TICKETS FOR THE NCAA DIVISION I MEN'S VOLLEYBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS ARE SOLD OUT. FANS CAN STILL WATCH LONG BEACH STATE DEFEND ITS NATIONAL TITLE AT A FREE VIEWING PARTY LOCATED ON THE LAWY BEHIND THE PYRAMID. LIVE ACTION WILL BE SHOWN ON LARGE SCREENS.
Spectators arrived at the strange azure building to watch Long Beach State’s men’s basketball team play its first game of the 1994 season, unsure of what to expect.
Then-athletic director Dave O’Brien said at the time that he initially thought a pyramid-shaped athletic building was the “most ludicrous idea I’d ever heard.
Today, as the Walter Pyramid approaches its 25th anniversary, it has become one of the most iconic buildings in Long Beach, a community institution and home of several Long Beach State teams.
From the start, Long Beach State teams have excelled inside the Pyramid. The Beach defeated Detroit Mercy in its first game Nov. 30, 1994, and finished the season with a 20-10 record, a Big West tournament title and an NCAA berth.
The late O’Brien acknowledged his less-than-enthusiastic first reaction in a Long Beach Press-Telegram article that published days before opening night. The article pointed out the campus had long outgrown the 1,900-seat “Gold Mine,” and how O’Brien’s opinion of the Pyramid had changed from its conception to finished construction.
“We have gotten into living rooms to make a pitch to athletes we never would have before,” O’Brien told the Press-Telegram. “If we didn’t have this building, Long Beach State would never take its place among the elite. Now we have the opportunity to compete.”
Long Beach State named the Pyramid in honor of Dr. Mike and Arline Walter in 2005 in recognition of their $2.1-million gift – supporting both athletes and faculty - to the campus. Dr. Mike Walter served as dean for business education from 1993 to 2000, and Arline Walter had a long career as a technology executive in the banking industry.
The Walter Pyramid has twice played host to NCAA men’s championship volleyball matches in 2001 and 2003, and the 2003 NCAA Women’s Volleyball Regionals.
In addition to collegiate sports, the Walter Pyramid has held the NBA Summer League, Special Olympics Summer Games, the U.S. Sumo Open, Associated Students, Inc. annual Big Event concerts and other happenings. The Pyramid has also appeared in “Space Jam,” “Starship Troopers” and other productions.