Jon M. Huntsman Center
Regarded as one of the top college arenas in the nation since opening its doors in 1969, the Jon M. Huntsman Center has provided an imposing home venue advantage for Utah's basketball and gymnastics. And starting this fall, it becomes home for the Ute volleyball team.
For a structure that in its 43rd year of existence, a feeling of newness still pervades underneath the silver dome. But don't let the pristine picture fool you. As serene as the Huntsman Center may look empty, when the Utes are on the floor and fans are in the stands, the place transforms into a madhouse.
A landmark on the U. campus, the Jon M. Huntsman Center is the perfect place to watch a sporting event. With 15,000 chair seats assuring a great view from anywhere in the arena, the Huntsman Center is the largest venue in the Pac-12 Conference.
From its perch at the southeast end of campus, the Huntsman Center stands sentinel over the University of Utah. Inside the facility are athletic coaches' and administrative offices and locker rooms. The enormous reflective silver dome is the largest of its kind in the world. Underground tunnels stretching 2,220 feet connect the arena with the four-building physical education complex.
The famous "steel cloud," a huge mass of steel and concrete, hangs from the dome's interior and holds the scoreboard, and the public address and lighting systems. The building was engineered in such a way that the cloud actually holds the dome in place.
Prior to the 2011-12 season, the entire Huntsman Center playing floor was replaced. A new, $1.3 million scoreboard was installed in the fall of 2007. The new scoreboard features an LED ring by Optotech around the bottom and four LCD video screens, which provide brighter, clearer pictures than ever before seen in the Huntsman Center. The scoreboard also features a player stat board and is 1.5 times bigger than its predecessor.
The locker rooms have also been renovated in recent years. The project was funded in part by donations from former Ute All-Americans Andrew Bogut and Andre Miller totaling $325,000. The Ute men's and women's basketball teams have new team rooms with double the space of their old locker rooms, separate dressing areas and players' lounges.
Long recognized as a site of championships, the Huntsman Center ranks third among the nation's arenas for the most NCAA men's basketball tournament basketball games hosted, with 81 games having been played in the facility. The JMHC played host to the 1979 NCAA Basketball Championship "Dream Match-Up" featuring Indiana State's Larry Bird and Michigan State's Magic Johnson--deemed one of the most successful Final Fours ever held. The men's NCAA regional tournament came to the Huntsman Center twice (1971 and 1981). The first and second rounds took place in the arena 13 times (1984, '85, '87, `88, `89, `90, `91, `93, `95, `97, 2000, `03 and '06). The JMHC has hosted the NCAA women's basketball first and second round games twice (2001 and 2011).
Also a famous gymnastics venue, the Huntsman Center has hosted nine national gymnastics championships, 13 regional championships and the 1993 World University Games Trials.
Over six million fans have watched the Utes in the Huntsman Center, which serves as the largest arena in the Pac-12. Eight of the top 10 yearly attendance marks in the building's history have come since 1990. The Utes enter the 2013-14 season with a 532-138 (.794) all-time record in the facility and have posted winning records in 38 of the last 39 seasons, including eight undefeated seasons, at home. Utah's 500th win in the building came on Dec. 6, 2008, as the Utes posted a 91-61 blowout of eventual SEC champion LSU. In conference home games the past 19 years, Utah is 124-38 (.765).
The Utes have one of the best home court advantages in the country in the Huntsman Center. Utah has won nearly 86 percent of its games (452-74) in the facility, ranking eighth among active arenas in Division I. The Utes have had nine seasons without a loss at the Huntsman Center and posted a 28-game home winning streak that lasted from Jan. 12, 1995 to Feb. 8, 1997. When the string of victories ended, it was the third-best home court winning streak in the nation.
The Utes did not lose a regular season home meet for 23 years, spanning from Feb. 20, 1979 through Jan. 10, 2003. It is the longest home win streak for any NCAA sport. The 170-meet streak ended against eventual NCAA champion UCLA. Every national gymnastics power has lost to Utah in the JHC - among them Georgia, Alabama, UCLA, Michigan, Florida, Nebraska, LSU, Arizona State, Arizona, Oregon State, Stanford and BYU. Including postseason competition, Utah's all-time home record is an amazing 378-20.
Every NCAA gymnastics attendance record has been set in the John M Hunstman Center, including the two largest crowds ever to watch a collegiate gymnastics meet (15,477 and 15,238). Utah has won 24 of the last 27 gymnastics attendance championships and has averaged 10,840 spectators a meet in the Huntsman Center since 1992.
The Utah volleyball team opened its Pac-12 home schedule against No. 6 Stanford in the Huntsman Center on Sept. 20, 2012 and will call the JHC its permanent home beginning in the fall of 2013. The Utes held the statistical advantage over the Cardinal in hitting, team blocks and service aces, but fell in a four-set decision in front of 2,218 fans in the first volleyball match in the Huntsman Center since hosting BYU on Oct. 1, 1993.