Pit of Prestige
McArthur Court holds a prominent role in athletics at Oregon. Named after, Clifton (Pat) McArthur, a 1901 alum of the University and the school’s first student-body president, McArthur Court is the second oldest on-campus gym in the country. Original plans for McArthur Court were drawn up in 1919 when enrollment skyrocketed following the end of World War I.
On January 14, 1927, the first basketball game took place in McArthur Court. The Oregon men defeated Willamette College 38-10. Originally equipped to hold 6,000 seats, the facility underwent a series of additions from 1934-1953, bringing its capacity up to 7,600. The growth of McArthur Court paralleled the increasing popularity of basketball at Oregon. In 1939, the University of Oregon men’s basketball team won the first NCAA Championship, beating Ohio State 46-33.
As Oregon became a leader in the Pac-10 Conference, the need to expand the facilities grew. Capacity peaked at 10,063 and then leveled off at its current 9,087. A new roof was added in 1996 for approximately $1.7 million, making the arena suitable for continued play.
Originally called the “Igloo,” Mac Court is widely known now as “The Pit,” nicknamed for its intimate setting and intimidating atmosphere. Today, the University has plans to create a new arena at an alternative site. A definite symbol of the rich tradition of athletics on campus, McArthur Court will continue to echo competition throughout its balconies regardless of whether or not a new arena is established.