The Colonial Athletic Association Men’s Basketball Championship is headed to the North Charleston Coliseum next season.
“We are excited to bring the CAA Men’s Basketball Championship and the thrill of March Madness to Charleston,” CAA commissioner Tom Yeager said. “Charleston has long been considered one of the top tourist destinations in the United States. Our fans will enjoy a variety of activities and the outstanding hospitality of the Lowcountry along with some terrific college basketball.”
The tournament has been held in Baltimore, Md. since 2014, after it was held in the Richmond Coliseum (Richmond, Va.) from 1990-2013. The new agreement to bring the tournament to North Charleston runs from 2016-17 season through the 2018-19 season, making the Coliseum the tenth venue to host to the tournament.
Members of the CAA include the College of Charleston, the University of Delaware, Drexel University, Elon University, Hofstra University, James Madison University, the University of North Carolina Wilmington, Northeastern University, Towson University and the College of William and Mary. Though Charleston is the Southernmost school in the conference, the bid to move the tournament to Charleston was supported unanimously.
The North Charleston Coliseum recently invested over $21 million in improvements and seats just over 11,000 people. Centrally located within two miles of the airport, it was the site of the Southern Conference basketball tournament from 2002-04 and 2006-08.
“We are thrilled that the men’s basketball tournament is coming to Charleston,” said Joe Hull, Director of Athletics at the College. “Charleston is one of the great places in the nation to visit and I am confident visiting fans from throughout the CAA will have a terrific time here.”
The city has proved to be a successful destination for more than just postseason college basketball. Charleston has hosted ESPN’s non-conference tournament, the Charleston Classic, at the TD Arena since 2008.
Though spectators enjoy the historic downtown, the College of Charleston’s opponents have not. In the Cougars twenty-five years as a Division I basketball school, they boast an all-time winning percentage of .693 which ranks seventh on the active list behind Kentucky, North Carolina, Kansas, North Dakota State, UNLV and Duke. However, unlike those perennial powers, Charleston has not won a conference title since the 1998-99 season.
Though it is nice to think that bringing the tournament to Charleston will bring them success, they hold just an 8-6 mark during tournament play in the Lowcountry, with their lone title appearance coming in their 2007 loss to Stephen Curry’s Davidson juggernaut.