When the University of Arkansas made the decision to welcome gymnastics in 2001, the entire Athletic Department underwent a change. The continued growth of the Athletic Department, including the addition of four sports in 10 years, impacted the facilities at the university on a grand scale. The addition of gymnastics prompted Barnhill Arena, previously the largest volleyball-only facility in the country, to welcome its new roommate.
And Barnhill Arena did its best to throw one heck of a welcome party! Barnhill began its adaptation to a volleyball/gymnastics facility with an internal face lift. Some of the changes included a new paint job in areas immediately surrounding the playing surface, new lights to accommodate the space requirements of gymnastics and a state-of-the-art sound system and scoreboards that are both Razorbacks and fan friendly. When the Razorbacks finally reached campus in the fall of 2002, the fans came. In fact, fans came in droves and by the end of the 2003 season, Arkansas ranked fourth in the nation in attendance, averaging 4,739 people per event.
Arkansas’ season best came against No. 4 Alabama when 5,524 fans passed through the doors for the meet. That mark ranked sixth-best in the nation for a single meet in 2005. The Alabama meet attendance was just one of a pair of 5,000-plus fans as Arkansas welcomed 5,427 against No. 5 Florida. The Razorbacks saw 4,732 fans against No. 4 Georgia and 4,231 fans packed Barnhill against No. 16 Denver in the first meet ever in the arena. And that was just the first season.
Arkansas’ attendance numbers continue to flourish and the Razorbacks have ranked in the top 15 each of their eight seasons, including No. 11 in 2010. The Razorbacks welcomed the program’s first NCAA Regional Championship in 2005 and hosted a big meet with the Super Six Challenge in 2006. Arkansas also hosted the NCAA South Central Regional in April 2009.
|CAPACITY||NAMED FOR||HOME OF|
|8,500||John Barnhill, Former AD||Gymnastics and Volleyball|
|ALL-TIME TOP 10 SINGLE-MEET ATTENDANCE FIGURES|
|LSU||Jan. 20, 2012||5,537|
|Alabama||Jan. 24, 2003||5,525|
|Florida||Feb. 17, 2003||5,427|
|Florida||Feb. 1, 2013||5,278|
|LSU||Feb. 6, 2004||5,187|
|Gym’Back Inv.||Mar. 5, 2004||4,893|
|Georgia||Feb. 21, 2003||4,732|
|Alabama||Feb. 25, 2005||4,617|
|Florida||Feb. 18, 2005||4,430|
|Denver||Feb. 10, 2003||4,231|