- Greg Venuto
McCann Arena – Marist Red Foxes
Photo Courtesy of Greg Venuto, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.00
McCann Arena 3399 North Rd Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Year Opened: 1977
No Fox Trot In Poughkeepsie
Marist men’s basketball has struggled in recent years as a member of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC). Since 2007-2008, the Red Foxes have enjoyed only one winning season. Marist joined the MAAC in 1997 and has not won a conference tournament title nor qualified for an NCAA berth in that time.
Marist does have a nice facility to host men’s and women’s basketball and women’s volleyball as McCann Arena is comfortable and inviting. The Arena opened in 1977 but was renovated 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 college is nestled along the banks of the Hudson River in Poughkeepsie, New York, a city of about 32,000 situated 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 fifth 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 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, 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 ($7), hamburger ($6), beef chili or Nachos ($4), hot dog and pretzels are $3 apiece. Pepsi products, 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 snacks, candy and drinks on the right side which is an option for people not looking for hot food.
The lack of students contributes to a lack of atmosphere. The Red Foxes are averaging just over 1,000 per game, but most of the crowd is either alums or locals.
On this visit, the band, cheerleaders and dance team put forth the energy but the crowd did not feed off their enthusiasm.
The fans did come to life in the final six minutes of the game and what was noticeable is how loud the arena can get when the spectators make noise. The added excitement helped the Red Foxes down the stretch as they were able to overcome Niagara in this contest. But the announced crowd was a disappointing 1,051 on a Sunday afternoon of a holiday weekend.
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 auxiliary scoreboards.
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.
Cosimo’s Trattoria and Palace Diner are two popular places withing walking distance of the stadium. 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 was only one third of capacity on this day, The seats on the side were about 60 percent filled but the seats behind the baskets were mostly empty. Behind the baskets are mostly bench seating with the exception of the basket Marist shoots at in the second half. During the renovation, six rows became chairbacks in two sections and four rows in the section 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 there were ample spots available for a Sunday afternoon game right next to the Arena.
The Poughkeepsie train station, served by Metro North and Amtrak, is 1.2 miles from the stadium.
Return on Investment 5
The chairback seating cost $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.
Just two miles southeast of the stadium, there a beautiful bridge for pedestrians and cyclists which spans the Hudson River called Walkway Over the Hudson 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 1984-1988 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.
McCann Arena is a nice location to take in a college basketball game. The experience offers family friendly entertainment with low prices and picturesque surroundings.