ASHEVILLE, N.C. - The City of Asheville announced today that it had been named the host city for the Southern Conference men's and women's basketball tournament. Asheville will be the home of the tournament for three years, beginning in March 2012 with UNC Asheville's new Kimmel Arena helping host the tournament.
City officials were contacted today by Southern Conference officials - just one day after a delegation of local leaders concluded two days of presentations and negotiations at the conference's annual meeting in Hilton Head, SC.
The men's games will be played at the Asheville Civic Center. The women's tournament will begin at the new Kimmel Arena on UNC Asheville's campus, with the semifinal and championship games being held at the Civic Center.
Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy made the announcement today at Thomas Wolfe Auditorium. "The Southern Conference has a great history in Asheville," Mayor Terry Bellamy noted referring to the tournaments nine-year run in Asheville from 1984-1995. "They're coming back home." Mayor Bellamy added, "There will be a significant economic impact for the city of Asheville, bringing thousands of tourists to town in March, typically a slow time for tourism." The mayor also highlighted the significant partnership between the city and UNC Asheville.
Asheville City Council member Jan Davis praised UNC Asheville Director of Athletics Janet Cone and the school for helping get the tournament back to Asheville.
"We can't thank the fine folks of UNC Asheville and Athletics Director Janet Cone enough for their hard work in helping get this done," stated Davis at the press conference.