Starting in 1956, the “indoor” Texas Tech sports played their home games at Lubbock Municipal Coliseum. LMC served the Red Raiders well; many extraordinary teams called that arena home, including the 1993 Women’s National Championship team. By the 1990s, Lubbock Municipal Coliseum was showing it’s age, and plans were developed to build a new arena to house the Tech sports teams.
One plan called for an off-campus arena, to be named after rock and roll pioneer Buddy Holly, but that plan failed to meet Lubbock voter approval. At that point, Texas Tech began planning and fundraising for an on-campus arena.
Ground broke on the, then-named United Spirit Arena, in March of 1997, and continued until the fall of 1999. On October 1, the USA opened its doors for Red Raiders and Lubbock citizens to take a tour of the facility that cost a cool $63 million. The attendees were treated to a performance from the Goin’ Band From Raiderland, a commerative Coca-Cola bottle, and a first-hand look at the Spanish Renaissance design inspired building. That season’s Lady Raiders even kept up their winning ways in the new arena! They captured that season’s Big 12 Regular season conference crown! Since then many great Texas Tech moments have occurred at the USA. In 2014, United Spirit Arena was renamed the United Supermarkets Arena in a 10 year naming rights contract worth nearly $10 million.
In addition to hosting sporting events, superstar musicians like George Strait, Taylor Swift, Bon Jovi, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Britney Spears, and many more have brought their tours to the USA. Just as those artists commanded the stages, thousands of Texas Tech students have commanded the attention of their family and friends while walking across the stage for their graduation ceremonies, myself included. I don’t know about y’all, but anytime I can say that I have something in common with George Strait, albeit commanding the attention for 3 seconds compared to his 3 hour shows, I will say it!
Football season is just a few weeks away, and unfortunately, that means that this Texas Tech History Lesson Series will be coming to an end. I’ve tried to cover many of the major people, places, and events that have impacted Texas Tech athletics, but with only 2 entries left in this series I will not get to them all. Some of these may be favorite people, games, and moments of yours. All that said, I would like to pick a favorite impactful “thing” of one of the Viva readers. So if I have not chosen your favorite Texas Tech athletics “thing” in a previous entry either comment below or tweet me @ConnerCrisp with your choice and I will choose one of the VTM readers’ “thing”. Yes, I know that there is a certain moment against a certain team a few years back that has not happened been yet covered in this series, but as the old saying goes, I’m saving the best for last. GUNS UP!