Gersten Pavilion, which enters its 36th year as the host of LMU's indoor athletic events in 2016-17, is the centerpiece of the LMU athletic complex. Opening in 1981, Gersten Pavilion has become one of the toughest places to play in the West Coast Conference and one of the premier athletic facilities in Southern California. While hosting men's and women's basketball and volleyball, the Pavilion has seen its share of memorable moments in the history of collegiate athletics.
The volleyball Lions first moved into the facility in 1982, and recorded 14 wins in Gersten's inaugural season. Since 1982, the Lions have posted an overall record of 295-154 (.657) in the friendly confines of the Pavilion. In conference play, the record is even more impressive with a 151-71 (.680) home record in WCC action. In 34 years, the 1996 (WCC volleyball championship team and Sweet Sixteen participant) and 2003 (NCAA second round appearance) squads have been the most successful with 14-1 marks, for .933 winning percentages.
One of the largest regular season crowds gathered in 2004 to see LMU top local rival Pepperdine 3-1 in West Coast Conference action. With 1,142 fans in attendance, it was the largest Gersten Pavilion crowd since LMU hosted the playoffs during the 1996 Sweet Sixteen season.
The 63,000-square foot facility boasts a functional design, featuring rounded columns at each corner, separated by mirrored glass. It houses the athletic programs' extensive weight rooms, and top-of-the-line training and medical facilities.
In December of 2000, a state-of-the-art scoreboard system was put into Gersten Pavilion. The scoreboard includes LionVision, a giant multi-camera videoboard at the south end of the facility. In the Summer of 2001, a new energy saving event lighting system was installed and the ceiling was repainted white to enhance the on court lighting.
More enhancements were made shortly thereafter. In 2006, the center court floor was completely redesigned and resurfaced. The two side courts were resurfaced the year before. In addition, a state-of-the-art sound system was put into place, replacing the buidling original sound solution. The new system features more than 65 speakers through the Pavilion, including speakers in the lobby, atrium, restroom and founders room.
In the summer of 2007, the entire lower seating sections in the arena where replaced with new Crimson chairbacks and bleachers.
More enhancements have been made the last few years. In 2013, the lobby and main restrooms were renovated. The locker rooms and training room were given the same renovation in the summer of 2015. The training room was expanded by more than 2,000 square feet and features a new wet treatment room.
Heading into the 2015-16 season, LMU installed a state-of-the-art LED system from Daktronics, complete with a center-hung scoreboard and LED message marquee over the concessions stand in the atrium. The system also features two LED ribbons on the north and south walls, LED press and scorer's tables and a south wall stats LED display. The system is capped with an end plate at the bottom of the center-hung scoreboard that reads "This is Hank's House."
Built to accommodate the 1984 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles, the Pavilion served as the host site for the weightlifting competition of the Games. More than 1,000 people were involved with the staging of the event, which attracted the largest number of weightlifting competitors in the history of the Olympics. More than two million people were brought into the Pavilion through television, radio, newspapers and wire services that attended the competition.
Prior to the Olympics, Gersten was the site of the McDonald's Gymnastics Classic in 1983, featuring the best male and female gymnasts from the United States and the former Soviet Union. In 1991, the Pavilion was the venue for the men and women's volleyball and boxing preliminaries at the U.S. Olympic Festival. It has been host to top basketball camps in the country, hosting LMU alumnus Pete Newell and his Big Man's Camp for NBA players. It has served as one of the official practice homes of the L.A. Lakers, L.A. Clippers and currently the L.A. Sparks.
The Pavilion was named in honor of Albert Gersten, father of LMU regent Albert Gersten, Jr., a 1974 LMU graduate. The Gersten family was the largest single donor to the construction project.