Before a packed audience at T-Miller's Sports Bar in the Richmond Marriott downtown, the Atlantic 10 announced that their Women's Basketball Tournament would be moving to the Richmond Coliseum effective March, 2014.
The initial agreement between the City, the Conference, and SMG, the owner of the Coliseum is for three years.
"This all literally came together in about a week and a half," said Bernadette McGlade, who has been Atlantic 10 Commissioner for the past six years, noting the conference's satisfaction in what they saw in the Coliseum and their current improvement project.
The Coliseum has played host to the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Men's Basketball Tournament yearly since 1990, but that agreement ended in March, as the CAA, having lost its two member teams based in its headquarters of Richmond, VCU and the University of Richmond, to the Atlantic 10, decided to move its tourney to Baltimore.
Any concerns that the CAA may have had about the Coliseum and its future apparently did not sway McGuire and her staff in their decision-making.
"There were multiple bids for this event. We think this (the Richmond Coliseum) is a venue that will get better and better just like we get better and better," McGlade said.
The tournament will feature all 13 teams in the conference and will take place March 5th through 9th. The championship game will be on Sunday March 9th, 11am, televised nationally on ESPNU. Saturday's semifinal round games will take place at a time to be determined, but will be televised nationally on the CBS Sports Network.
The Richmond appearance will mark just the third time in the 32-year history of the Atlantic 10 Women's Basketball Tournament that it has taken place at a neutral site.