Jenison Field House

9 02 2009
  • 248 Jenison Fieldhouse
  • East Lansing, MI 48824
  • (517) 355-1610
  • Website
The entrance to Jenison Fieldhouse on MSUs campus

The entrance to Jenison Fieldhouse on MSU's campus

I wish my first visit to Jenison Field House was thirty years.  When I walked in to the building for the first time, the first and only thing I could think was, “I bet this place was loud.”  I knew of Jenison before I moved to Lansing.  Who hasn’t?  I loved watching the old clips of Magic Johnson in East Lansing.  I can only imagine what the place was like.  Sure, it’s huge, but those big cavernous ceilings had to make the place loud.

Jenison Field House is on the campus of MSU just off Kalamazoo Street.  It’s just a block or so from it’s replacement, the Jack Breslin Student Events Center (review HERE).  It’s a huge building.  At first, I was wondering how they would even do basketball, but figured it out after seeing the wrestling set up. 

Jenison was opened in 1940 and was the home to Spartan basketball until 1989.  The facility is now used for Women’s volleyball, gymnastics, wrestling, and indoor track & field as well as a practice facility for a number of MSU sports.  There is permanent seating in an upper deck that runs around the entire facility.  The surface is a multi purpose rubber which is used for track and field.  When other events are held in the Field House, a curtain is dropped to divide the arena into a smaller area and portable bleachers are brought in to fill out the empty spaces. 

Jenison Fieldhouse set up for wrestling.

Jenison Fieldhouse set up for wrestling.

I was in Jenison for a wrestling match between MSU and Michigan.  The way they set the space up was awesome.  I’ve been to a lot of schools that throw wrestling mats on the floor of their practice gyms.  Those gyms make you feel like you’re watching a high school match.  Jenison puts the athletes on a stage.  Watching wrestling at MSU makes you realize you’re not watching your paperboy compete because his daddy made him play a sport.  I talked to a few people who said they love watching wrestling at MSU just because of the set up. 

Surprising to me, but disappointing to some of the Spartan fans, the bottom set of bleachers was pretty full and there were a few people sitting in the upper deck, but some of the regulars didn’t think there was a very good crowd.  I’ve been to wrestling shows where there were a few parents who showed up and that was it. 

A concession stand at Jenison Fieldhouse in East Lansing.

Concession stands were set up behind the portable bleachers.  Typical arena food.  I noticed they did offer a couple of “meal deals” which included a hot dog or sandwich, chips, and a pop.  Like other MSU facilities, Jenison serves Pepsi products.  I almost bought a Pepsi just to get another one of those collector cups.  I love those things.  I use the two I have for just about everything. 

Jenison Field House is old, but what a history it has.  I would love to see a basketball game there every year….even if it is just an exhibition.  There’s a press box way up high that you have to use a catwalk to get to.  I spent half the day wondering which famous journalists had to make that walk.  Even in it’s prime, Jenison was only a 10,000 seat arena, so it’s not feasible to play basketball there now, but it’s a great facility for the sports that do play there.  It’s small enough that you don’t have to worry about playing in an empty, cavernous building, but big enough that you can still get a loud, rowdy crowd

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7 responses

9 02 2009
Corky

Every time I walk into Jenison I think the same thing…Magic Johnson played here…Amy said she was at MSU right around the time of the Jenison/Breslin transition took place and was able to see a few games at Jenison…Can you imaging MSU trying to recruit top-notch players in 2009 if Jenison was still the venue? The “pedigree” of the place is tremendous…

I’ve been to most of MSUs wrestling meets since I moved to Lansing in 2005 and continue to be disappointed with the support MSU wrestling receives…Coming from eastern PA–and being a big Lehigh University fan–I am accustomed to seeing crowds in the 5,000 to 10,000 range for wrestling meets, so seeing 1,000 people in the seats at Jenison, just kind of disappointing to see the lack of support…At least they were able to get a few cheerleaders there this year…Even Friday nights meet versus perennial powerhouse Iowa drew only 1- or 200 more fans than Sunday…

It was nice to finally have the opportunity to meet/talk to you for a few minutes also!!!

9 02 2009
Mid-Michigan Dining

Did you ever see Kurt Angle wrestle…before he was on TV?

Most of the wrestling meets I’ve been to have 500 specatators tops..and they’re in gyms that wouldn’t even be able to host a high school girls basketball game, so I thought MSU was pretty impressive.

It was nice to meet you too. J’s been on my ass for a year saying we should meet up sometime.

9 02 2009
Corky

I kind of feel bad for Coach Minkel because MSU just doesn’t support wrestling like it should…He came from CMU just an hour north and they ALWAYS have a nationally top-ten ranked program and have HUGE crowds…

I saw Kurt wrestle in PA a few times when he was still in high school…Probably 20 years ago…He was a monster even then…

Amy and I are always up for getting out, so if you and J ever want to meet up somewhere just give Amy a PM on Facebook…

26 02 2009
nateerickson

Haha, Magic said that Jenison was louder than the Breslin. As a current student section member… ouch.

26 02 2009
Mid-Michigan Dining

think of it this way…how loud would Jennison be today with the Izzone?

17 11 2009
Karen

There was nothing like Jenison in the late 1970’s, we loved Magic, Special Kay, Jay Vincent and the rest of the team. Students were issued A or B tickets so that more students could get in. We use to pass the ticket stubs out the window so other friends could see the games. It might say it only held 10,000 but I am sure at times there were many more students than that present.

26 04 2017
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