The George Washington men’s basketball team played home games at Fort Myer’s Conmy Hall from 1956-1975, making the Colonials the rare Division I hoops team to play out-of-state home games. Or out-of-district, anyhow.
Here’s a slightly off-topic passage from a Ken Denlinger column in 1982, upon the retirement of then-AD Bob Faris, who helped get the Smith Center built:
You must understand GW basketball to totally appreciate that, how players and administrators for decades suffered because all that was available was an athletic eyesore known as the Tin Tabernacle. Out of bounds was a wall. Faris played there; somehow, the coaches he hired mostly won with the place as the primary practice gym, and Fort Myer as the “arena.”
In 1957, an aide rushed breathlessly into Faris’s office one morning to report a dramatic fire in the Tabernacle. Faris and the sainted basketball coach, Bill Reinhart, stunned the fellow by screaming at him:
“You didn’t put the son of a bitch out, did you?”
Fort Myer hosted all sorts of local college events in the ‘70s, in addition to GW games, but it clearly wasn’t ideal for the players.
“George Washington University’s basketball Colonials, homeless band of athletes for many years, have rediscovered their identity and their pride,” The Post reported in 1977.
“My biggest pleasure is playing at Smith Center, which we opened last year,” guard John Holloran told The Post then. “You have no idea what an on-campus field house means to those of us who had to go through the bus league, taking buses to play at Ft. Myer for every home game.”
But 35 years can turn something that was an annoyance into something nostalgic and awesome. And so GW announced on Tuesday that this year’s midnight madness “Colonial Invasion” will be back at Fort Myer, in that same old Conmy Hall gym.
“The men and women who serve our country are our heroes, and at George Washington we want to continue to show our admiration and respect for our servicemen, servicewomen, veterans and their families,” AD Patrick Nero said in a release. “This is a way for us to bring this fun event to them, while paying homage to our history at Fort Myer as well.”
The event, featuring both the men’s and women’s teams, will be held on Oct. 12. Read more here.