Constructed in the former footprint of the Robertson Memorial Field House, the Coliseum now serves as the home for Bradley Athletics, but the Hilltop will always cherish their beloved Field House.
Named for longtime Bradley Athletic Director and coach, A.J. Robertson, the Robertson Memorial Field House was constructed in 1949 for $400,000. Built from two decommissioned B-29 airplane hangars, the 8,300 seat venue saw much success from its athletic programs in the building. "That was probably the original home court advantage," former Bradley great Chet Walker was once quoted as saying.
Winning is something that has always seemed to come Bradley's way in Robertson. The men had just one losing season in the building, while compiling a 400-100 record before leaving for Carver Arena in the Peoria Civic Center in 1982. In 1993, the Bradley men returned to the Field House for the first regular season game in more than a decade, defeating Illinois Wesleyan, 81-63.
The Bradley women's best year in Robertson came during the 1981-82 season when they put together as 11-2 home mark en route to a 19-win season. Volleyball's 9-2 home slate in 1999 is their top season in history.
In addition to Bradley basketball games and volleyball matches, a number of significant events had occurred in the Robertson Memorial Field House over the years. For example, President Nixon received his first honorary degree at a Bradley commencement exercise held in the Field House. Former president Dwight D. Eisenhower spoke there in 1956. Ice shows, circuses, Roller Derby, and rock concerts took place in the building as well.
To make way for the Renaissance Coliseum and the Campaign for a Bradley Renaissance, the Field House was demolished in April 2008. The Field House may be gone but it remains a distinctive part of Bradley University's history.