Remembering Xavier University’s Schmidt Field House

Either you have vivid memories of Xavier University’s Schmidt Field House, or you’ve never heard of it.

Photograph by Jeremy Kramer

But if you were a student at Xavier from its construction in 1928 until the mid-1980s, then you likely attended a basketball game there before the team moved to the now-demolished Cincinnati Gardens in Bond Hill, and then to the comparatively massive Cintas Center in 2000.

Photograph by Jeremy Kramer

Photograph by Jeremy Kramer

The Field House isn’t closed, exactly, but now houses athletic offices and locker rooms for other Xavier sports. Even tearing it down is a challenge, as the foundation is built well into the steep hillside below and excavation could bring down the whole thing.

Photograph by Jeremy Kramer

Photograph by Jeremy Kramer

Photograph by Jeremy Kramer

So there it sits, reminding us of a humbler time for Xavier basketball, before the Big East and four-star recruits, before Sweet Sixteens and Jumbotrons. It’s a past that former Xavier student and basketball player Jim Boothe remembers fondly: Boothe played for Xavier from 1953 to 1957, going on to teach in the education department for 28 years. “Most of the recruiting was local kids—kids you might have played with in high school,” Booth remembers. “We had some really great big-attendance games in there, and the fans and players were very close. It’s enjoyed some good days.”

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