The architects were Miller Martin and Lewis and Edwin T. McCowan.
The Coliseum opened its doors for the first time on January 30, 1968, for the traveling Broadway production The Roar of the Greasepaint - The Smell of the Crowd. Two days later, the Tide's men's basketball team hosted its first game at the arena, against the Samford Bulldogs.
Formally named Memorial Coliseum as a substitute for Foster Auditorium. In 1988 the facility was re-named to honor Jefferson Jackson Coleman, a prominent University of Alabama alumnus. Jefferson Coleman was the first pledge of Theta Sigma Fraternity which would later become the basis for beginning the current National Delta Chi Fraternity Chapter at The University on February 12, 1927. Jefferson continued to serve the University in many capacities, from Business Manager of the football program to Director of Alumni Affairs, for nearly fifty years. Until his death in 1995, Coleman was the only person to be present at every Alabama bowl game, beginning with the Rose Bowl on January 1, 1926. (2)
The building, comparable to a seven-story structure at its pinnacle, received a bit of a facelift in 2005 adding offices for the coaches and administrators, a new ticket office as well as a Tide Pride office. The large mid-court scoreboard was taken down and replaced by a pair of endline scoreboards equipped with video replay screens. In addition, The Coliseum's parquet floor was repainted to reflect the Crimson Tide's new elephant logo at center court.(1)
Stars who have performed on its stage include Ray Charles, Bob Dylan and Elvis Presley, who performed here on August 30, 1976.(1)
President Ronald Reagan was a guest of the Coleman Coliseum during his 1984 presidential re-election campaign.
Because the City of Tuscaloosa does not have a municipal civic center, the demand for events grew briskly and the Coliseum doubled its capacity in the 1970's on account of this.
Jerry performed here on
4/18/77 Grateful Dead
This show was canceled and rescheduled for 5/17/77.
5/17/77 Grateful Dead
I:New Minglewood Blues;Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo>El Paso;They Love Each Other;Jack Straw;Jack-A-Roe;Looks Like Rain;Tennessee Jed;Passenger;High Time;Big River;Sunrise;Scarlet Begonias>Fire On The Mountain
II:Samson And Delilah>Bertha>Good Lovin';Brown Eyed Women;Estimated Prophet;Lady With A Fan>Playing In The Band>Drums>Wharf Rat>Playing In The Band
Promoter John Scher and Tony Ruffino
|5/17/77 Unknown photographer|
Rescheduled from 4/18/77.
Jerry plays a Travis Bean 500 #12 guitar.
"The SGA Events Dept. had money left over and the band was scheduled at the last minute."
"The 'Bama venue was rigged theatre-style..meaning the arena was partitioned so the stage was set mid-court with a curtain behind. There was no barricade down front..a bloke could stand belly-up to the stage."
“I was there in Tuscaloosa that evening and, thankfully, a bit cosmic. I've been to hundreds of concerts and have lived a very full life, but I've not experienced anything like 5/17/77 before or since. I've never been a "church person" though I've often wished those Sunday gatherings could offer me some spiritual food. However, I remember walking out of the venue that evening and telling my girlfriend "That's what church should be like", and to this day I wish it was. It was a true communion...the crowd and the band were solidly linked in ways that transcended eyes and ears. It was amazing! So glad I happened to be there…”
Coleman Memorial Coliseum (University of Alabama), Tuscaloosa, Alabama
2.)^"University of Alabama Chapter of Delta Chi - Roll Tide Roll". Deltachiua.org.
3.)^BamaDead, comments, 2009-05-07, http://archive.org/details/gd77-05-17.sbd.weiner.18554.sbeok.shnf
4.)^Greyfoldedsom, comments, 2009-01-31, http://archive.org/details/gd77-05-17.sbd.weiner.18554.sbeok.shnf
5.)^Wright, Tom, Garcia musical instrument historian, comments, 2014-03-21, email to author.
7.)^Ms 332 Ser. 3, Box 3:2, Show Files:East Coast Tour 4/22-5/22/77, Grateful Dead Archives, Special Collections, McHenry Library, UC Santa Cruz, CA.
8.)^joeyarata, comment, 2014-04-10, http://www.dead.net/features/may-17-1977/12333featured-show-may-17-1977zzz
9.)^Proposed University of Alabama Field House, The Tuscaloosa News, 1960-10-23, pg. 12.