The John W. Pope Jr. Convocation Center and Gilbert Craig Gore Arena is the home of Campbell Basketball. Dedicated on Oct. 17, 2008 and hosting its inaugural basketball games on Nov. 15, 2008, the 109,000 square-foot-building ranks among the finest facilities in the Big South Conference and the state of North Carolina.
The $34 million project includes 3,095 (all chair back) seats for basketball games at Gilbert Craig Gore Arena, in addition to a 1,200-square foot Presidential hospitality suite. Fans not only experience the excitement of college basketball, but are also entertained by state-of-the-art lighting, scoreboard, video and audio systems. For Convocation or graduation, the building will hold up to 4,000.
Through eight seasons, the Fighting Camels have truly enjoyed a home court advantage in Gore Arena. Campbell’s men own a 73-47 won-lost record (.608) on their home floor, including a 12-3 record in 2009-10 when they shared the A-Sun regular season title. The Campbell women produced a 76-37 (.673) record at the facility through the 2015-16 season, including a 13-2 mark in 2014-15.
For the first time in the league’s history, Campbell hosted the 2016 Big South Conference men’s basketball championship. With a total of 11,649 fans over five sessions, the 2016 Championship was the highest attended men’s tournament since CU re-joined the Big South in 2011-12. An average of 2330 fans attended each session, with 2991 – the sixth-largest crowd in Gore Arena history – witnessing Campbell’s game vs. Gardner-Webb.
In preparation for the 2016 Big South Championship, Gore Arena underwent major facilities upgrades, including the installation of a new four-sided, center-hung LED display scoreboard and video board, plus eight new LED courtside tables. In addition, a new paint scheme was applied throughout the building with updated graphic images and new Spalding basket supports were added.
The largest crowd to witness a Campbell home basketball game -- 3,220 -- jammed the 3,095-seat facility on Feb. 1, 2014 when CU hosted a nationally-televised game for the first time. ESPNU aired Campbell’s game against Coastal Carolina as its Big South Wildcard Selection broadcast.
CU made history on Nov. 23, 2009 when the Camels hosted an Atlantic Coast Conference school in men’s basketball for the first time on the senior college level. A sellout crowd of 3205 watched CU lead midway through the second half before the Camels dropped a 71-60 decision.
The Campbell women’s basketball team drew six audiences in excess of 2500, including a capacity 3,095 for the 2010 Education Day game vs. NC Central, through the first eight years in the building.
Locker rooms for the Campbell University men’s and women’s basketball teams each measure 1,400 square feet and include separate lounge/video review areas and coaches dressing rooms.
Dressing rooms are also provided for Campbell’s volleyball and wrestling teams, as well as game officials and visiting teams. The wrestling team also has use of a 3,500 square foot practice area, which more than accommodates two regulation mats.
The building includes a 3,000-square foot weight room devoted to Campbell University athletes. Additionally, Campbell’s basketball and volleyball programs also have the ability to work out at the same time, thanks to the 6,800 square foot Fred McCall practice gymnasium.
The 5,200-square foot Robert P. Holding Sr., Student Fitness Center, which includes cardiovascular equipment, weight machines and free weights, is a focal point of the campus. The Pope Center also houses 2,800 square feet devoted to the University’s exercise science curriculum.
Upon entering the building into the 3,700-square foot atrium, which houses the Campbell Sports Hall of Fame, visitors proceed up stairs (or an elevator) on both sides to the entrance of Gore Arena. The concourse level of the two-story building offers primary circulation of the seating area, concessions, rest rooms and other amenities. Both arena levels are fully accessible to individuals with disabilities.