A look back at Roberts Stadium

By Joe Danneman - bio | email 
Posted by Adam Thiele - email

EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - They say a house is not a home.

The old building, it's dusty seats a crammed concourse and stained concrete.

But it's those imperfections that make it perfect...the character that make Roberts Stadium the home of Aces basketball.

"It's a relationship. Much like you would have with an individual," Bob Clayton of the 1971 National Championship Aces team says.

"Roberts Stadium to us and the people who played for the University of Evansville, it's as though it's a person, it's not necessarily a building, chairs, floors and baskets. It's like a member of the family is moving on."

Built in the mid-1950s, Roberts Stadium witnessed some of the city's biggest moments such as Presidents Reagan and Obama giving speeches.

"From the smells, the spilled Cokes, the popcorn. You just remember all those little things that are so important to what we're about," former player Curt Begle says.

Now half a century old, the stadium several times changed its look.

New court side seats in the 90's and new court designs for each changing style.

"I grew up in a small town close to here and I still reflect back to coming to the games when they were the temporary bleachers, before they did the renovation," Begle says.

But what never changed is what makes Roberts special, a home to generations.

"The people. The fans, without a doubt. All the history and tradition of the great players, long before I played and the teams I played on, but more than anything, the city, the community, that's what made it super special to me," Aces men's basketball coach Marty Simmons says.

Big games in years past left an indelible mark on those who either played or watched.

"To see the crowd and to have 12-14,000 screaming people chanting 'Aces, Aces', just absolutely deafening," Clayton says.

"You've got a confidence, you've got a swagger about you at that point that 'this is my house and you're not going to do anything that's going to harm us in any way and we're going to kick your butt'."

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