The college moved to its present site on the south slope of Lone Mountain in 1927. The college was built on the site of the former Odd Fellows, Mount Olivet and Masonic Cemeteries. In 1913, the city enacted a law prohibiting more burials in the City and County of San Francisco. The remains were transferred to Colma, California.
To celebrate its diamond jubilee in 1930, St. Ignatius College changed its name to the University of San Francisco. According to USF history professor Father John B. Mc Gloin, S.J., the change from college to university was sought by long-time San Francisco Mayor James Rolph Jr.. at the time, running for Governor of California.
Prior to 1958, the USF basketball team had no permanent home. During the 1955 and 1956 NCAA championship seasons, Phil Woolpert's teams had to practice and play home games at either nearby Kezar Pavilion in Golden Gate Park or the gym at neighboring St. Ignatius High School. The aftermath of USF's back-to-back national championships spurred a fund-raising effort that ultimately made building an on-campus venue possible and in 1958, War Memorial Gym opened its doors.
A male-only school for most of its history, USF became fully coeducational in 1964.
Originally serving all of USF's athletic needs, War Memorial Gym also briefly hosted the San Francisco Warriors during the 1966-1967 season. Upon the arrival of women's sports on campus, War Memorial Gym also became the home of the women's basketball and volleyball teams.
Though the gym missed the Russell and Jones era by three years, it was the home of the great Dons teams of the late 1970's led by Bill Cartwright, Phil Smith and Quintin Dailey (though some high-profile matches were held at the Cow Palace or the Oakland Arena).
War Memorial Gym was also the site of CBS's first national college basketball broadcast, a 1982 match-up between USF and the University of Georgia.
In 1989, with the construction of the Koret Health and Recreation Center, War Memorial became exclusively an athletic venue, though training facilities continue to be housed in the Moran Center beneath the gym.
Dedicated to the USF dead of World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, War Memorial Gym currently seats 5,300 spectators. Plaques in the lobby display the names of more than 100 students, alumni, and faculty who died fighting those wars.(1) Above the court can be seen banners commemorating USF's national and conference championships in basketball, including titles won by the women's basketball team in their old conference, the Northern California Athletic Conference. Players' retired numbers can also be found, including banners for Pete Newell and Phil Woolpert. The gym's foyer houses a mini-hall of fame, displaying trophies and memorabilia from USF's athletic history.(2)
In 2008 and 2009, USF made upgrades to the gym. The old floor, which was the original installation, was replaced, along with the bleacher seating in the upper level. The old baskets were replaced with stand-alone versions, and new banners were installed.
Jerry performed here on
10/31/74 Merl Saunders
2.)^Norris, Ryan, No Frills on the Hilltop, http://www.stadiumjourney.com/stadiums/war-memorial-gym-s829/