McCann Arena – Marist Red Foxes
Photos by Greg Venuto, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.00
McCann Arena 3399 North Rd Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Year Opened: 1977
Red Foxes Looking To Make Tracks
Although Marist men’s basketball has struggled in recent years as a member of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC), the Red Foxes made an improbable run to the Conference Championship game in 2023. Top-seeded Iona turned back Marist 76-55 as the Red Foxes failed in their bid to make their first NCAA appearance since 1987. This season Marist was picked to finish 8th in the 11-team conference in the Preseason Coaches Poll, but the Red Foxes have opened with wins over Iona and Manhattan.
Marist is surviving without standout player Patrick Gardner of last year, who averaged 19.1 points and 6.6 rebounds while shooting 38.3 percent from three-point range and is now playing for the Long Island Nets (Brooklyn Nets affiliate) of the G-League.
Marist is fortunate to have a comfortable facility to host men’s and women’s basketball and women’s volleyball. The McCann Center opened in 1977 but was renovated and rebranded as McCann Arena in 2011 which gives it a modern feel. Marist’s best days were back-to-back NCAA appearances in 86 and 87 led by future NBA standout Rik Smits from Eindhoven, Netherlands. The Red Foxes, which joined the MAAC in 1997, have enjoyed only one winning season since 2007-2008.
Marist was founded in 1905 by the Marist Brothers, a Catholic religious institute, to prepare brothers for their vocations as educators. In 2003, it became a secular institution. Marist's 180-acre main campus overlooks the Hudson River and is situated along its east banks. Marist has a branch campus in Florence, Italy, and offers 50 semester or academic year abroad options.
Marist is situated in Poughkeepsie, a city of about 32,000 roughly 80 miles north of New York City. A left turn upon entering the campus will lead you to McCann. The building's namesake, James J. McCann (1880-1969), was a Poughkeepsie native and a strong supporter of Marist Athletics.
John Dunne, in his sixth year, guides the Red Foxes. Dunne, who has posted one winning season at Marist, is a MAAC lifer having previously coached 12 years at Saint Peter’s.
In 2011, an addition was built which connected the arena to the James J. McCann Center. Features of the facility include player locker rooms, player lounges, team film theater, coaches' offices, coaches' locker rooms, video editing rooms, conference rooms, a reception area, and a kitchenette.
Food & Beverage 3
The box office is on the right as fans enter the lobby of McCann Arena with a concession stand operated by Marist Dining Services with tables and chairs on the left side. The fare includes cheeseburgers, hamburgers, hot dogs, beef chili, sausage and pepper sandwiches, and pretzels. Soda, water, and Gatorade are also for sale.
On the right side of the lobby, there is the Marist Pro Shop selling everything from shirts and hats to golf bags. There is also a small stand selling alcoholic beverages and water. This is the first time Marist has sold alcohol at basketball games. The stand features beer (Miller Lite and Corona for $12), White Claw and High Noon for $10, wine for $8 a glass, and water for $3.
The Red Foxes need better student support to enhance the game day experience which is not easy considering the school has about 5500 undergraduates. Unfortunately on this visit, season ticketholders and alums had to supply the energy as Marist was on Thanksgiving break. The band, cheerleaders, dance team, and mascot are quite energetic and their enthusiasm was missed. There will be an in-game host for the remainder of the season to fire up the crowd and entertain during time-outs.
During the renovation, two 10’ x 15’ Daktronics LED video boards were installed in the Northeast and Southwest corners of the arena. The boards are clear but do not show replays and could show more statistics. The arena does not have any signage or ribbon boards.
Poughkeepsie is situated in Dutchess County between the Lower Hudson and the Capital District regions. The city is home to several major corporations including IBM and educational institutions including Marist, Vassar College, Dutchess Community College, and The Culinary Institute of America.
On this visit, Stadium Journey visited Schatzis Pub (202 Main Street) post-game in downtown Poughkeepsie. If you enjoy German food and beer this establishment is highly recommended. Cosimo’s Trattoria and Palace Diner are two popular places within walking distance of the stadium. The palace is open 24 hours. Double O Grill about 15 minutes away on Route 9 is a great place to eat and drink pre or post-game.
The building is typically only filled to one-third of capacity. On this occasion, the school was on break so the crowd was under 1,000. But the Red Foxes only averaged 1,037 per game last season. The biggest crowd last season was 1,738 for a Sunday afternoon showdown with Siena in January. The Red Foxes rely on residents and alumni to attend games while student support has lagged.
Marist Season Ticket Holders
The side sections feature chairback seats with ample legroom, while behind the baskets are mostly bleachers. The first six rows were converted to chairbacks in two sections and the first four rows in the sections directly behind the basket. The arena has 1,244 chairbacks.
The band, cheerleaders, and dance team are situated behind the basket that the opposition shoots at in the second half.
The best access to Poughkeepsie from the west is coming across the Mid-Hudson Bridge only two miles from campus. Traveling up or down Route 9 can be time-consuming with traffic often heavy and slowed by many traffic lights. The Taconic Parkway is about 20 minutes from the arena and traffic can be less burdensome coming in on Route 55. I-84 is about half an hour away. 84 East leads into Putnam County and eventually Connecticut. 84 West heads over the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge into Orange County. Parking is free on campus and typically there is no shortage of spots. The Poughkeepsie train station, served by Metro North and Amtrak, is 1.2 miles from the stadium.
Return on Investment 5
The chairback seating costs $13 and bench seating is $11 for adults. Children 8 and under are $8. Ticket and concession prices are a bargain and parking is free which is hard to find in the sports world today and welcomed during inflationary times.
The Red Foxes sold courtside VIP seats this year for the first time. The seats were formerly part of the press row and cost $500 a ticket for the season.
Just two miles southeast of the stadium, there is a beautiful bridge for pedestrians and cyclists that spans the Hudson River called Walkway Over the Hudson Historic State Park. It is the world’s longest elevated pedestrian bridge and connects Poughkeepsie (entrance at 61 Parker Avenue) to Highland. The span, a former railroad bridge that has been repurposed, is open from 7 am until sunset.
The Marist community is elated by the exploits of Rik Smits, the 7'4" center, who starred for the Red Foxes from 1984 to 1988 and was a first-round selection of the Indiana Pacers in the 1988 NBA draft (2nd overall). His Jersey No. 45 is retired. Smits is the school’s second all-time leading scorer (1,945 points). The other players to have their numbers retired are Drafton Davis (No. 3), Steve Smith (No. 12), and women’s star Rachele Fitz (No. 12). Davis played from 1984-88, and Smith from 1979-83 Fitz from 2006-2009. Fitz is the school’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder.
Smits and Smith Banners
McCann Arena is certainly worthy of a Stadium Journey. The sightlines are excellent, there is plenty of free parking and it is an affordable arena for family-friendly entertainment.