Dec. 13, 1930, men’s basketball 17-14 win over Carroll College
Volleyball and Wrestling
1450 Monroe Street
Madison, WI 53706
It’s a landmark building in a number of ways. From being listed on the National Register of Historic Places to the record-setting attendances and the momentous wins, the Wisconsin Field House is a memorable place steeped in a rich history.
The Field House currently serves as home to the volleyball and wrestling teams, but has been the site of numerous sporting events including basketball, boxing and track and field. It also hosted UW commencement exercises, carnivals and speakers, including John F. Kennedy.
Oct. 28, 1977
Wisconsin def. Michigan 2-0
The Badgers first competed in the Field House in 1977 when they hosted the Big Ten Tournament. UW didn’t return to the building until 1980, playing host to two tournaments. Wisconsin’s play in the Field House was sporadic until 1986 when it became the permanent home of the volleyball team. With the construction of the Kohl Center in 1998, the volleyball team took over sole possession of the Field House in the fall.
Wisconsin has made the building one of the finest volleyball facilities in the country. A new wood floor was installed in 2013, making the volleyball court the center of attention.
The locker room facilities include a team room for relaxing, studying and watching video, separate from the team’s home locker room. A complete renovation of the locker room area, including a photo display of Big Ten championship teams, was completed in the summer of 2003. The team room was remodeled in 2006 and features a large-screen projection television, leather sofas, pub table and chairs, and wireless internet access.
The renovation of Camp Randall Stadium in 2005 also included improvements to the north end of the Field House including updated restrooms as well as a new media room and opponent locker rooms on the lower level.
Other items in the building include the All-America wall on the west side of the building, featuring photos of the Badger greats, and the Big Ten championship and NCAA tournament banners handing over the playing court.
Fans also enjoy the full-service concessions stands and can shop for UW souvenirs in the Bucky’s Locker Room store in the facility.
The Field House serves as the competitive home of the Wisconsin wrestling team. Badger fans make the facility one of the loudest and most intimidating arenas in the country. Wisconsin has earned more than 100 All-America honors in more than 100 years of competition.
The facility is decorated with photos of Badger All-Americans as well as banners, hanging the ceiling, celebrating the UW's Big Ten championships and NCAA tournament appearances.
The Badgers practice in the adjacent Tom Talbot Wrestling Complex located in Camp Randall Stadium. Opened in 1996, the complex includes a spacious locker room, study rooms and 3,000 square feet of mat space.
The Lee Kemp Wrestling Room was made possible by gifts from former Badger wrestlers and pays tribute to every letterwinner that has passed through the Wisconsin wrestling program. In 2012, a new mat was installed and a weight room was added.
Field House Construction
The building was a project of former athletic director George Little. In 1927, Little proposed to the athletic council and regents the plan under which the Field House was to be constructed. The original layout included a $650,000 building to house both an indoor training facility for intercollegiate teams and the required program of physical education. The portion to be used for intercollegiate athletics was estimated at $385,000.
The intercollegiate section of the facility housed the men's basketball and boxing teams, and the wrestling squad. Its construction cost was approximately $434,000. The first game played in the Field House was on Dec. 13, 1930, when the Badger men's basketball team posted a 17-14 win over Carroll College. The official dedication game followed on Dec. 18, 1930, when Wisconsin downed Pennsylvania, 25-12.
From 1933 to 1960, Wisconsin established one of the premier boxing programs in the nation, claiming more team and individual national championships than any other collegiate program. The Badgers needed only six years to win their first of eight NCAA team titles under head coach John Walsh. UW added four runner-up team finishes and 38 individual NCAA champions before the sport was discontinued in 1960.
The Field House originally contained a basketball floor with a seating capacity of 12,000, a complete track facility and room for indoor football and baseball training. The football, track and field, and baseball teams moved to the Camp Randall Memorial Sports Center, better known as "the Shell", upon its completion in 1956.
The building was renovated in 1976-77 and again in 2009 when new bleachers were added to the west side of the building.
Did You Know?
- The Field House is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
- Construction on the Field House began in 1929 with the dedication on Dec. 18, 1930. Original capacity was 8,000 as the “Barn” was built without the upper balcony. The balcony was added in 1939, raising the seating capacity to 12,000.
- The facility had a dirt floor for many years and an eighth-of-a-mile cinder track circled the perimeter of the building.
- The Field House was the home of the UW boxing team from 1933-60, when boxing was an NCAA sport. An all-sport record crowd of 15,200 watched the Wisconsin vs. Washington State boxing match in 1949.
- Muhammad Ali suffered one of his few losses as an amateur boxer during the 1959 Pan American Games trials.
- Notable speakers in the Field House include then-presidential candidate John F. Kennedy in 1960, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Reverend Jesse Jackson, Bob Hope and the Dalai Lama.
- Other events held in the Field House include basketball, wrestling, concerts, carnivals and Native American pow wows