62 Years of Alumni Gym

The Alumni Association's Delayed Gift to the Rattlers

When Alumni Gym was first proposed, no one expected construction to last nearly a decade.

A dirt floor welcomed visitors when Alumni Gym first opened its doors in 1938. Designed as a multi-use facility, the St. Mary’s College Alumni Association first proposed the building in 1927, the year of St. Mary’s diamond jubilee. Then in its twenty-fifth year, the Alumni Association sponsored a financial campaign to build the gymnasium, intending to provide students’ with proper athletic facilities. A committee attained the proper funds to begin construction in 1928. Architect, Leo Dielmann, drafted the blueprints and contractors Falbo and Guido began construction. The students of the 1928-1929 school year waited in anticipation for the new gymnasium to open. Unfortunately, the gymnasium never opened during their schooling at St. Mary’s. The gym remained closed for nearly a decade, seeing several students come and go without stepping foot into its dirt floor.

While construction began in March of 1929, the gym remained unfinished for almost ten years. The Great Depression hit St. Mary’s University as hard as the rest of the country, and so the University delayed construction on the Alumni Gym several times. Finally, in 1938, St. Mary’s officially opened Alumni Gym by hosting its first basketball game. On February 22, 1938, the crowd filled the 1,500 seats gym to watch the Rattlers play against West Texas State Teachers College. The Rattlers lost 33-38. Despite the loss, the Alumni Association’s dream of providing Rattlers with a proper facility for athletic events soon became a reality.

Alumni Gym housed many memorable games and events throughout the years. Rattlers celebrated Homecoming events, pep rallys, and “Campus Carnivals” in the gym. It even housed the “Great Codonas,” a flying trapeze troupe during their winter training sessions. Celebrated authors, such as Erskine Caldwell, and former alumni, such as Edward A. McDermott, director of Emergency Planning for President Kennedy, held speeches within the gym. Coach Buddy Meyer, a St. Mary’s alumni, led the Men’s Basketball team to several milestones in Alumni Gym. On March 8, 1989, the Men’s Basketball team beat Texas Wesleyan 74-60. With this victory, the Rattlers qualified for the NAIA National Championships, which they won later that year. After many memories and victories celebrated within the gym, Rattlers prepared to say goodbye to Alumni Gym at the turn of the century.

A new gym adjacent to Alumni Gym began construction in 1999 with a completion date of late 2000. As Alumni Gym’s history came to a close, the Rattlers gave it a proper sendoff with various victories. On February 26, 2000, the Men’s Basketball team said goodbye to Alumni Gym by defeating Texas Lutheran University in the final home game of the 1999-2000 season. The Women’s Volleyball team won all nine home games that season and won the Heartland Conference Volleyball Championship. The Women’s Basketball officially wished their goodbye to Alumni Gym by defeating Southwestern Baptist University on November 21, 2000. With all these victories, the Rattlers honored Alumni Gym for its 62 years of service to St. Mary’s University.

At the beginning of the fall 2000 semester, the Rattlers started a new chapter for St. Mary’s. The new Bill Greehey Arena of the Alumni Athletics and Convocation Center officially opened with the Men’s Basketball team defeating Texas A & M on November 27. The new gym seats 3,500 people at capacity, more than twice the amount of people that could fit in Alumni Gym.



Alumni Gym Audio Tourwav / 28.93 MB Download


To the north of Bill Greehey Arena and Alumni Convocation Center.