I see a father and daughter at a game and hope they are building the amazing memories we made there!

John Horan

Colleen Horan: My memory actually spans almost the entire 50 years of the arena. As the daughter of Hall of Famer John Horan, we had season tickets in the early 1970s. I loved going with my dad or my friends to the games. I can remember exactly where our seats were. As I moved on in life, I assumed all teams had fans like the Dayton Flyers. I moved to Bowling Green, Ohio, Minneapolis and then to Arizona. I learned quickly fans in other cities were not quite as invested in their teams. In the spring of 2017, I talked my sister into going back to Dayton to watch a Flyers game. I had to bribe her with dinner at the Pine Club, but that’s a different story. Without any planning, we picked a game that was Senior Night, a celebration of the 1967 Flyers NCAA team and the conference championship! I walked into the arena near center court at the top of the lower level and saw the fans I remembered from the old days — the fans that I thought every team had. I am willing to admit I teared up a bit. I hope Dayton, Ohio, realizes how lucky it is.

» RENOVATIONS: UD proud to show off arena

Jeff and Lisa Byram: We have many special memories of UD Arena. On February 5, 1977, we had our first date watching the Flyers play Chattanooga. We will celebrate 42 years of marriage on November 5.
In December of 2000, Lisa graduated from UD with a degree in education. This graduation was at UD, and she was the first member of her family to obtain a college degree. In May of 2008, our son Kevin graduated from UD, again at the arena. On Dec. 23, 2011, the Flyers hosted Illinois-Chicago. As the announcements began prior to the game, we were surprised with the homecoming of our son. Kevin had returned from a one-year deployment to Afghanistan. Of course, we have also watched many great Flyer games, both men and women. Growing up in Darke County, our earliest memories of visiting the arena were for high school tournament games. Always an exciting time!

Molly Parker: My favorite memory of a Dayton game would have to be my first game ever there. It was down to the wire, and I was too young to understand what was going on, but when there was a buzzer beater, I got it. We had won the game. I was so excited, and I loved the environment there so so much. Dayton Arena is still one of my favorite places to be in the whole world.

» UD ARENA: Ready for another 50 years

Megan Stefan: I could go on and on about my favorite memories in the Arena: from my first game as a 6-week-old baby, to the insane tourney runs in high school, to now being a current member of the Red Scare! I think my favorite memory in general has gotta be going and sitting with my grandparents and cousins at every home game. We split a decent amount of season tickets in Section 222. It makes for a lot of laughs and a whole lot of Flyer basketball. I think that sums up the atmosphere in the arena; it really is a big family affair. Everybody is present for the love of the game and the love of those around them. It truly is a special place, and it’s been special being able to grow up in UD arena through the years.

Jeff Horwitz: Our mother passed away last month at the age of 102 and last attended a game five years ago. I remember her keeping score and stats manually in the early days. As far as games are concerned, my greatest memories are Johnny Davis and his phenomenal speed, and of course, Ed Young’s last-second shot to beat DePaul in 1984.

Joseph Bauer: My best memory at UD arena wasn't when I was in school. It was Feb. 27, 2011. We lost to Xavier. Tu Holloway got us again. 

I was diagnosed with MS two weeks before the game. I was having trouble seeing. I could barely walk because I couldn't feel my feet. I wasn't allowed to drive. I was a mess. I was scared to death that this messed-up version of me was the new normal and would only get worse.

As I was stumbling out of the arena, I ended up behind Brother Fitz, who was diagnosed with MS in the 1980s. And he was “walking” out of the arena. Just seeing him being able to do that 30 years after his diagnosis filled me with such hope I get choked up thinking about it now.

I've been lucky. That's been my only episode. I'm fine now. But I'm not sure I would be if I didn't keep a positive mindset, and I'm not sure I could keep a positive mindset if I didn't see Brother Fitz walking out of UD Arena.

Happy Birthday UD Arena. Thanks for all the fun, thanks for all the celebrations and heartache, but most of all thanks for the hope. And I'll always be grateful to Brother Fitz simply for walking out of the Arena.

The interesting thing about loving a "Basketball" school is that we all root for other teams that we can't stand, but we all come together for our school. Basketball season is upon us. Go Dayton Flyers.

Fans who couldn’t pick one moment

Adam Prinz: I live in Cold Spring, Ky., (a Cincinnati suburb), but I grew up as a member of the Flyer Faithful from Xenia. My dad, Jerome Prinz, is technically the account holder for the season tickets and attends most games, so I'm writing you on his behalf. Our seats are in Section 202, Row G, seats 3 and 4. I told my dad about your project asked him to contact the offices to see just how long we'd had the tickets. Unfortunately, their records did not go back far enough! He can remember going to games at the Fieldhouse as a young, young boy (he was born in 1953), so we've had the tickets in our family since at least the early 1950s! Sixty-plus years of following the Flyers!

» MORE ARENA COVERAGE: Facility ready for another 50 years

As will probably be the case with most season-ticket holders, trying to pin down a game or two that stands out above the rest is a tough task, as there are so many to choose from. I am too young to remember "The Shot" to beat DePaul or any other game played back on the old Tartan surface. I do remember the 1990 MCC championship win over Xavier, the Wes Coffee/Chris Mack incident that forever etched Mack as a villain at the Arena, and Temple coach John Chaney donning a straw hat from the student section after voicing frustrations over the A-10 tournament being in "the sticks" of Dayton. Then of course there are numerous wins over Xavier (at home of course; damn that Cincinnati curse), and big wins over highly-ranked foes like Villanova and Pittsburgh.

For me, though, UD Arena has been and always will be more about the memories it's created than the games it has hosted. I endured the Jim O'Brien era of the early 1990s with both my grandpas and my Dad. I can vividly remember the seemingly long car rides back to Xenia, falling asleep on one of my grandpa's shoulders, as Bucky (Bockhorn) and Larry (Hansgen) recounted each and every loss. I graduated from Carroll High School in 2000 and received my diploma on the floor of UD Arena. I worked as an intern for the UD marketing department in the summer of 2003 and spent countless hours in the bowels of the arena, making copy after copy for the Future Flyer Kids Club. I remember a giant snowstorm sometime in the middle 2000s, but Fordham was already in town, so they were going to play the game regardless. There was a Level 3 snow emergency for all of the Dayton area, but my dad insisted on going to the game anyway. We were among the 200 or so fans in attendance. We sat rows off the court, and they gave away free pretzels!

Lastly, I can remember bringing my son Noah to his first UD game at the Arena in 2016 when he was just 7 months old. Living in the Cincinnati area, it's difficult for us to make more than a handful of games each year. However, I look forward to raising my kids as Flyer Faithful and hope that they can somehow make the same lifelong memories of UD Arena as I have. 

Ed Young of the Dayton Flyer Basketball 1983-84 team makes his way back to the floor during half-time of the University of Dayton versus St. Bonaventure at University of Dayton Arena Sunday January 25.
Photo: Teesha McClam

Joe Sharkey: 1. Ed Young banking in the shot against DePaul when DePaul was ranked No. 1 or No. 2. I forget now. I wasn't a fan of Mark Aguirre, and I was hoping the boys could beat him and obviously the highest-ranked team they had ever beat. Rosie (Roosevelt Chapman) had the ball, and everyone expected him to take it to the basket but to everyone's surprise, he kicked it to Ed Young. Ed spun and banked in an awkward-looking shot. The students stormed the court, and the place went berserk. DD (Don Donoher) showed more emotion after that shot than I had ever seen him display in all the years I had watched him. It was bedlam.

» EXCITED FANS: Demand high for UD season tickets

2. The Pittsburgh game. Pitt came in ranked in the top five. The arena was jacked from the tip and never stopped until the end of the game. I have been to hundreds of games — including all the Notre Dame games — and it was never louder than that game. BRob (Brian Roberts) put on a show, and it was never really close. I kept waiting on Pitt to make a run, but they never answered. I believe Pitt had three guys from that team that played in the NBA, but BRob was the best player that night. Dayton Decibel Dungeon.

3. Play-in game against Boise State. Down eight or nine late in the game, and the boys battle back to win when Jordan Sibert drilled a deep 3. It was not a pretty game, but it was gutsy, and the importance of the game was more than any regular-season game. The joint was jumping, and nothing I like more than when the joint is jumping.

WHIO’S Larry Hansgen and Bucky Bockhorn pose for a photo before Dayton’s game against North Florida on Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018, at UD Arena. David Jablonski/Staff
Photo: Staff Writer

Daniel Helm: I was fortunate to be a manager for coach Oliver Purnell from 1999-2003, and a (grad assistant) for coach Brian Gregory from 2003-05. My years as a manager were a little different. We only had two to three managers per year and actually had to dress up for games! My claim to fame is probably hiring Andy Farrell to work for the team. I got my name in the paper once, and it was after we won the Maui Invitational and I was carrying the trophy down the steps and out to the bus, and my athleticism led to breaking the trophy, and of course it was right in front of (Tom) Archdeacon, and Arch made sure everyone knew what happened. Ha!

Dayton basketball has been very good to me, and the people are what makes it go, from the fans to the players and the staff. Heck, Keith Waleskowski and Sean Finn were in my wedding, and Keith is the godfather of my son! As an 18-year-old, I left North Carolina to see what else the country had to offer. Why not Dayton?!?!

I had no idea what the arena had to offer, and that no matter what the record it is full. Ok, sorry for the rambling, but here are my memories.

1. The people. Most importantly, seeing Bucky (Bockhorn) and Larry (Hansgen) every game, no matter what. They are there for a lot of practices and really get to know the players well, and it shows when players go say hello to them prior to games and make sure to include them after big moments.

2. There was a weekend in February of the 2002-03 season, when we hosted St. Joseph’s, who was in the top 25, and Dayton had a brutal snow storm, and when we tipped that Saturday afternoon, there wasn’t an empty seat in the arena, and the noise was a huge factor in pulling off the upset. The next day, with all the snow still everywhere, the arena was sold out again for Lebron (James’) visit against Alter.

3. Dec. 22, 2002. Beating Villanova at the buzzer. The only buzzer beater in my time on the bench, and it came in a stretch of games against Nova, Marquette (who had Dwayne Wade and went to the Final Four) and No. 1 Duke. We won two of those three, and it led to a great year. Keith still jokes he looked like Magic Johnson, and in the video he does a great job of delivering some haymakers to Rudy after he gets up from the pile.

4. Feb. 22, 2013, vs. Xavier. Frank Iguodala got a steal and a dunk that tied this game. This was the second loudest I have ever heard the arena in my 20-plus years of seeing games there. Unfortunately, we missed a box out on the last possession, and they tipped in a rebound to win the game at the buzzer.

5. The 2015 play-in game. My favorite moment just as a fan. It was just a strange atmosphere with benches on opposite sides, and the Flyers, just not playing that great. But that last four to five minutes of the comeback was as good as it gets, and when (Jordan) Sibert hit the shot to win the game, that is the loudest I have ever heard the arena. How many teams get to have a buzzer beater to win an NCAA tourney game on their home court

6. My favorite memory of all time. This was a no brainer. When we won the A-10 tourney on our home court in 2003. The A-10 had every single game full, and the atmosphere was incredible for all of the games, but we had an obvious home-court advantage, and unfortunately now teams like Fordham and LaSalle have to go back to places like Boardwalk Hall and play in front of 130 fans. I digress! We beat Temple in a somewhat close game, thanks in part to Xavier beating No. 1 and undefeated St. Joe’s in the first round. The students somewhat rushed the court. We got championship rings (empty boxes at the time) all in front of our fans, students and families. And one lucky senior manager saw an opening when everyone else was talking and grabbed the scissors and went up the ladder and cut a piece of the net down — and part of my hand with the scissors because I was shaking. For some reason, we only cut the one side down and I was the only non-player who snuck up there. What a memory that I will always cherish. I have these pictures framed all over my house.

Dayton assistant coach Tom Ostrom, Kyle Davis and Nick Haldes celebrate after a victory against Boise State in the First Four on Wednesday, March 18, 2015, at UD Arena. David Jablonski/Staff

Michael Cruze: I have two favorites, both of which are completely different from the other.

The first one was during my very first exhibition game during my freshman year at UD. The student section was fairly empty, so my friend and I sat toward the back of the 100 level section. I couldn't help but feel impressed by the atmosphere even during this exhibition. The stands were mostly full, and the people were all passionate, respectful and knowledgeable. Shortly after the game started, the students in the very front row invited us down to sit closer and took the time to teach us all of the chants and made me feel like I belonged there. This was one of the earliest confirmations that I, without a doubt, made the right choice in attending this school.

My other memory was my final game as a student. During my senior year, we got selected to play in the play-in game against Boise State. I had attended a majority of home games during my four years at UD, but I have never heard the arena as loud or seen it as full as that game. Of course, while the game was phenomenal, the ending dramatic (I will remember that shot by Sibert and Kyle Davis’ defense for the rest of my life) and the result a good one, what really stood out after the fact was the feeling that I had come full circle.

My first game was a meaningless exhibition game where the seniors taught me what I needed to know, and my final game was a do-or-die tournament game where I was leading the people around me through cheers and chants. UD Arena and the people in it both made me feel a part of the university and community and wrapped up my time in the student section and, through graduation, my college career in the best way possible and bookended my time at UD.

Dayton's Brian Roberts (left) and London Warren leave the court in 2007 after beating Pittsburgh 80-55. Roberts scored 31 points in the game. Staff photo by Lisa Powell
Photo: Lisa Powell/Lisa Powell

Justin Hinders: Hard to think of just one memory but I’ll give my top five:

1. UD vs. No. 6 Pittsburgh, 2007. Flyers win by 25 pts and BRob (Brian Roberts) puts together one of the best performances I have seen at UD. The Arena was rocking. Electric environment from start to finish. 

2. UD vs. VCU, March 2016. OT Win, Clinch A-10 regular-season championship. Great to see the team celebrate cutting down the nets.

3. UD vs. No. 13 Marquette, 2003. Beating Dwayne Wade and Tom Crean.

4. UD vs. Villanova, 2002. Brooks Hall buzzer beater. The first one I recall at UD.

5. UD. vs. Xavier series. Looked forward to it every year. Sad it is over. The memories of beating David West, Tu, Crawford, Sato, etc. Fun beating them by 20-plus at home. Looking forward to joining the Big East and beating them again.

Can't wait for the season to get here. Should be a special season. Let’s make a deep run and land some five-star recruits.

This is a ticket from the first Flyers basketball game at UD Arena in 1969. Gary McCans, former director of premium seating, has boxes of old tickets from arena games and concerts. BRIAN KOLLARS / STAFF

The early years

Tim Schoenenberger: When the arena collapsed during construction, those of us in Engineering had lots to talk about. I carried a piece of bent steel with me in my prized items for many years. Somehow in one of my moves in the 1990s, I lost it. It was a sight to behold — just as the finished arena was and the updated one will be. Regards to the grads of 1970, most of whom have fond memories of the Fieldhouse and the arena! Go Flyers.

David Richardson: Seeing the collapse while under construction. Then it was when my grandpa took us over for the first day open to the public. He wasn’t feeling good, so then he waited in the car for us. He got paralyzed in the winter of 1970 and died a few years later, having never seen the inside. Always made me sad. One of my fondest early memories was when we beat (I believe seventh-ranked Syracuse when Jim Paxson was a freshman) Maybe later due to the rules on freshmen playing varsity around that time. We still have our seats in Section 101, Row 4. My dad had tickets at the Fieldhouse and the Fairgrounds before that. We welcomed them back in 1967 after the loss to UCLA. My brother got lost in the place.

Bob Toia, left, stands with his neighbor Bryan, Rudy Flyer, his neighbor Julie and his wife Kathy, far right, at UD Arena in December 2015.

Bob Toia: I have two favorite moments regarding attendance at the Arena. One doesn’t include basketball, but I’ll include it anyhow.

1. My bride-to-be graduated in 1970 in the FIRST class to participate in a graduation ceremony in the arena, rather than the Fieldhouse. That ceremony, and that year (also the year that we were married) is a memory that I will not soon forget. I, by coincidence, having graduated in 1969, was a part of the LAST graduation ceremony held in the Fieldhouse.

2. My favorite basketball memory was from a game in December 2015 when our neighbors invited us to attend a game at a court-side table located near the Flyer bench. We had a great view of the action and were able to talk to and high-five many of the players and coaches. I even had a chance to grab an errant basketball as it was misdirected our way!! 

» MORE FAN PHOTOS: Flyer Faithful in action

Dave Summers: I have many great memories from attending games at the arena, but three stand out.

One goes back to my junior year in high school, 1970. Chaminade and Roth were rated No. 1 and No. 2 in the state and played each other in the final regular-season game of the year. Dan Gerhard (future OSU forward & West Carrollton coach) starred for Chaminade and future UD Hall of Famer Donald Smith starred for Roth. The game was a sellout: 13,000-plus for a regular-season high school basketball game! The game lived up to the hype. It was a tough, back-and-forth game that Chaminade won with a last-second basket by Gerhard. I believe this was the largest crowd to see a high school game in Ohio for many years. I imagine it’s been surpassed with the opening of the Schottenstein Center and the hosting of state tournament games there.

My other prominent memories involve NCAA games. One featured Scott Skiles, of Michigan State. He was leading a MSU fast break and, without breaking stride, completed a perfect behind-the-back pass for an assist. It was the highlight of an outstanding performance by Skiles in that game.

My last memory was a day full of NCAA memories. In the 1985 first-round games, we saw David Robinson playing for Navy, Len Bias playing for Maryland, No. 16 seed Fairleigh Dickinson nearly defeat No. 1 seed Michigan and our Flyers lose to eventual national champion Villanova by two. What a day of basketball!

Gary McCans, UD Arena’s event services manager, is retiring in May. McCans has worked at the arena since it opened in 1969. BRIAN KOLLARS / STAFF

Beating Notre Dame

Jim “Swampy” Meadows: In my mind, the 1974 Dayton/Notre Dame game was the best I ever attended. I was working at WVUD at the time and arranged a small trade deal with Gary McCans (pictured above) at the ticket office: a few radio spots to promote the remaining ducats for tix to the ND tilt. I invited the Media Director from Kircher Helton Collett (the agency for Rike’s department stores) to join me, only to have his son and a buddy show up in his stead. It remains the loudest game I have ever attended at UD Arena, as from my seat in the next to the last row in the 400 section I could feel the building shake. Donald Smith and company destroyed the then No. 2 ranked Irish 97-82 only days after Notre Dame had ended UCLA’s 88-game win streak. That game propelled the Sons of Don Donoher into the NCAA Tournament, where they would eventually fall to UCLA in triple overtime.

David Gasper: The upset of No. 2 Notre Dame in 1974 was one of the greatest wins at UD Arena. The crowd was electric and as loud as I ever heard in the arena. I was up in the 400 level next to my father. He leaned over to make a comment, and I could not hear him.  After the win, the students and other fans celebrated on the court by ringing a victory bell.

Stu McCulloch: The memory that stands out most for many was during my freshman year at UD when the Flyers defeated Notre Dame, then coached by Digger Phelps. It was 1974, Notre Dame was ranked No. 2 in the country, and we beat 'em by 15 in our last regular-season game. As I recall, many (not me) rushed the floor at the final buzzer.

Steven A. Wolf Sr.: March 4, 1974. My sophomore year. Second-row seats. I have attended many games at UD, and the arena has never been as loud as on that day. We stormed the court. We also waited in line for over 24 hours for student tickets.

Thomas Wells: This game is really two memories. First was before the game even started as the UD students peppered Notre Dame coach Digger Phelps with toilet paper as the crowd went crazy. Second was the incredible noise from the crowd. We only took a break from cheering at halftime. That was the loudest I have ever heard it at a sporting event. A great time was had by all, but Notre Dame and their fans as UD, led by the great Donald Smith, won the game 97-82.

Front of the Dayton Daily News sports section on Jan. 29, 1982, featuring Dayton's five-overtime victory against Providence.

The 1980s

Chris Kelly: I was present at the five-overtime win vs. Providence my senior year. That was a great memory. But my favorite UD Arena moment was Notre Dame vs. UD on a Saturday afternoon. I think it was my freshman year, 1979-80. After UD scored its first basket, lots of fans threw rolls of toilet paper onto the court. Digger Phelps had some choice words for Coach Donoher. Someone just missed hitting Kelly Tripucka in the head with a roll of TP. After this game, UD security starting searching people for toilet paper rolls. That is my favorite UD Arena memory because of the consternation it caused the both coaches and the UD administration.

Jim Hensley: March 14, 1981. Opening round of NCAA Mideast Regional. DePaul, coached by Ray Meyer, was at the height of its hoops popularity. Mark Aguirre was the national player of the year, and the Blue Demons’ stacked roster included Clyde Bradshaw, Skip Dillard, Teddy Grubbs and Terry Cummings. St. Joe’s, coached by Jim Lynum, pull off a 49-48 upset of No. 1 seed DePaul.

Toni DeVelin: There have been many memorable games I’ve witnessed in UD Arena, but by far the longest was the five-overtime marathon against Providence in January 1982. I was a junior in the Flyer Pep Band. We kept up a steady stream of “Victory” and other tunes through the regulation . Then played them again. And again. Again. Again. Again. It was an exciting-and exhausting game.

Jerry Kelly: Opening two rounds of the 1986 tourney. Came to the arena. Tickets back then were pretty reasonable. I think I paid 36 bucks (total) for three, two game sessions. A few memories:

• Danny Manning was a different level athlete than other dudes in the building.

• I was NOT a Scottie Skiles fan and had tired of hearing about him from a guy on my floor (6 East, Stuart Hall). We went to the games together. Skiles blew me away in person. Had to miss one of the opening-round games (UD got the Thursday/Saturday pairing) because a prof just wouldn't excuse me from class. He caught me off guard. We'd talked St Joe's hoops (his alma mater) all season. Guess he was peeved the Hawks didn't get seeded in Dayton. In my hurry to get to back to the arena for the next game (buses weren't running between sessions), I jogged all the way from St. Joe's hall (ironic?) and forgot my session ticket. The kind gate agent claimed to remember me from the AM session, took pity on me, and let me in. Side note: I took my kids to visit UD 17 years later in the dead of summer. We had lunch in KU. I saw professor Donnelly (the prof from game day) and went to introduce myself and my kids. Damned if he didn't remember me, where I was from and my tourney story. In short, I don't just love UD hoops; I love hoops, and I love UD.

Jerry Kelly: February 1986 and the Flyers were a couple seasons removed from their deep tournament run. David Rivers and Notre Dame came to town. They'd been rated at or near the top 10 most of the season. So that meant camping out at the box office to score a student ticket. I think most of the starting five (Dave Colbert, Anthony Grant, Ed Young, Damon Goodwin) played darn near the whole game. But what I remember most was clutch time. Freshman Negele Knight lived in Rivers's jockstrap and hit a handful of HUGE free throws to hold the Irish off.

Todd Morris: The 1986-87 season, sitting behind the team bench, seats courtesy of some of the players that I was friends with. Got to shoot the foul shots at halftime for the watch gift card. Made 2 of 3 in front of student section. Won a $100 watch. Students were yelling very Lowd. Hilarious!

Todd Souve: My favorite of many: the 1986 NCAA regional NCAA Tournament with Kansas, Georgetown and Michigan State all in Dayton. I walked by Georgetown's Ralph Dalton, who played center after Patrick Ewing. He was huge. Also seeing John Thompson  and Scott Skiles in person. The Georgetown-Michigan State game was wonderful to watch in person. 

Dayton's Sam Howard, center, celebrates with two fans after a victory against Xavier in the MCC tournament final at UD Arena on March 10, 1990.
Photo: Charles Steinbrunner/Staff

The 1990s

Justin Steele: First game was on my 12th birthday in 1990. My family surprised me by saying we were going to visit an uncle in Centerville. I fell asleep on way and woke up in the Arena parking lot. It was the “Chris Mack game” when he was on Evansville. For longest time I hated Mack until I learned that he was instructed to do what he did. And then shortly after X left the A-10, over time my respect for him grew.

Tom Hurney: March 11, 1990. UD with Negele Knight and Norm Greavey beat Xavier in the MCC title. My wife is a lifetime Flyer fan. We brought our oldest daughter to her first UD game but she doesn’t remember it because she was born almost 3 weeks later!

Adrian Costello: MCC championship game 1990. That was amazing! Negele Knight was a man possessed. I have no words to adequately describe the arena that night!

Kyle Panther: I feel confident no one else will mention this game. Feb. 5, 1994, Dayton vs. Memphis (then Memphis State). It was my first game in the arena as I was visiting my brother for Little Sibs Weekend. Dayton would go 6-21 on the season and lost this game by 16. But in that 40 minutes, there were six minutes I will never forget. Down 22 at the half, UD outscored Memphis 24-4 in 5½ minutes. Sitting in the student section, I remember not being able to hear the cheerleaders 20 feet in front of me during the under-16 timeout it was so loud. And then the immortal Chip Hare and the point guard from Memphis got into a fight in that same student section right below me. Memphis' bench cleared, and Hare and two Memphis players were ejected for the fight. Dayton never got closer, but for that six minutes it was unreal. Ten years later, I was a senior who witnessed the program resurrection, was in the arena when UD won the A-10 tourney title and saw Xavier end St. Joe's undefeated run (still the best 40 minutes of basketball I've ever seen a team play in person), but that six minutes is my favorite memory.

Ryan Stroh: While I have seen several great games inside what I call "Ohio's Basketball Cathedral,” my favorite memory was from 1992 and the NCAA tournament. I went with my dad to watch UC beat Michigan State, and then UTEP upset Kansas in the second round of the tournament. My goodness the place was rocking that day.

Tim Schrodel: As a 1996 UD graduate, I have no good memories. The Flyers were 32-81 during those four seasons. I had an amusing encounter with an older fan regarding the “Jim Must Go!” sign I brought into the arena and held up high during a late season game that solidified their last place standing in the Great Midwest Conference. OB would be fired days later. I enjoyed short lines at the concession stand behind the empty student section using my declining balance card (thanks Mom and Dad!). There was a big upset of Saint Louis, maybe, who I believe was ranked at time in one of those years. Think a 3-point record was set. Alas, it was one of only two or three games I missed. May have also been the game where the Flyerettes wore outfits that didn't quite sit well with administration. They were much more covered up by the next game. That's about it.

Oliver Purnell shrugs his shoulders in a University of Dayton game against Tulsa. RON ALVEY / STAFF
Photo: Ron Alvey

Mark Faulhaber: I grew up in Cincy and was a UC Bearcat hoops season-ticket holder. I know what it was like to win recently and also to dislike Xavier. I was an excited frosh in 1992 at UD. I was pumped to go to a basketball school. Needless to say, those were lean years. I still went to all of the games and honestly had a hard time getting friends to go. In 1996, I graduated and moved to Cincy, but still had connections to good student seats and plenty of reasons to visit UD regularly. Oliver Purnell’s group showed some promise. We kept hearing about Darnell Hoskins dominating in practice but he had transfer ineligibility. But that home win in 1997 against a ranked XU in January was the turning point. Hoskins lit up the arena, and that win the spark for our return to relevancy and the reestablishment of the Arena as a fortress. The place was rocking. Everyone, except Ryan Perryman (my all-time favorite) had an unbelievable game. Darnell’s one year showed the program what real heart and leadership was. His senior night that year was amazing too. He kissed the center circle when subbed off. It was an amazing moment. We were back. I have two kids at UD now, and we don’t miss a game. Don’t let anyone tell you the 1990s didn’t have any moments. That’s when we learned how to fight and overcome adversity, and it became part of our culture. Darnell’s one year was a big part of that rebirth.

Todd Herzog: Many scintillating buzzer beaters since 1992, but my Flyer moment has to be the season finale on March 2, 1996, vs. Virginia Tech, which we lost 73-54. More importantly we lost Chris Daniels less than a month earlier, when his big heart gave out in his sleep. A group of us traveled to Fordham as planned with heavy hearts for the first game after his passing on Feb. 9. My college girlfriend Kate Hahn wanted to honor Chris and raise money for a scholarship. She printed and sold T-shirts for the home finale that turned the arena red. On front "Much Love CD, Thanks for the Memories,” and on the back, "33.” I still have mine — never been laundered — and I hope the scholarship lives on. If not, fans should resume donating.

Erin Reilly: I have fond memories with @cardmakingmama (Heidi Sprague) and others sitting court side in the student section as a Class of 1997 fan. Winning wasn't really a factor (darn good thing too since we never did — sigh).

Heidi Sprague: We loved the game and our Flyers. We may have moved away but, now @ErinDReilly watches her son as a UD manager and my son is up the street taking sports photos at Witt. It all comes full circle to that part of the world!

Ted Thompson: Valentine's Day 1999. With a small donation to the university, they ran my marriage proposal on those old scroll scoreboards as the first half ended. They told me to make sure she was looking because they could only scroll it once. Fortunately, she saw it and said yes. What's funny is after the game they scrolled it for like 10 minutes straight. The Flyers lost that day vs. GW (I think Tony Stanley was suspended), and I vowed to never propose at a UD game ever again.

In this 2003 file photo: Adam Gill (53), of Alter, boxes out Lebron James, as they look for a rebound. Alter played St. Vincent/St.Mary at the University of Dayton Arena.
Photo: Dayton Daily News file photo

The 2000s

Doug Smith: One of my most remembered games at UD arena was the more recent high school basketball game between the Alter Knights and King James and his Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary Irish. Although the home team was badly beaten , the show put on by LeBron was awesome. Fast-break steals to thundering tomahawk dunks was incredible to watch. Heck, even in warm-ups he had the sold-out crowd ooohing and ahhhing with his NBA 3-pointers and practice slams. A truly gifted athlete. And even at game’s end, he took to the arena mic to thank the 13,000 in attendance for coming out to the arena on a cold, Level 3 snow emergency evening. But I got to see him play when I had more money than him, I think!

Beating Pittsburgh

Kyler Ludlow: My lifelong friendships were forged in the 400 section of UD Arena. Three of my high school friends convinced me to go with them to a Flyers game over Christmas break, and since they were playing top-25 Pittsburgh, I thought it could be fun. Little did I know that that game would turn into one of the most iconic drubbings in Dayton basketball history. Even though the scene was a little small from our perch from the second-to-last row, it is a game I will never forget. The arena was electric from the start, and Brian Roberts was putting on a show. He lit Pitt up for 31 points, and the supporting cast of underclassmen (Marcus Johnson, Charles Little, London Warren and Chris Wright, to name a few) gave us some high hopes for the future. Even though that season ended at Value City Arena in a loss to Ohio State, beating Pittsburgh by 25 cemented my status as a Flyer Faithful for life.

Paul Mykytka: My favorite UD Arena memory is definitely the 2007 Pitt upset. UD King, student section, first row, against the number No. 6 team in the land. Pitt was undefeated and we were 10-1 coming into the game. Even though the students were technically on winter break, that game was, hands-down, the loUDest I have ever heard the Arena. I really think the Flyer Faithful propelled the team, led by B-Rob, to a huge victory. Unfortunately the season ended up being a letdown, missing the NCAA tourney and losing to OSU in the quarter finals of the NIT, but still a great memory.

Alex Nikolai: All-time favorite was beating No. 6 Pitt 80-55 in 2007. I was one of the young kid ball boys for that game and watched from under the basket. Got to talk to Chris Wright before the game. That is a game I will never forget. The arena was ROCKING that night.

Aaron Pack: My favorite memory at UD Arena was one of my first memories of UD Arena: The Pittsburgh game in 2007. Brian Roberts was on another level that night, and the place was absolutely rocking. To beat them like that, it showed me that there is a punchers chance against team in the country as long as the game is being played on Tom Blackburn Court.

Mark Plavko: I could go with one of the big wins or last-minute shots, but figure I'll give you my most unique one. It was the 2009 season and we won a game at GW in large part due to a technical foul on Karl Hobbs' team for six men on the floor with 20 seconds left. Over the next year or so, I'm pretty sure Karl's team got called for this penalty a couple more times against UD.

Fast forward to the A-10 tournament with GW coming to UD Arena. Naturally, as creative college students, we chose to bring a calculator with us to the game and spent the entire time asking Karl Hobbs if he needed it for help counting his players on the floor. I could be wrong, but I think his team got called for the six man penalty again this game!

After UD won the game, one of my friends dared me to ask Karl to sign the calculator. Luckily, Karl got separated from the rest of the team as he had to do his radio show postgame. I knew he had to walk right past our student section to leave.

As he walks past I shout, "Karl, will you sign my calculator!?" He initially just waves me off, takes about three steps and then turns around and says, “Alright, I'll be the big joke in the dorms tonight!" He walks over and compliments our student section and signs the calculator.

"I gotta ask you just one question" he says, "Why you gotta be busting my balls like that?!"

He couldn't have been nicer and honestly it's moments like that which I have the fondest memories of. Being a member of that student section is something I'll never forget. I still have the calculator and I imagine it might be the strangest piece of Flyers memorabilia I've heard of!

The front of the sports section in the Feb. 7, 2010, edition of the Dayton Daily News.

The 2010s

Matt Rhein: I think my memory of UD Arena might be a unique one. After graduating from Dayton the previous May, I returned to UD Arena for the first time since graduation on Feb. 6, 2010. During my time on campus, the matchups with Xavier were always circled on my calendar. As many recent graduates facing the cruel, harsh realities of the universe outside the UD bubble, my friends and I remained connected to UD via the men’s basketball team. We agreed to return for every matchup against Xavier at the arena going forward. Heading into that first game back as alumni, UD was in a bit of a rut. UD was 4-3 in the A-10 and had lost two of their last three. The arena had an edge, knowing a win against the hated rivals from down south could be just what the doctor ordered. The Decibel Dungeon faithful were looking for any reason to explode. It wasn’t a flashy dunk or deep 3-pointer that lit the fuse, but rather Xavier center Jason Love picking up two early fouls 1:02 into the game and having to sit on the Xavier bench. As UD Arena rose in unison to wildly cheer as Xavier’s debatably third or fourth best player went to the bench, I thought, “I’ll love this place forever.”

Devin Oliver picks up Jordan Sibert after Sibert's game-winning 3-pointer with 1 second left against IPFW on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013, at UD Arena. Guard Kyle Davis is at left. David Jablonski/Staff
Photo: David Jablonski/Flyer Connection - daytondailynews

Chris Garcia: I had to pick between two Jordan Sibert game-winning shots. So I picked the one that made me a Flyer fan for life. Nov. 9, 2013, was opening night for the Flyers and my first ever game as a student and pep band member at UD Arena. It was also Jordan Sibert’s first game at UD Arena. His buzzer beater to beat IPFW was crazy. It was electric. I think I blacked out for a second. It made me realize that Flyer basketball will be something that I will love for the rest of my life.

Ryan Wolff: Best memory of mine at UD Arena was the Jordan Sibert buzzer-beater over IPFW in his first game as a Flyer, assisted by Kyle Davis’ hustle steal. A game we should’ve won by 25 but yet started one of the best seasons in recent memory. My freshman year as a student, and it couldn’t have started any better.

Dayton’s Kyle Davis hits the game-winning shot with 2.1 seconds left against Miami. David Jablonski/Staff

Carl Hess: My favorite memory from UD Arena by far has to be the game against Miami (Ohio) in the 2015-16 season. After having two deep NCAA tournament runs the previous two seasons, the Flyers were poised to make another tournament run through the play of their experienced juniors: Scoochie Smith, Kyle Davis, Charles Cooke and Kendall Pollard. While the team lacked size, they made up for it in strength and resilience. This game embodied their strength because even though the Flyers struggled to break away and take the lead in a game that they should have won easily, Kyle Davis’ toughness led to an ice-cold buzzer-beater for the win. The team was mighty despite their lack of height and ultimately made lots of noise throughout that season and that talented junior class’s four years.

Nov 16, 2010. Juwan Staten, a freshman guard, had 11 points and 3 assists in the first half. The University of Dayton Flyer men’s basketball team hosted Akron at the UD Arena.
Photo: Columnist

Jamie Krieg: Favorite memory is a great one. It happened during a home game against New Mexico. Juwan Staten has the ball on the left side of the court. New Mexico decided to leave Juwan 1-on-1 against the defender, so Juwan Staten immediately drives left. While everyone wondered what he was going to do with the ball, he one-handed slammed it above another defender trying to cover New Mexico's weak side. I sat in section 412, Row P, Seat 9, which faces in front of the Dayton bench. I could see the entire UD crowed waving their game towels and being so excited. That play was on ESPN top 10. Anyone who witnessed that dunk and felt the excitement and the atmosphere would love the experience they had at UD Arena. Plus you can smell the aroma of the concession stand filling the air. I love watching Dayton play, and it adds to the excitement of watching Dayton play now they continue to improve the arena and campus.

» EXPLAINING LOWD: UD fans make up a word to describe their noise

Harold Hawk Sr.: My favorite memory has to be January 29th 2014 when SJU beat a great Dayton team in Dayton by a buzzer beater by Langston Galloway. It was also the second time of three times that season that SJU beat the Flyers. It was a great atmosphere in Dayton as a Hawks fan as the shot quieted the audience and the Hawks prevailed!

Dayton guard Jordan Sibert hits the game-winning 3-pointer with 35 seconds left against Boise State in the First Four on Wednesday, March 18, 2015, at UD Arena. David Jablonski/Staff
Photo: David Jablonski/Flyer Connection - daytondailynews

Beating Boise State

Mike Mahoney: Best memory at UD Arena as a Flyer fan was the First Four victory over Boise State. Tailgating in D Lot during the early game, the final minute of the victory and then immediately (in the parking lot again) going online to buy tickets on StubHub for Friday night in Columbus.

Adam Gutheil: First Four vs. Boise St has to be the top memory for me. I can still hear the crowd in the final minutes. Sibert’s shot, KD (Kyle Davis) putting the clamps on Derrick Marks. I don’t think anything comes close.

Matt Hager: My favorite UD Arena memory has to be the First Four victory against Boise State, which is really funny now because at the time I hated everything about how that whole situation went down. I hated that UD was inexplicably pushed into the First Four, and I hated that Boise — another mid-major — had to play a road game in the NCAA Tournament. I wasn’t happy about the whole thing. As for the game, everyone knows what happened and what the arena was like that night. But honestly the game isn’t why it’s my favorite memory. It happened to be the only time I got to link my UD past to my UD present/future. My father was a huge Dayton basketball fan, but he never went to college. Even so, we watched tons of Flyers games on TV when I was a kid and went to the arena a couple times a year. When I went to UD years later, I met my wife and went to countless games with her during our time at UD and after as alumni. But the First Four game was the first, and sadly only, time I got to go to a UD game with both of them. Dad passed away in early 2017. That was his last UD game, and one I’ll always cherish.

Al Elder: As season-ticket holders since 1985, picking one memory is nearly impossible. We have a special needs daughter Alicia, who just turned 30, who finds Flyers games to be her favorite thing. If I was to pick one memory, it would be the NCAA First Four game with Boise State in 2015. Jordan Sibert's long clutch 3-pointer and Kyle Davis' defensive stop to seal the game. Not sure the Arena has ever been louder!!!

Dayton fan Emily Lazar holds up a sign in the student section cheer during a game against Virginia Commonwealth on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019, at UD Arena. David Jablonski/Staff
Photo: Staff Writer

Beating VCU

Emily Lazar: I have attended 83 UD home basketball games. I have rewatched twice as many. But hands down my favorite memory at the arena was Saturday, March 5, 2016: UD vs. VCU for a share of the A-10 title. It was WILD. It started with the annual Red Scare "March to UD Arena.” With more than 500 students, it looked like a sea of red flooding the sidewalks. I remember watching a post-game interview of Will Wade commenting on how he expected a crazy atmosphere, but he did not anticipate this. On the short trip from the Marriott, VCU had to drive through the middle of that red sea commotion. (Wade knew his team was doomed). Anyways, we all know the story from here. Scoochie owned the game with 29 points, Big Steve blocked a Mo Alie-Cox dunk, Dyshawn Pierre SLAMMED it home to finish his career before getting fouled out, Kyle Davis scored the final points from an assist by Scooch, all of which resulted in a thrilling one-point OT victory. LOWD was born this day. This game was legendary. Go Flyers.

David Thomas: My dad and I attended the VCU game in 2016. Also my cousin sat right in front of us in the 400s when they tied them and St. Bonaventure for the regular-season title. I love games that are close like that because the crowd is in it every possession. UD eventually won in OT after Kyle Davis hit a layup with a lot of contact that wasn’t called, and VCU had chance to hit a 3 to win that went wide. What I remember most is the crowd celebrated after the VCU miss and I not only high-fived my dad but then also high-fived everyone surrounding my seat.

TJ Haubach: My favorite memory at the UD arena was Senior Night for Kyle Davis. I have been a season-ticket holder since I could walk. My dad and I have never missed a game. As we walked into the arena on Senior Night, the student section had been full of shirts with all of the senior players graduating with their number on the back. I just had to have a Kyle Davis shirt. My dad and I walked to our seats, and he told me he would be back, after asking almost 15 students, my dad finally found a student who let my dad buy a Kyle Davis shirt off him for $30! After the game, I got to meet some of the Davis family who also let me take a picture with Kyle’s shoes and also the senior signature board! It was definitely a Flyer moment to always remember.

Recent seasons

Travis Grile: As a junior at UD currently and having grown up in Dayton, I have many stories and moments within the arena. My favorite, by far, is from my freshman year at UD though. The opening game was against Ball State, and it was the first Flyers game for many of my new friends I had met since moving in. The game was very back and forth and came down to the wire. We all stood in anticipation through the timeouts that preceded the final chance from a throw-in at mid court. Finally the play started, and a ball lobbed towards the basket was thankfully tipped in by Josh Cunningham, and we watched the clock expire for our first UD victory of the year! Seeing the excitement that I had known my whole life from Flyer games being experienced by my new friends created new bonds we still share til this day!

Dan Magers: I am a sophomore at UD now, so my only memories come from last year. Lol. If I had to pick my favorite memory though, it would have to be the VCU game from last year. I realize it was a loss, but that is the day that I fell in love with Dayton basketball. Those last 10 minutes were the best atmosphere I’ve ever been a part of. Now if I wasn’t home for Christmas break, Obi’s between-the-legs dunk would probably be my favorite memory, but I’ll stick with the VCU game. Hopefully I’ll get a better memory in my next three years here!

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