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La Salle University unveils basketball arena project

09/27/2023, 3:00pm EDT
By Owen McCue

A long awaited facelift to Tom Gola Arena took another step forward on Wednesday.

La Salle unveiled the plans for its new arena renovation project — releasing renderings of the Explorers’ men’s and women’s basketball teams future home and also announcing that the arena will have a new name.

The project, which will be the first significant upgrade to the basketball facilities since the university turned Hayman Hall into Tom Gola Arena in 1998, will begin in full at the conclusion of the 2023-24 season, and the Explorers “will not miss a home game,” athletic director Ashwin Puri (who was introduced last month) said during a press conference.

Rendering of John Glaser Arena from baseline stands.

The arena will be renamed John Glaser Arena, in honor of the 1962 alum whose posthumous donation in 2013 spearheaded the fundraising effort and put a clock on the time frame for the renovation. 

It’s a bit of a shock considering Gola, who died in 2014, has long been synonymous with the Explorers. La Salle will continue to honor the legendary Explorers player and coach, who led the men’s program to its only national title in 1954, with the creation of Gola Plaza where the late legend’s statue stands as well as the renaming of the driveway/road entrance to the parking lot Tom Gola Way.  

John Glaser Arena, which will seat 3,000, will feature a 360-degree bowl design, replacing the high bleacher-style seating on both sides of the court at the 3,400-seat Tom Gola Arena. La Salle will also upgrade the facility’s video boards, audio system, lighting, and in-game production.

The Explorers’ arena has long been considered at or near the bottom of the Atlantic-10. It’s no coincidence La Salle has struggled to sustain success, posting just one winning campaign in the 10 seasons since a Sweet 16 run in 2013.

“A new building jumpstarts everything,” Puri told CoBL this summer. “The ability to recruit and making this a point in the recruiting process to show off our new gym, but it’s also the opportunity to show off new revenue streams, getting more people interested and becoming a crown jewel of our program, so it’s critical. Facilities are right up there with name, image and likeness and all the other things that go into recruiting too.”

Top: Rendering of overhead view of John Glaser Arena; Bottom: Rendering of sideline view of John Glaser Arena.

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