In addition to playing in college basketball's top arena, FedExForum, the Tigers have a world-class practice facility in the Larry O. Finch Recreational Facility, which is located on the University of Memphis campus.
The 31,000-square-foot center cost $3.2 million, and features a regulation court which runs east to west. With the removal of portable goals, the building can be divided into two north-south courts for intramural play. Besides the playing courts, the building features every amenity the Tigers could desire.
In the summer of 2000, the center's weight room was equipped with $50,000 of state-of-the-art weight and cardiovascular equipment through a generous donation from Memphis businessmen Richard Mercer, Harry Phillips and George Sneed, and every year since, the weight room has been updated with new equipment. With the renovations done in the summer of 2004, the weight room was moved courtside where players can work out just off the facility's primary practice court.
The players' lounge now occupies what was once the weight room, giving the Tiger players and coaches a spacious area to hold team functions. The lounge area features a big screen television and a pool table, along with several couches and recliners on which players and coaches can "lounge." Built into the main entrance to the lounge area are open lockers featuring uniforms and mementoes from former Tigers in the NBA.
The locker room has individual wood lockers along three walls. Adjacent to the locker room is a video room where players and coaches can watch game tape in preparation for upcoming contests.
The center's fully-equipped training room includes heat packs, electrical stimulation units, ultrasound, whirlpools, three treatment and two taping tables as well as a separate doctor's examination room.
Also, the classroom which overlooks the court has been transformed into a dining area for post-practice meals for the team.
A brick archway entrance was added to the front of the facility in the summer of 2008. It is the first step in establishing the Memphis Basketball Walk of Fame. The on-going project is turning the Finch Center's entrance area into a Memphis basketball museum, which will chronicle the Tigers' glorious basketball history.
In the summer of 2010, plans began to add more office/locker room space to the facility. The preliminary plans are to extend the center's upper level above the weight room area and enclose the weight room with glass walls.
The Larry O' Finch Center was dedicated Feb. 24, 2000. In Finch's three years as a player at Memphis, the Tigers recorded a 63-21 record and either won or tied for two Missouri Valley Conference championships. He scored 1,869 career points and averaged 26.8 points in the 1973 NCAA Tournament when the Tigers advanced to the national championship game.
Finch was named All-America honorable mention by both the Associated Press and UPI and was the 1972 Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year.
As a coach, Finch is the second winningest coach in Tiger history, posting a 220-130 record in 11 seasons. Under his leadership, Memphis advanced to the NCAA Tournament six times, including the Elite Eight in 1992 and the Sweet 16 in 1995.
There's never been a better time to be a Tiger fan. Ten-straight 20-win seasons. Ten-consecutive postseason tournament berths, including a trip to the 2008 NCAA championship game and back-to-back Elite Eight appearances in 2006 and 2007. A roster that features some of the nation's best collegiate talent. And, to top it off, Memphis fans are able to watch their beloved Tigers in the one of the country's best arenas, FedExForum.
The 2010-11 college basketball season will be the team's seventh season in FedExForum, and the Tigers have made the arena one of the nation's best homecourt advantages. In its first six seasons, Memphis posted a 110-13 record (18.3 home wins per season) for an amazing 89.4 winning percentage. The Tigers put together a school-record 47-game homecourt win streak at FedExForum from 2006-08.
Although nearing its sixth birthday in September 2010, FedExForum is a $250 million state-of-the-art arena that has the nation still talking. When fans come to a game at FedExForum, the excitement begins even before they enter the front doors. FedExForum features a 35,000 square-foot outdoor plaza where all fans enter the building. The plaza serves as Memphis' front porch, a gathering area for fans of all ages.
Once in FedExForum, fans are treated to an experience that is unparalleled in the college basketball game. In the arena, there are five levels with wide concourses, making navigating the building easy. There are over 100 points of sale for concession stands, meaning shorter lines. There are four full-service restaurants, with three offering service to Premium Seat Holders - Opus, a fine dining restaurant overlooking the court; Blue Note Lounge, where fans can get a cocktail and a light meal before or during the game; and the Lexus Lounge. The fourth restaurant, which is open to all fans just off the Grand Lobby, is Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 Sports Bar, a fun pregame meeting place with patio seating.
All of the food in FedExForum is offered by Levy Restaurants, the leader in sports and entertainment venue dining, and fans experience selection and quality beyond anything they've ever had at a sporting event. Memphis favorites such as Neely's Barbecue and D'Bos chicken wings are available, and fans can also satisfy their appetites with sushi, paninis, po' boys and just about anything else they could possibly want.
Once in their seats, the first thing fans notice is the massive video board. Designed by Daktronics, the center-hung scoreboard is the focal point of the system, providing fans with live video, instant replays and information on 10 large digital full-color displays, including four dedicated scoring sections. The scoreboard is one of the biggest in the country, measuring approximately 22 feet high by 38 feet in diameter. The unique design of the main center-hung scoreboard includes two 36-degree full-color rings of LED on the top and bottom of the scoreboard. Four additional video displays, in vertical configuration, flank the main video screens and dedicated scoring sections.
To complement the center-hung video and scoring displays, additional LED displays are prominently featured around the seating bowl. These ProAd® digital displays are used for a variety of purposes, including presenting exciting animations and graphics, statistics, scores and stats from other games, and interactive promotional messages from the team and its sponsors. One 360-degree ring of light encircles the entire seating bowl, mounted on the Terrace Level fascia. A second large display curves 270 degrees around the Club Level fascia.
Before, during and after games, Tiger fans can buy the latest merchandise and U of M gear in the team store, located in the Grand Lobby and at several boutique stores throughout FedExForum. The store is also open from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. on Sunday, or can be reached by phone at 901-205-1551.
A unique feature of FedExForum is the music theme that is prevalent throughout. Luxury suite holders have their names engraved on a record outside their suite, and lyric sheets from famous Memphis songs appear prominently on the walls. Concessions and restaurants are named with uniquely Memphis music themes and areas of the arena concourses are divided into sponsored zones highlighting musical genres like Rock 'n' Roll, the Blues, Gospel, Memphis Music Today and more. FedExForum is also home to the Rock 'n' Soul Museum on the ground floor of the administration building. The Rock 'n' Soul Museum traces the roots of rock and roll and soul music in Memphis, offering visitors a self-guided tour of Memphis music from the early 20th century in the '70s. The Rock 'n' Soul Museum is one of only two Smithsonian Institution exhibits not located in Washington, D.C.
Along with the Grizzlies' locker room on the Event Level, the Tigers also have a state-of-the-art locker room facility just off the playing floor. The area has players and coaches locker rooms, a training room, video room and players lounge. The locker room is one of the best facilities in the nation.
FedExForum is setting a new standard for college arenas, and it's all happening in Memphis. There has truly never been a better time to be a Tigers fan.