Location: 15th and North Virginia Streets, Reno, Nev.
Completed in 1983, Lawlor Events Center, located on the University of Nevada campus, has been home to Wolf Pack men’s basketball since its inception and to women’s basketball since the 1994-95 season.
Nevada has always had one of the premier facilities in its conference, whether it was the Big Sky, Big West or the Western Athletic Conference, which the Wolf Pack joined in the fall of 2000. The arena seats 11,536 in an oval configuration with every spectator enjoying a center-court line of sight. The seating capacity includes 60 seats mounted on the main floor, bringing fans nearly courtside on all four sides.
Named after Nevada’s legendary coach and athletic director Glenn “Jake” Lawlor, Lawlor Events Center was made possible by a grant approved by the Nevada State Legislature in 1979. Ground was originally broken in October 1981, and the construction project was completed on schedule for the grand opening on Nov. 4, 1983.
Originally built at a cost of $26 million, Lawlor Events Center has undergone periodic modifications and improvements. During the 1998-99 season, Lawlor Events Center unveiled a state-of-the-art electronic imaging scoreboard that allows fans to see highlights before each game, player pictures and stats, and includes two statistics boards at each end of the floor. At the start of the 1999-2000 season, in a never-ending effort to consistently modify the facility, the teams played on a new floor.
The arena’s capacity and the efforts taken to improve the facility made Lawlor the home of the Big West Conference men’s and women’s basketball tournaments from 1996-2000. It didn’t take the WAC long to tab Nevada for yet another championship tournament coming to Reno in 2005 and 2006. The WAC Tournaments return to Lawlor Events Center in 2009 and 2010.
The NBA has also chosen Lawlor to host exhibition games. So far, the Sacramento Kings, Utah Jazz, Golden State Warriors, Seattle Supersonics and the New Orleans Hornets have all played at Lawlor. In addition to the NBA, the Harlem Globetrotters have also played in the Pack’s den.
Lawlor Events Center, however, is far from just a basketball arena.
The facility has served as host to concerts and events throughout its history. Lawlor has been host to such sporting events as the Professional Bull Riding Association’s Bull-Nanza and concerts such as Fleetwood Mac, Cher, Bette Midler, Metallica, Prince, Yellowcard and Hilary Duff.
As a concert facility, Lawlor is capable of seating 12,000 spectators, and the arena can be changed in configuration or reduced in size to accommodate smaller acts or to provide a more intimate theater setting.
Also utilized extensively for conventions and meetings, Lawlor’s main floor provides accommodations for large convention exhibits and can be used for large group gatherings.
The arena’s meeting and convention complex, which was upgraded in July of 2002, includes a large foyer for receptions and registration for meetings and conventions. Eight meeting/ banquet rooms provide nearly 10,000 square feet of space, which can be easily divided into smaller rooms with fully-movable partitions and service access to all areas.
Each of Nevada’s basketball teams have locker rooms in the facility with two more opponent locker rooms and two smaller dressing rooms. Additional rooms are utilized for press conferences, educational/social functions, performer rehearsals, personnel briefings, storage for performers, and auxiliary dining, as well as housing for the facility’s executive offices.