Men's basketball coach Kevin Ollie speaks to the media Monday.
Oct. 7, 2013
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (Oct. 7, 2013) --- Harbor Yard Sports and Entertainment, Webster Bank Arena and UConn athletics are pleased to announce that the UConn men's and women's basketball teams will each play a regular-season game at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Conn., this season.
"This is a historic moment for Huskies basketball and Webster Bank Arena," Harbor Yard Sports and Entertainment president Howard Saffan said. "We look forward to a long, successful partnership in the years to come. We cannot wait to see the Huskies here in December."
The UConn men's team will host Eastern Washington on Saturday, Dec. 28, at 1 p.m. while the defending NCAA champion UConn women's team will host the Temple Owls in an American Athletic Conference game on Saturday, Jan. 11, at noon. It will be the first home game for the UConn men played outside of Storrs or Hartford since a 1987 game against Syracuse at the New Haven Coliseum.
The UConn women have never before played a regular-season home game away from Storrs or Hartford, but have played in Webster Bank Arena in five separate NCAA Tournaments --- the first two rounds of the 2004, 2008, and 2012 tournaments and the Regional Finals in 2006 and 2013. The Huskies own a 9-1 record in the building.
"Fairfield County is home to our Stamford campus and is critical to the University as we continue to grow, achieve our goals, and serve the entire state of Connecticut," UConn president Susan Herbst said in a statement. "We're thrilled to bring UConn basketball to Bridgeport to enhance our presence in the area and contribute to the city."
The two games were formally announced Monday morning at a news conference at the Webster Bank Arena.
"I'm very happy to see this day," UConn men's basketball coach Kevin Olliesaid. "We are looking forward to coming to Bridgeport and Fairfield County. That's one day after my birthday the 28th, so I'm just hoping the celebration continues.
"We want to bring our University of Connecticut spirit here. We know some people can't drive up to Storrs or Hartford, so hopefully those fans can come here and see the spirit and integrate themselves into the Husky pride."
“I am very excited by the opportunity for our team to play a regular season game in Bridgeport,” head women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma said. “The staff at Webster Bank Arena runs a first-class operation and we have had an extremely positive experience playing postseason games in Bridgeport over the years.
“I am also pleased that our fans in southwestern Connecticut will now have a more convenient opportunity to watch our team in person. I am very much looking forward to January 11.”
There will be an exclusive priority presale of tickets to both games for UConn Club donors and UConn basketball season ticket holders beginning at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 15. Tickets to both games go on sale to the general public on Friday, Oct. 18 at 10 a.m. via Ticketmaster.com, or by calling Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000 or in-person at the Webster Bank Arena box office.
"I've said since I've gotten here that we represent the state," UConn Athletics Director Warde Manuel said. "It's important for us to come down here and connect with our fans, with our donors, with our alums --- we have 30,000 alums in Fairfield County. It's just a win, win for us."
Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch, a 1979 UConn graduate, was happy to welcome UConn to the city.
"This is a very important day for the city of Bridgeport," Finch said. "I couldn't be more excited to welcome my alma mater to the Webster Bank Arena. This is a great arena. This is not just about a basketball game, this is about economic development in the city of Bridgeport and this is about the children of the state of Connecticut. There isn't a better place you can go to school than the University of Connecticut. It's a great institution and we love it dearly and we are so proud we were able to put this together."