top of page
  • Writer's pictureMarc Viquez

Crawley Center – Lafayette Jefferson Bronchos


Photos by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.71

Marion Crawley Athletic Center 1801 S 18th St. Lafayette, IN 47905



Year Opened: 1975

Capacity: 7,200

 

Crawley Stadium is the Home of the Bronchos


The Crawley Center is the home of the Lafayette Jefferson Bronchos basketball team and is the 11th largest gym in Indiana. The seating capacity is 7,200, opening in 1969 and at a time when the basketball team was at its zenith.


It is named after Marion Crawley, who coached the team from 1942-1967. He led the Bronchos to two state championships and 23 consecutive sectional championships before retirement. After he stepped down, the team would extend that streak to 29 sectional championships, still a state record. Crawley had a 138-22 postseason record.


Since class basketball began in 1997, the school has captured only five sectional titles, and the crowds are low. However, the building hosts tournament games, including sectional and semistate matches. They bring out fans from all around the northern part of the state.


There have also been a few changes to the gym’s appearance. In 2022, the playing floor and bleachers were replaced, new LED lighting was installed, and the court was renamed after former player, coach, athletic director, and principal Joe Heath.  The court also features the three state championships won by the Bronchos.


Food & Beverage 3 


There are three main concession stands located inside the building. One is in the corner near the entrance, and the others are on the balcony level. The food here is typical of other high school gymnasiums: nachos, popcorn, hot dogs, chips, and candy. However, the hot dogs are inside warm, steamed buns.


The lines do get long for highly attended events and during halftime, but the crew makes sure to expedite orders in an orderly manner. Drinks are served fountain style in two-size cups that are from Wendy’s. 


Atmosphere 4 


Lafayette Jeff’s gym is large enough to host regional and semi-state games during tourney time in Indiana. When you can attract a large abundance of fans from two visiting schools to one building, the atmosphere is amped up quite a bit higher than expected.


There is also a lot of history from the school's past, including historic photos of team championships in the staircases, trophies on display near the entrance, and the old school gym that hangs proudly in the outer hallway. The championship banners are visible above the south end of the gym above the concession stand. 


The facility fills in nicely with fans from rival and tournament games, producing high decibels of noise. It is an exciting place to watch passionate fan bases painted in school colors, student sections near the hundreds, and the winning side burst upon the floor after a tournament victory.  


The new bleacher seating features red tops, and the bleacher seatings with back support offer a great view from behind the basket in the balcony section. There is also new LED lighting inside the building.


Neighborhood 4 


West Lafayette is the home of Purdue University, 2 miles away from the school. The Chauncey Village neighborhood features funky little shops and restaurants. Von’s Shops offers an impressive array of new and used books, clothing, and other items in an eclectic building and storefront.


A little further down the street is the famous Triple XXX Family Restaurant where one can enjoy a peanut butter burger or homemade root beer inside its small, cozy, and narrow booths.  If you are a craft beer fan, People's Brewing Company is located 3 miles north of the high school and is one of the better places for local beer in the state. 


Fans can also look at the Purdue schedule to see if the Boilermakers are playing at Mackey Arena or if there was a baseball game at Loeb Stadium, a mile and a half away from the high school. Across the street from Loeb is Arni’s pizzeria, known for thin-style pies and strombolis, and the Original Frozen Custard stand.


Fans 4 


The fans of the Bronchos and the visiting schools who make the trek to the MCAC for semi-state games make it quite the spectacle. The student sections are packed with synchronized cheers and chants, while older fans also show school spirit in support of various fashions, from team-colored wigs and face paint or by cheering as loud as they can. 


Access 4 


Crawley Athletic Center has two main levels, and access is simple to get up and down to all sections of seating. Concessions and bathrooms are marked, and aisles are wide and reasonably spacious. Crowds get large during halftime, and arriving at a game is easy as the facility offers a large parking lot.


Return on Investment 4 


A ticket will cost you $6 for a regular season game, while a regional or semi-state game will cost $4 more per ticket. Parking is free and ample, food at the concession stands is affordable and tasty, and when the venue is packed-the sound is deafening.


Extras 3 


One point for the old center court is on display in the arena. It is common in many Indiana high school gyms, but it's always a plus to see past artwork and design of Hoosier hoops past.


The gym received a second point for the recent renovations that have replaced the old wooden bleacher seats that were 50 years old at the time of their removal.  The court also honors Joe Heath, who took over coaching duties after Crawley’s retirement.


The gym earns a third point for the three rows of bleacher seating above each basket in the balcony area. The chairs offer back support and provide a comfortable experience watching high school hoops in Indiana.


Final Thoughts


The Crawley Center has never looked better. The recent renovations and new LED lighting have spruced that place up well, and in a town that offers plenty of things to do before and after the game. Sectional and semi-state tournament games are when the crowds are large, but any time would be ample to enjoy a game at Lafayette Jefferson High School.


------


Follow all of Marc’s stadium journeys on Twitter @ballparkhunter and his YouTube channel. Email at Marc.Viquez@stadiumjourney.com 

459 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Коментарі


Функцію коментування вимкнено.
bottom of page