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  • Greg Venuto

Hynes Athletics Center – Iona Gaels

Photos by Greg Venuto, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.29

Hynes Athletics Center 715 North Ave New Rochelle, NY 10801

Iona Gaels website

Hynes Athletics Center website

Year Opened: 1974

Capacity: 2,611


Big Happenings In A Small Renovated Venue

Iona men’s basketball has always been a formidable force in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC). But the Gaels and ultimately the campus got a jolt on March 14, 2020, when Rick Pitino signed a 5-year deal to take over as head coach at Iona. It signaled Pitino’s second stint as a NY area coach after he resigned as coach of the NY Knicks on May 30, 1989. Pitino promptly led the Gaels to a 12-6 season and a first-round NCAA tournament appearance and recently earned his 800th coaching win.

But the best is probably yet to come for Iona and the Hynes Center as Iona stormed to a 10-0 league record this season.

The Hynes Center main gym is the home of Iona College’s volleyball, men’s, and women’s basketball programs. The Center underwent major renovations during the summer of 2019 and now features one main basketball court and two practice courts. The seating in the new Hynes Center consists of retractable bleachers surrounding the main court.

The renovations turned the court around as it now faces east-west and includes seating around all four sides of the court, state-of-the-art LED scoreboards, improved lighting and sound, and a new playing surface.

Food & Beverage 3

The one drawback is fans have to go downstairs for the concession stand and bathrooms. The small concession stand offers among other things: chicken fingers, hot dogs, tacos, sushi, french fries, pretzels, popcorn, and soft drinks. There are also 2 vending machines. Get down there early if you don’t want to miss any of the second half because the line is quite long. Hot dogs are $3, chicken fingers $4.50, Nachos Grande $7.50, Candy $2.50, 20 oz soda, Powerade or water is $2.50.

In the arena, there is a portable cart with drinks and snacks in between the courtside seats and the chair backs that is available during breaks in the action and halftime.

Concessions at Hynes Center, Photo by Greg Venuto, Stadium Journey

Atmosphere 3

Unfortunately on this visit, due to Covid and the students not being back from winter break the building was only about 60% full. It typically gets close to a sellout for Friday nights and when classes are in session. The team is undefeated at home (9-0) entering February and the rest of the games will be close to if not sold out.

The arena has 4 large LED boards in each corner of the arena that give real-time individual player and team statistics and provides highlights and replays. The sound system is solid and the PA announcements are clear.

Neighborhood 3

The area is safe and offers a number of restaurants within walking distance and there are more options in the New Roc City Area.

There is the long-standing Beechmont Tavern (since 1928), Mister Taco, The Mirage Restaurant, AJ Burger’s, Smokehouse Tailgate Grill and of course Subway and Dunkin within walking distance.

Fans 3

Iona receives good support from both alumni and students. While not a real raucous contingent, the Gaels have one of the better fan bases in the MAAC.

The school has an undergraduate enrollment of 3,000 so some interest from the city of New Rochelle and the surrounding area can only help.

Access 4

The campus is easily accessible. It is on North Avenue which is close to I-95 and the Hutchinson River Parkway and traffic is usually minimal. There is a Metro North and Amtrak stop at New Rochelle station which is just 1.2 miles from the gate. The campus is small and it is less than a 5-minute walk from the entrance to Hynes Center.

Return on Investment 4

All the seats offer a great view of the action. Students get free admission. Seats range from about $30 for a chairback seat to $20 for reserved seats along the sidelines with no backs. Seats behind the basket are general admission and sell for $15. Seats are $10 for children both baseline or on the side. The box office and arena open one hour prior to game time. There is a parking garage with free, yes free parking, a rarity these days even in college sports.

Extras 3

The Gaels have an MC who pumps the crowd up before the game and during time-outs. The dance team, founded in 1998, is well respected and appreciated by loyal fans.

Iona Gaels Dance Team, Photo by Greg Venuto, Stadium Journey

There is also a small Arogoni Hall of Fame (the redesign was made possible by a lead gift from Edward F. Arrigoni ’56) along the wall just to the right of the indoor entrance and a trophy case before the stairs leading to the concessions and bathrooms.

Final Thoughts

Expect Iona to become a hard ticket in 2022-23 as Pitino attempts to build a top 25 program. His goal is for Iona to be the East Coast’s answer to Gonzaga. If he moves them to a higher level Iona will get more recognition and the Hynes Center will be rocking for at least the remainder of his stay.

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