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Ahearn Fieldhouse

Ahearn was the home of K-State basketball during its glory days. From 1950 through 1988 K-State went 379-87 in "the barn" for an 81% victory clip. Built for $2 million it replaced a Nichols Gym. When full, Ahearn could be loud. Bob Knight once said "This has to be the greatest basketball crowd in America."

Click the picture at right to see a larger version.

Read a description of going to a game in Ahearn.

crowd

In it's early days in the 50's and 60's the primitive nature of its facilities would be shocking to people now, but that was before money dominated everything.

Anyone remember…

… the dirt floor in Ahearn - it was used for rodeo events also - there is a reason these things were called a "field house."
… how they allowed smoking before the game and during half time so that during each half a cloud of smoke would slowly rise to the ceiling.
… the spindly, near vertical ladder that sportswriters had to climb to get to the press box.
… waiting outside the very narrow stairway that led down to the dressing room for players to come out after the game for autographs.
… how you got a real program with content that changed for every game.
… how there was a little blurb in the program using that archaic word “sportsmanship” and telling us all how to behave.
… that charmingly goofy scoreboard with the circle of light bulbs winking off one per second. And that there was a one-second interval each minute when no one from outside KSU could tell how much time was really left.
… the two small scoreboards they had at diagonal corners of the floor staffed by students who would flip over what looked like cloth flaps to keep the score current.
... stomping your feet on the upper, metal bleacher seats to make a huge noise.
… how you had to walk 3 miles through the snow to Ahearn, always remembering to give the little Swedish boys a penny or two to watch your horse and buggy to keep the Indians from stealing it.

… well, the 3 mile part is true, mostly.

inside

clock

willy walk

Prior to the games the school mascot, a live wildcat, would be walked around the perimeter. I think the cat was Touchdown VII at the time of this photo. Eventually this was stopped as it came to be regarded as cruel to the animal to expose it to that much noise and tumult.

Like those outfits, eh?

 
Last modified 6/6/06; posted 4/14/06. © 2006 John P. Nordin