In three seasons, the University of Houston Men’s basketball team will have had three home courts; the legendary Hofheinz Pavilion, TSU’s H&PE arena and the brand new Fertitta Center.
Historic moments for the University of Houston took place at Hofheinz Pavilion, an unbeaten home record happened at TSU’s H&PE arena and unparalleled anticipation occurs during the construction of the Cougars new home arena; The Fertitta Center.
“Legendary is a perfect word for Hofheinz. You had guys like Guy. V Lewis, Elvin Hayes, and Hakeem Olajuwon who made their mark on Hofheinz. That’s something that will never be forgotten.” UH Senior student and longtime fan of the basketball program, Soheil Nanjee has attended games in at both Hofheinz and H&PE, and will attend games at the Fertitta Center. However, he especially appreciates the iconic history of Hofheinz Pavilion.
To close things out in fashion, former Cougar and NBA legend, Elvin Hayes passed the ball to Rockets and Cougar alum Hakeem Olajuwon who dunked it one last time at Hofheinz. The dunk was the end of Hofheinz but the beginning of a new era.
In the midst of new construction, the Houston Cougars needed a temporary home for the 2017 season. Just down the street, Texas Southern University opened their doors to H&PE arena to serve as UH’s new “home.”
“TSU has an incredible arena and I was glad to call it our home court, especially since we didn’t lose a single game. TSU is also right next door so as fans, we didn’t feel out of place.” Nanjee reflects on the successes of the UH men’s basketball team and how the fans felt being “home.”
The team certainly felt good about playing at TSU and found their groove. The Cougars ultimately ended the season with an undefeated home record at H&PE arena. After a wildly successful regular season and an outstanding appearance in the NCAA Tournament, the Cougars and the entire student body anticipate what will come next season, aside from the $60 million budgeted Fertitta Center, of course.
“We definitely stirred up a lot of excitement around the city, so I think the curiosity of how [The Fertitta Center is] going to look and the fact that people know we are a good team now will boost the attendance of next season.” UH Guard, Galen Robinson expects the combination of the new arena and the allure of the Cougars successes to draw in even more fans for the upcoming season.
While construction has been nonstop since breaking ground, the arena is set to open up in December of 2018, right when the Cougars will begin conference play. There is a transformation video of the progress found here. The playing surface will be raised three feet and the seats will be closer to the action, Along with 2,000 new premium seats, new scoreboards, upgraded sound system and new locker rooms, fans and players alike are looking forward to the grand opening.