Nov. 7 exhibition and Dec. 31 regular season contests slated for historic McCasland Field House.
NORMAN, Okla. -- University of Oklahoma Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Programs and Director of Athletics Joe Castiglione and Head Men's Basketball Coach Lon Kruger announced today that the Sooners will play two of their 2012 home games at historic McCasland Field House on the OU campus.
OU's Nov. 7 exhibition game against Central Oklahoma (7 p.m. CT) and Dec. 31 regular season contest versus Texas A&M Corpus-Christi (2 p.m.) will be played as part of the inaugural Field House Series inside the 84-year-old venue.
"We are excited to bring our men's basketball program back to the heart of campus for these rare appearances at McCasland Field House," said Castiglione. "Coach Kruger possesses a great appreciation not only for the history and tradition of OU Basketball, but also for this venue, where he competed as an opposing player. He has done an incredible job integrating his team with our students and OU fans everywhere since the moment he stepped on campus. While the Lloyd Noble Center continues to serve as the home for OU Basketball, we're ecstatic to afford this opportunity to create a unique and spirited game environment at McCasland Field House."
Kruger, who is starting his second season at OU, played in two games inside the OU Field House as a Kansas State guard in the 1970s. In 1972, he led K-State to an 80-71 win by recording a team-high 18 points and nine rebounds, and went on to be named Big Eight Sophomore of the Year. Two years later in Norman, Kruger contributed 12 points and six boards, but the Sooners pulled out a 65-63 win. Kruger, who was the 1973 and '74 Big Eight Player of the Year, missed the 1973 contest inside the OU Field House due to injury.
"This is going to be a lot of fun for our players and fans alike," said Kruger of the Field House Series. "McCasland Field House represents a significant piece of OU Basketball history, and my memories of playing there and how tough an environment it was for our K-State teams are quite vivid. Due to its size and how the seats are right on top of the court, the building generates natural electricity. Our players and staff are looking forward to experiencing with our fans, for these two games, that combination of intimacy and raucousness that the Field House produced for so many years.
"Particularly for the Nov. 7 game when our entire student body will be in Norman, we really encourage students to embrace this unique opportunity to cheer on our team as it plays in the middle of campus."
The New Year's Eve game against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi will mark the first regular season men's basketball affair inside McCasland Field House since the March 5, 1975, home finale, an 84-79 win over Iowa State. The only other men's basketball game held in the building since then was an 86-78 OU exhibition win over Athletes First on Nov. 5, 2001. That game was moved due to finishing renovation touches being applied to Lloyd Noble Center.
Although the Nov. 7 and Dec. 31 Field House games are not part of OU's season tickets package, season ticket holders will have the first opportunity to purchase tickets to these events. More information will be included with the season ticket renewals this week. General public tickets for these two games will be subject to availability. Fans may contact the OU Athletics Ticket Office in mid-October for more information. Field House seating capacity for these two games will be approximately 3,300.
Opened in 1928, the OU Field House served as the Sooners' home until Lloyd Noble Center opened in December 1975. Under head coach Hugh McDermott, Oklahoma won the first game in the Field House -- a 45-19 drubbing of Phog Allen's Kansas squad on Jan. 13, 1928, as more than 5,200 fans packed the building. OU finished 18-0 that year, and Allen suffered only one worse defeat in his 38-year KU coaching career.
Oklahoma's all-time record in the OU Field House stands at 319-153 (.676). The Sooners won eight conference championships while playing in the facility (one Missouri Valley, six Big Six and one Big Seven). Head coaches who directed OU teams that played in the Field House were McDermott (11 seasons in the building), Bruce Drake (17), Doyle Parrack (7), Bob Stevens (5), John MacLeod (6) and Joe Ramsey (2). Drake's 1938-39 and 1946-47 squads advanced to the NCAA semifinals and final, respectively.
Sooners who earned All-America honors while playing in the OU Field House were Vic Holt (1928 Helms Foundation National Player of the Year), Thomas Churchill (1929), Bruce Drake (1929), Bud Browning (1935), Jimmy McNatt (1939 and '40), Gerald Tucker (1943 and '47; 1947 Helms Foundation National Player of the Year), Allie Paine (1944), Paul Courty (1948 and '49), Lester Lane (1955), Don Sidle (1967 and '68) and Alvan Adams (1974 and '75).
McCasland Field House is named after Howard McCasland, who was a standout center for the Sooners from 1914-16. A renovation of the building concluded this summer. The list of improvements includes refurbished exterior brick, new windows and entry doors, a complete roof replacement and a remodel of the volleyball offices, locker and team rooms, renovation of main lobby, restrooms and concessions.