|Wooster's celebration after beating Capital in 1971. The win marked the Scots' first conference title in 19 years.|
Simply put for half a century, Timken Gymnasium has served as one of the finest small-college sports facilities in the country. Yesterday, details of a $5 million renovation were revealed. Today, it's time for a look back at a few of the big moments over the first 50 years of Timken Gym.
In just the third season since opening, a sellout crowd watched Wooster's men's basketball team top Capital University 87-81 on Feb. 20, 1971 as the Fighting Scots clinched the Ohio Athletic Conference Championship, the program's first conference title in 19 years.
Just over two years later, the Armington Physical Education Center (P.E.C.) was thrust back into the national spotlight as the College hosted the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women's (AIAW) fifth national intercollegiate volleyball championship. At the time the AIAW was the national association for women's varsity athletics, as the NCAA didn't start sponsoring national championships for women until the 1981-82 academic year.
Recent highlights include 30 NCAA Tournament home games for Wooster's nationally prominent men's basketball team, headlined by a 76-66 win over then-No. 1 ranked Whitworth University in the sectional final game during the Scots' run to the national championship game in 2011, and a 68-64 win over Ramapo College in 2003 when Wooster advanced to the national semifinals for the first time in program history.
Additionally, Timken Gym has served as the site for 16 North Coast Athletic Conference championship men's basketball games – of which Wooster has won 10 – and 44 men's basketball games between two of small college basketball's biggest rivals – Wooster and Wittenberg University.
On the women's side, Wooster's hosted four NCAC championship basketball games.
Large crowds are synonymous with Wooster basketball as the men's team has ranked among the top-20 schools in each year the NCAA has kept attendance statistics in Div. III. In fact, Wooster led the nation in total attendance with 29,171 spectators during the 2002-03 season, and again with 32,420 total attendance during the 2013-14 season. The Scots have finished second nationally in average crowd size six of the last 11 years, and have exceeded 3,000 fans 38 times over the past 27 seasons.
Outside of Wooster's varsity athletic teams, Timken Gym has hosted numerous other signature events. The Cleveland Cavaliers made their premier appearance at the facility when the NBA franchise took on the Buffalo Braves in an exhibition game in 1970. The facility welcomed one of the leading voices on today's cultural and political topics and the NBA's all-time leading scorer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in September for the College's annual Peter Mortensen Lecture, and the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters played here this past February in front of a capacity crowd.
Timken Gym serves as the inclement weather site for the College's commencement and has hosted numerous speakers and concerts over the years, including Michael Moore (2003) and the Beach Boys.