Written by: 
Jessica DeLeĆ³n

There's not very much the Super Pit hasn't seen in its 50 years.

Formally known as the UNT Coliseum, it has hosted numerous basketball games, some of which drew frenzied crowds as the Mean Green clinched conference championships. It's witnessed tears of joy as graduates received their degrees during commencement ceremonies. It served as the place for students to register for classes before technology made that system obsolete. It welcomed numerous celebrities from former President George W. Bush to Pearl Jam. And it sheltered 278 evacuees from Hurricanes Gustav and Ike in 2008.

It celebrated its milestone birthday March 27. On that date in 1973, it hosted a Denton Chamber of Commerce banquet featuring television star Art Linkletter. Basketball wouldn't be played there until November.

Decades later, it's proven to be one of the most versatile buildings on campus. "There's not a bad seat in the house and it's good for so many different things," says Steve Selby ('70), who was then business manager in the athletics department and later served as the Coliseum's director.

It was almost hard to replace the Men's Gym, which was tiny but earned the nickname "The Snake Pit" for its tight quarters and loud fan base. But the facilities had gotten out of date. The Super Pit, which cost $8 million to construct, boasted nearly 10,000 seats and modernized facilities.

Through the years, it's also hosted high school commencement ceremonies, the annual American Dance and Drill competition and other events. Most recently, the Coliseum received numerous renovations to the locker rooms, concourses and ticket office.

The timing was good with the basketball teams excelling and the Coliseum hosting WNIT and NIT games.

Tony DeSousa ('10), a stockbroker who lives in Frisco, has been a frequent Super Pit visitor. He caught the fever when the men's team beat Oklahoma State in 2007 and the students rushed onto the court.

"It's been a really crazy atmosphere," he says. "It's a good place to watch a game. It's loud and exciting."

(Above) The Super Pit in 1973, in a photo taken by the late Orrin Smith "Smitty" Kiker, who was a university news service photographer, journalism instructor and student publications photography advisor.

The Coliseum is often packed for commencement ceremonies, such as this one for the College of Engineering and College of Science in 2018. (Photo by Michael Clements)