University of Southern Indiana

The Eagles Have Landed

By C. L. Stambush and Dana Tang ’17 M’19

Phase I of the Screaming Eagles Complex — which includes the newly constructed Arena — was a long time coming, but its completion reflects the significant support and confidence USI has in its athletic teams and programs. The 90,000-square-foot arena has 4,800 seats, four box seats, three basketball and three volleyball courts, a spirit store, three concessions stands and more. Phase II, currently under way, includes a 25,000-square-foot Aquatic Center with a diving well, eight competitive and two warm-up lanes, and bench seating for 200 spectators, as well as renovation and expansion of the former Physical Activities Center (PAC), including additional instruction space for high-demand academic programs.

USI’s Men’s and Women’s Basketball and Volleyball teams have a new court now, but across the years the teams have had a succession of home courts that were anywhere but home. In the past 50 years, they’ve played at Plaza Park Elementary School (1968-1971), Roberts Municipal Stadium (1971-1974), Old Central High School Gymnasium (1974-1980) and the PAC (1980-2018).

Throughout the journey, USI’s teams have had champion players, coaches and you, the fans. Score yourself a seat and relive your own glory days at


YMCA Arena    roberts staduim    USI hyper

           Old Central High School Gymnasium         Roberts Municipal Stadium            USI's HPER

  • Plaza Park Elementary School’s gym was the site of USI’s first Men’s Basketball game. It was against Lockyear Business College on November 13, 1968.
  • Old Central High School Gymnasium (formerly the Downtown YMCA) basketball court was resurfaced and lengthened for college basketball to host USI’s games, and the interior repainted USI red, white and blue.
  • The PAC was originally called the Health and Physical Education Recreation (HPER) building, with a capacity of 3,300 (1980-2006) before being remodeled with all chairbacks to hold 2,278 spectators.
  • The first Men’s Basketball game at Central was against the Franklin College Grizzlies on December 14, 1974.
  • Roberts Municipal Stadium’s 13,000 seats didn’t intimidate USI’s 50 basketball fans who passionately and vocally showed up at games.
  • USI’s Screaming Eagles Arena is designed for games, with front-row seating 12 feet from the court’s action.

Quote: “There’s nostalgia for the old times and the old court, but we take pride in knowing we were a part of creating what’s coming.” Marc Hostetter ’97


usi spartans women's basketball  John Hollendar women playing volleyball  current fans

         The Spartans 1968            Women's Basketball      John Hollinden '8     Volleyball             Men's Basketball 

  • The Men’s Basketball team was originally called The Spartans (1968-1970) but was renamed the Screaming Eagles because many students were returning from Vietnam and the student body wanted a team with a patriotic name.
  • Center John Hollinden ’83 was USI’s tallest basketball player at 7’ 6.5” and set the USI record for blocked shots (363) that has stood for 38 years.
  • Four basketball players have broken the 2,000-point record: Stephen Jackson ’87, Chris Bowles ’94, LeAnn Freeland ’97 and Alex Stein ’18. Freeland was a scoring machine, leading the pack as the all-time scorer with 2,269 career points.
  • Forward Stan Gouard ’00 was nicknamed “Superman Stan” for his spectacular dunks and was NCAA II Player of the Year in 1995 and 1996.
  • Volleyball had just seven players on the team in 2000, yet they achieved the program’s highest winning percentage .875 (28-4).
  • Women’s Basketball teams have had three sets of twins players: Annetta ’96 M’03 and Jeanette Elkin ’95, Lora ’07 and Lydia Copelin, Becky and Janet Braun ’87. Volleyball had twins Amy and Angie Hughes.

Quote: “[John Hollinden] may not have dominated to some people’s standards, but he did for me. He was the main reason we went to two straight NCAA tourneys and he ended up making All-American.” Former Coach Wayne Boltinghouse


wayne boldinghouse   chancellor dugan  Bruce Pearl  ruth waller  Rick Stein 

Wayne Boltinghouse            Chancellor Dugan                   Bruce Pearl                 Ruth Ann Waller        Rick Stein

  • John Deem (1968-1970) was the coach of the first Men’s Basketball teams the Spartans and Jerry Altstadt (1970–1974) was the coach of USI’s first intercollegiate Men’s Basketball teams.
  • Wayne Boltinghouse jumpstarted Men’s Basketball (1974-1981) with the team’s first NCAA II Tournament appearance and win in 1978.
  • Bruce Pearl (1992-2001), the eighth men’s coach, delivered USI’s first national championship in 1995.
  • Ruth Ann Waller (1975-1985) established and pioneered women’s athletics at USI and was the first head coach for Women’s Basketball.
  • Bruce Pearl (1992-2001), the eighth men’s coach, delivered USI’s first national championship in 1995.
  • Chancellor Dugan (1991-1999) was a swimmer in high school, yet she turned USI’s Women's Basketball program into a national power, and was the second winningest coach in its history (159-73).
  • There have been 10 Men’s Basketball, six Women’s Basketball and 12 Volleyball coaches since 1970.

Quote: “Once you’re a champion, you’re a champion for life.”  Former Men’s Basketball Head Coach Bruce Pearl


James Douglas           1973 usi cheer team                   first archie

James "Champ" Douglas       USI's First Cheer Team      Current Fans         First Archibald T. Eagle

  • USI’s first cheerleaders hit the court in 1973. Seven tried out and four were selected for their grace, poise, loud voice, made-up cheer and gymnastic abilities.
  • There have been six evolutions of Archibald T. Eagle.
  • The student Red Zone fan section was formed in 2002 and renamed Archie’s Army in 2014.
  • Custodial employee James “Champ” Douglas was a huge fan who beat his drum at the games to inspire the Eagles and frustrate opponents. He was dedicated to USI for 31 years and walked from downtown Evansville to campus before there was reliable bus transportation.
  • The Varsity Club has raised more than $4 million for athletic scholarships since 1986.
  • Archie’s Army member Drew Deas ’18 would shout “Birds of the forest unite!” as a cue for students to make random squawks and caws during opponents’ free throws and volley serves.

Quote: “During the [Central gymnasium] games, the deafening noise of 2,000 fans reverberated off the walls, sounding more like 10,000.” Doug Claybourn ’77, communication, his family boasts three generations of Screaming Eagle fans.

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