Regarded as one of the top college arenas in the nation since opening its doors in 1969, the Jon M. Huntsman Center has provided an imposing home advantage for Utah teams. The storied venue is celebrating its 50th anniversary season in 2019-20.
Since opening its doors in November of 1969, the Huntsman Center has been the home to some of the greatest moments in Utah basketball, gymnastics and volleyball history, as well several NCAA Championship events. Commencements for the University of Utah and area high schools, concerts and numerous other special events have also taken place inside the 15,000-seat arena.
More than eight million fans have watched the Runnin’ Utes in the Huntsman Center, where the team is 603-150 (.801) all-time with winning records in 43 of the last 44 seasons—including eight undefeated campaigns. The Utes have averaged more than 12,000 fans at home three of the past four seasons. Utah ranked second in the Pac-12 and No. 24 in the nation in home attendance in 2015-16.
The Huntsman Center underwent a $6 million renovation in the summer of 2014. The original ceiling cloud was replaced with a super grid structure. Energy efficient LED arena lighting, which accommodates instant on and off, was installed. A new state-of-the-art sound system and ceiling mounted sound panels provided greater clarity. The project also included a draping system, offering a more intimate setting in the arena’s lower bowl for smaller events with seating for 8,400. In 2017-18, a newly-designed center-hung video display system, four new corner boards hung from the ceiling structure and four boards on the walls of the lower bowl, totaling $4.1 million.
The project also included a draping system, offering a more intimate setting in the arena's lower bowl for smaller events. New banners were hung to honor Utah's all-time greatest teams and retired jerseys, and a maple wood floor was installed with an updated graphics and color scheme. The locker rooms have also been renovated in recent years, funded in part by donations from former Ute basketball All-Americans Andrew Bogut and Andre Miller totaling $325,000.
Underground tunnels stretching 2,220 feet connect the arena with the four-building HPER complex, which underwent a renovation before the 2015-16 season. The $36 million project included the new Jon M. and Karen Huntsman Basketball Center, which houses the men's and women's basketball programs, and the Sorenson Legacy Foundation High Performance Center, a state-of-the-art sports medicine and strength & conditioning facility.
The Jon M. Huntsman Center has been long recognized as a site of NCAA Championship events.
In men’s basketball, the Huntsman Center ranks third among the nation’s arenas for the most NCAA Tournament games hosted, with 81 contests having been played in the facility. The JMHC played host to the 1979 NCAA Basketball Championship “Dream Match-Up” featuring Indiana State’s Larry Bird and Michigan State’s Magic Johnson.
The men’s NCAA regional tournament came to the Huntsman Center twice (1971 and ‘81). First and second round games took place 13 times (most recently in 2006).
Also a famous women’s gymnastics venue, the Huntsman Center has hosted a record nine national gymnastics championships—one AIAW and eight NCAA Championships (most recently in 2007). Utah has also hosted 14 regional meets (most recently in 2018) and two Pac-12 Championships (most recently in 2015).
Women’s basketball has hosted NCAA tournament first and second round games in 2001 and 2011. The NCAA women’s volleyball tournament visited the Huntsman Center for the first time in 2017 with the Utes winning the Salt Lake Sub-Regional.
Remodeled prior to the 2012-13 season, the Runnin' Utes former team room will now serve as its game day locker room. Former All-Americans Andre Miller and Andrew Bogut made contributions to upgrade the locker room in recent years. Some of the features include: