Dean E. Smith Center
Carolina basketball plays its home games at the Smith Center, one of the most recognized athletic venues in America. The Smith Center became the home of the Tar Heels in 1986 and has since become a cherished traditional symbol of Carolina basketball.
Dean E. Smith Center
Carolina basketball plays its home games at the Smith Center, one of the most recognized athletic venues in America. The Smith Center became the home of the Tar Heels in 1986 and has since become a cherished traditional symbol of Carolina basketball.
Dean E. Smith Center
Carolina basketball plays its home games at the Smith Center, one of the most recognized athletic venues in America. The Smith Center became the home of the Tar Heels in 1986 and has since become a cherished traditional symbol of Carolina basketball.
Dean E. Smith Center
Carolina basketball plays its home games at the Smith Center, one of the most recognized athletic venues in America. The Smith Center became the home of the Tar Heels in 1986 and has since become a cherished traditional symbol of Carolina basketball.
Dean E. Smith Center
Carolina basketball plays its home games at the Smith Center, one of the most recognized athletic venues in America. The Smith Center became the home of the Tar Heels in 1986 and has since become a cherished traditional symbol of Carolina basketball.
PROFILE
Directions
PARKING
POLICIES & SERVICES
CAPACITY
OPENED
NAMED FOR
LOCATION
21,750
January 1986
Coach Dean E. Smith
300 Skipper Bowles Dr. Chapel Hill, NC 27514

PLAN YOUR VISIT TO THE SMITH CENTER

The Smith Center is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. except on event days and during basketball practices. Guided tours are not provided but visitors are allowed on the concourse level only and may view the banners and playing court from the seating area. Visitors are not to access the court level at any time.

As the Smith Center hours may change periodically due to the event schedule, please plan ahead and call the Smith Center Administrative Office at 919-962-7777 no earlier than one month prior to visiting to make sure the building will be open. The Smith Center closes annually in late July through August for yearly maintenance.

The Carolina Basketball Museum in the adjacent Ernie Williamson Athletics Center is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Please check the museum website for hours on football and basketball game days.

Admission to both the Smith Center and the Carolina Basketball Museum is free.

Location: 300 Skipper Bowles Dr., Chapel Hill, NC 27514.

HISTORY

Carolina basketball plays its home games at the Smith Center, one of the most recognized athletic venues in America. The Smith Center became the home of the Tar Heels in 1986 and has since become a cherished traditional symbol of Carolina basketball.

The Tar Heels have been in the top five in the national attendance leaders every year but one since the Smith Center hosted its first full season in 1986-87.

The first game in the Smith Center featured No. 1 Carolina defeating No. 3 Duke, 95-92, in a battle of unbeaten teams on Jan. 18, 1986. The first Tar Heel basket was scored by Carolina center Warren Martin off a pass from Kenny Smith.

The Tar Heels have a 143-18 record in the Smith Center in Roy Williams’ nine years as head coach. Dean Smith led the Tar Heels to a 133-17 record (.887) in the building that bears his name.

RECENT RENOVATIONS

The Smith Center has undergone a number of improvements to keep it on the cutting edge of basketball arenas. The building has added a new ribbon board surrounding the court for the 2012-13 season.

The men’s basketball offices were completely renovated and expanded in 2010, while the team’s varsity hallway also received a facelift.

The arena’s lights and sound system were replaced and the training, weight and equipment rooms were expanded and renovated for 2009-10. A hydrotherapy room was added for the 2008-09 season.

In January 2008, the Carolina Basketball Museum opened in the new Williamson Athletics Center, adjacent to the Koury Natatorium. For photos and information about the museum, see GoHeels.com/Museum.

In 2006-07, the seats in the lower level and upper level ring were replaced. The playing floor was completely refinished and refurbished for the 2007-08 campaign.

Four high-resolution video boards were installed for the 2005-06 season. The boards measure 17.8 feet x 23.6 feet. At the same time, two 50-foot ribbon boards were added to the fascia around the upper level and a 40-foot video board was added to the front of the scorer’s table.

In 2000-01, a standing-room-only section reserved for students opened on the baseline closest to the Carolina bench. The Rams Club funded a $150,000 renovation that allowed approximately 400 students to move courtside.

In May 1980, the Department of Athletics, in conjunction with the Educational Foundation, embarked on a mission to raise millions of dollars from private donations to construct an arena. The real inspiration for the fund-raising effort came from the campaign chairman, the late Hargrove “Skipper” Bowles.

Six years, 2,362 donors and over $34 million later, the premiere basketball arena in America became a reality. Dedicated in September 1986 as the Dean Edwards Smith Center, the 300,000-square-foot structure stands on seven and one-half acres of the University’s south campus. Over 20,000 cubic yards of rock were removed to make room for the 340-foot-wide, 380-foot-long and 140-foot-high building.

Smith Center
Smith Center
Smith Center

FROM VIRGINIA AND POINTS NORTH Take I-85 South to Durham, NC. Exit left at US 15-501 in Durham and follow 15-501 approximately 9 miles to Chapel Hill. Once in Chapel Hill, maintain US 15-501 Bypass (Fordham Boulevard). At around the 7th stoplight, turn right onto Manning Drive. The Smith Center is one-half mile on the left on Skipper Bowles Drive.

FROM POINTS WEST Take I-85 North towards Durham. Exit just past Burlington onto NC 54 East (Exit #148, Chapel Hill Exit). Follow NC 54 for approximately 20 miles to Carrboro. Pass Carrboro Plaza on the right and stay on NC 54 for about 4 miles to the next stoplight, Manning Drive. Turn left on Manning Drive. The Smith Center is one-half mile on the left on Skipper Bowles Drive.

FROM POINTS EAST Take I-40 West toward Chapel Hill. Exit at NC 54 West (Exit #273 A) and follow for approximately 4 miles. Once in Chapel Hill, continue to follow signs for NC 54 West, which means you will have to exit right under first overpass. At the top of the exit turn right at light. Follow NC 54 West/15-501South until the 2nd stoplight. Turn right onto Manning Drive. The Smith Center is one-half mile on the left on Skipper Bowles Drive.

FROM POINTS SOUTH Take US 15-50 North toward Chapel Hill. Exit right onto US 15-501 Bypass in Chapel Hill. Turn left at first stoplight onto Manning Drive. The Smith Center is one-half mile on the left on Skipper Bowles Drive.


View Larger Map

EVENT SHUTTLE SERVICE

For select Smith Center events, Chapel Hill Transit will run Tar Heel Express shuttle buses. Service starts 1.5 hours before the scheduled start of an event. Buses operate from 2 or more of the following locations (call 919-969-4900 for specific lots for your event). The one-way fare for the shuttle is $3.00 and $5.00 for round-trip. Return trips begin immediately after each event and continue for about 30-40 minutes.

Jones Ferry: Jones Ferry Road heading toward university lake from NC 54

Route 54 East: Park and Ride Lot adjacent to the Friday Center

Route 15-501 South: Southern Village Park and Ridge lot (between Culbreth and Dogwood Acres Roads)

Route 15-501 East: University Mall at Estes Drive

For more information concerning upcoming events, you can call the 24 hour Special Events Information Line at 919-962-3951 or check out the website here. PARKING Limited parking is available on-site during special events, while during basketball games, all lots surrounding the Smith Center are reserved. During Smith Center events, traffic around the Center will be restricted. During weekday events, Skipper Bowles Drive will be closed to thru traffic starting at 6:00pm. A parking fee is charged per car and may vary from event to event, but are typically as follows:

  • Automobile Parking $10.00
  • Limousine Parking $20.00
  • Bus and Large RV Parking $40.00
  • RV Parking off-campus after 5 p.m. on weekdays and weekends only (Free at the Friday Center Park and Ride Lot)

DISABILITY PARKING

Disability parking is available on a first-come, first-serve basis in the Rams Head parking deck on Ridge Road. Bus transportation to the Smith Center from the designated handicap parking area is available before events. For safety reasons, transportation to the parking area after an event is available only after most of the arena is vacated.

POLICIES

NO SMOKING: Per UNC policy, smoking is not permitted in the Smith Center or within 100 yards of any University building.

ALCOHOL AND WEAPONS: Bringing intoxicating beverages and/or weapons into the Smith Center at any time is prohibited.

CAMERA/VIDEO EQUIPMENT: Video cameras, audio equipment and cameras with professional lenses larger than 55mm are prohibited at all times. Small point-and-shoot cameras and cameras with lens in the range of 50-55mm are allowed at Carolina basketball games. Flash photography is not allowed. Some non-basketball events allow cameras, so please call 919-962-7777 to see if your event applies. NO LASER POINTERS.

ANNOUNCEMENTS: PA announcements will be used only in the event of emergencies. Contact an event operations staff member with your needs.


USHERS: Ushers will be located at each entrance to the reserved seating area to assist you with your seating or with any other needs.

FOOD/CONCESSIONS: Concession stands are located around the concourse and offer a wide variety of snacks, hot foods and beverages. Alcohol is neither sold nor permitted in the Smith Center.

TEAM YEARBOOKS: Carolina team yearbooks are sold at all concession stands and at various other locations along the concourse during the game.

RESTROOMS: Four restrooms each for men and women are located on the concourse level of the arena.

POLICE: UNC Police is onsite from the time the doors open until the event has ended. Please contact event security or an usher if you need assistance.

FIRST AID: First aid is located at Entrance C. South Orange Rescue Squad units are on duty at each event.

LOST AND FOUND: Lost and Found is located at Entrance B during the event. After an event is over, found items will be turned over to the UNC Public Safety Department the following day.

ATM: ATMs are available on the concourse. The Smith Center is not responsible for any transactions.

Carolina basketball plays its home games at the Smith Center, one of the most recognized athletic venues in America. The Smith Center became the home of the Tar Heels in 1986 and has since become a cherished traditional symbol of Carolina basketball.

In the fall of 2001, the UNC locker room and weight room were completely renovated. A new media center was built and the Bowles Room and Educational Foundation offices were retrofitted to include a practice gym that will allow added scheduling flexibility.

Dedicated in September 1986 as the Dean Edwards Smith Center, the 300,000-square-foot structure stands on seven and one-half acres on the University's south campus. Over 20,000 cubic yards of rock were removed to make room for the 340-foot-wide, 380-foot-long and 140-foot-high building. The first game featured No. 1 Carolina beating No. 3 Duke, 95-92, in a battle of unbeatens on Jan. 18, 1986. The first basket was scored by Carolina center Warren Martin off a pass from Kenny Smith. Since that first game, the Smith Center has been the site of many memorable moments in Tar Heel history.

Recent Renovations
The Smith Center has undergone a number of improvements to keep it on the cutting edge of basketball arenas.

The men's basketball offices were completely renovated and expanded prior to the 2010-11 season while the team's varsity hallway also received a facelift.

The arena's lights and sound system were replaced and the training, weight and equipment rooms were expanded and renovated for 2009-10. A hydrotherapy room was added for the 2008-09 season.

In January 2008, the Carolina Basketball Museum opened in the new Williamson Athletics Center, adjacent to the Koury Natatorium. For photos and information about the museum, see CarolinaBasketballMuseum.com.

In 2006-07, the seats in the lower level and upper level ring were replaced. The playing floor was completely refinished and refurbished for the 2007-08 campaign.

our high-resolution video boards were installed for the 2005-06 season. The boards measure 17.8 feet x 23.6 feet. At the same time, two 50-foot ribbon boards were added to the fascia around the upper level and a 40-foot video board was added to the front of the scorer's table.

 Smith Center
Smith Center
Smith Center

As a multi-purpose facility, the Smith Center has played host to a wide range of athletic events and concerts. In 1987, U.S. Olympic Festival basketball attracted a Smith Center record crowd of 23,713 for the gold medal game. In 1988, the venue served as the site of the first and second rounds of the NCAA East Regional. In 1994, the Smith Center hosted the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, attracting a three-day total of over 60,000 fans.

Kenny Rogers staged the first concert in the arena on April 12, 1986. Other entertainers to perform here included the Grateful Dead, Bon Jovi, John Denver, Bruce Springsteen, Guns N' Roses and Elton John. Adjacent to the Smith Center is the Maurice J. Koury Natatorium. One of the finest and fastest swimming facilities in the country, the natatorium features an eight-lane, 50-meter pool. The Smith Center and Koury Natatorium also host such community activities as the commencement ceremonies for several area high schools, American Cancer Society Swim-for-Life, the School of Social Work gala, the Chancellor's Club gala, the Kenan-Flagler Business School Dedication, University Blood Drive, University Career Fairs, December Commencement Exercises and May Commencement Exercises. Thousands of school children visit the Smith Center annually.

Koury Natatorium also is open to faculty, staff and townspeople for a designated period each weekday for a Master's Swim program, and both facilities have been used annually for the North Carolina High School Athletic Association championships.


UNC North Carolina Facilities


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