Whatever happened to ... St. John Arena
Throughout the day, we'll take a look back at iconic figures — one per school — from Big Ten's basketball past. The ninth installment:
Whatever happened to ... Ohio State’s St. John Arena
Then: Named for former Ohio State basketball coach and athletic director Lynn St. John, the building was the home of Buckeyes basketball from 1956 to 1998. During that time, Fred Taylor led Ohio State to a national championship and two other appearances in the finals. Countless stars went through the place, including Jerry Lucas, Gary Bradds and Jim Jackson. The 13,276-seat arena, located just north of Ohio Stadium, was built for $4 million. In 1998, it was replaced by Value City Arena, located a few blocks to the west. It cost $110 million and seats 19,500 for basketball.
Now: St. John Arena remains the home of Ohio State men’s and women’s volleyball, wrestling and men’s and women’s gymnastics. Because of scheduling conflicts at Value City Arena, it has also seen the return of Ohio State men’s basketball for a pair of NIT games. The most recent was a 2008 win against Cal. Ohio State went on to win the NIT title that season.
What they’re saying: “St. John Arena is entering its twilight, but there is still a sizable segment of Ohio State fans who still cling to its history and tradition. Now used primarily for wrestling, volleyball and gymnastics, it’s where Fred Taylor walked the sidelines and Jerry Lucas, John Havlicek, Gary Bradds, Bill Hosket, Jim Cleamons, Kelvin Ransey, Herb Williams, Jimmy Jackson, Mike Redd and, yes, even Bob Knight played some of their greatest games. Now St. John is an afterthought — even though it is part and parcel to the memories of so many Ohio State fans. Soon it will be replaced by a new building. But no one will ever forget the icons who were at their best there.” — Rusty Miller, longtime AP sports writer in Columbus