Before a recent makeover in its appearance, Tyonna Williams thought McGonigle Hall looked old school. But during Saturday’s home opening 78-74 win against Auburn, the Owls were playing on a brand new court.
“The changes are extremely big,” Williams said. “Not to say McGonigle was boring, but the décor was an old-school type. Now I feel like the décor is more modern and its more of a new era, and you know with us moving into a new era and a new conference, our whole mindset has changed.”
Some of the changes to the gym include a redone far wall that is now painted cherry red with “Temple” spelled out in a large, boldface font. Owl eyes were painted on the walls, work was done on the court to make it more like a basketball court during games and a large owl was painted on one of the corners of the court.
No additions or renovations were made to the court’s seating accommodations.
“It’s something that’s very noticeable what they’ve done in there,” coach Tonya Cardoza said. “Just putting in the new floor, that’s going to be crazy because it was such an old floor. Now with the graphics on the court and the background, everybody that hasn’t been in there in a while, the thing they’ll notice is how great it looks. It catches your eye, and with us playing a lot of games there, it’s our opportunity to show it off and show off the commitment the university has behind us.”
The home of Temple’s volleyball and women’s basketball teams, McGonigle Hall certainly offers more of an at-home feeling for its players with the recent changes, Williams said.
“I definitely feel like it’s a home gem for women’s basketball now and also for volleyball, of course,” Williams said. “The new décor, all the designs and the little details that they put into the gym, it definitely makes us feel more comfortable. We always love playing in McGonigle and we feel it’ll draw more fans now.”
Although the men’s team plays in the 10,200-seat Liacouras Center next door, McGonigle provides a smaller, louder environment that the women’s team said is better suited for the amount of fans that come to home games.
“I like the feel of Liacouras just because it’s a real big arena,” sophomore guard Meghan Roxas said. “The big Jumbotron is pretty sweet, but I like the fact that McGonigle fills up more than Liacouras does. It’s definitely louder in McGonigle because it’s a little more diluted.”
“Playing in Liacouras, you get the video shots,” Williams said. “You get the hype video, the loud introduction and the big lights, so that’s the good thing about Liacouras Center. But our fans can’t fill up Liacouras Center, so we would much rather have our fans being comfortable and us being comfortable in McGonigle. McGonigle’s definitely my favorite place to play.”
Particularly with the large owl eyes glaring at the court below, Cardoza said the renovations were made with the intimidation factor kept in mind.
“They created [the owl eyes] to be intimidating,” Cardoza said. “And with the owl on the court and the eyes and the background, it definitely screams Temple. Before the renovations, [McGonigle] was just OK, but now it’s something to be proud of and to show off. We’re really proud of what it looks like.”
The court renovation came ahead of Temple’s first season in the American Athletic Conference.
“The new decorations and the design now helps our mentality,” Williams said. “We want to be different this year, and having a different home gem and this team playing in it, it’s a good feeling. We feel like we can do a lot of good things this year, and with the fans that the new McGonigle will bring, it’ll definitely help us achieve that.”
Andrew Parent can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @daParent93.