TUESDAY, JUNE 20, 2006
Jacksonville basketball returns Downtown

June 19, 2006

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Let the revival begin.

After a seven-year absence from the downtown scene, the Jacksonville men's basketball program will return to its place among the skyline as the Dolphins will play 11 home games at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena during the 2006-07 season.

The Dolphins called the old Jacksonville Coliseum home from 1970 to 1999 before moving all of their home games back on campus for the 1999-2000 campaign.

JU has played in the Arena twice since it opened in 2004, playing one game in each of the past two seasons.

"Playing our games in the Arena is important to building success and bringing our program back to the level that it is accustomed," said JU director of athletics Alan Verlander. "This move makes our home venue one of the best facilities in the nation. We bear the name of the city, therefore this move downtown is natural."

The Dolphins move to the Arena comes after JU served as the host institution for the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament in March, receiving rave reviews from all in attendance.

"My team and I are excited about moving our games to a state-of-the-art facility," Warren said. "It will help in numerous ways. It will help showcase our current players, help us recruit new players and get the Jacksonville community more involved with our program."

The women's team will also see time in the downtown venue as part of doubleheaders.

"For the first time in school history, our women's basketball program is going to have the opportunity to play downtown in the Arena," said JU women's head coach Jill Dunn. "It is a very exciting time for our program and just another example of what positive strides are being taken in our athletic department and at the University as a whole."

Jacksonville's first game in the Arena will be the JU basketball "Reunion Night" as the Dolphins rededicate the Arena as their home floor.

"We're excited about the Arena becoming JU's home court next season," said Robin Timothy, assistant general manager at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. "JU has an established tradition downtown at the old Coliseum and we're excited about the opportunity to bring them back downtown next season."