For the last forty-one years this hallowed hall has been the home for the Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers. Named in honor of legendary Hall of Fame coach Edgar Allen Diddle, Diddle Arena is widely recognized as one of the true treasures in the world of college basketball. Dedicated on Dec. 7, 1963, this wonderful building has hosted some of the finest players and teams ever to play in the college ranks. Originally designed to seat 8,500 fans, the seating capacity has fluctuated over the years and by 1970 the arena had been adjusted to hold 13,508. In 2004 a $32 million renovation was completed which reduced seating capacity to around 7,500 but transformed the arena back into one of the most impressive in the nation with facilities second to none.Complete with 16 luxury suites, all cushioned chairback seating, two giant Pepsivision video screens, a new playing floor and stunning men's and women's basketball facilities that are as impressive as any to be found in any arena, Diddle Arena is once again one of the true treasures in the world of college basketball.
Some of the
record crowds that the arena has hosted include 14,277
fans for a 1971 battle against former OVC arch-rival
Murray State; 13,000 for the 1984 Wendy's Classic Final
versus La. Tech and All-American Karl Malone; and 13,300
for a 1986 showdown with former Sun Belt rival UAB.
Few places in college basketball are more formidable than Diddle Arena when Topper fans pack the seats and "will" the Tops on to victory. This fact is shown by their 77.8% winning percentage over the 41 years that the facility has been in existence! Needless to say, many a team has exited Diddle Arena more than a tad disappointed. From the 1965-66 season to the 1970-71 season, the Topper's home record was an amazing 67-2!! Even in the few down years that the program has witnessed, rarely does a Topper team end the year with a losing record at home. Diddle Arena is a special place, and anyone that has witnessed its magic can attest to that.
Diddle envisioning the future)
(Photo by Thomas Hughes)