The school announced that Maryland Madness will move from the Comcast Center to Cole Field House this year, and the basketball program plans to bring back as many of it's former players and coaches as possible for the event.
In addition, Mark Turgeon said that he hopes to play one game a year at Cole Field House, and he would like to see a nice floor laid down and the seats and scoreboard fixed. Turgeon deserves a lot of credit for totally buying into the Maryland basketball job on a number of fronts, whether it is keeping the top recruits in the state at home, buying into the Big 10 move, or embracing the tradition of the program.
There had been talk for some time about possibly doing something at Cole, but the logistics made it difficult. Other schools across the country have played games in their former buildings, most notably NC State, which recently played at Reynolds Coliseum.
Cole Field House is used for some classrooms now, with the basketball floor long having been ripped up and replaced with an artificial grass surface that is used for intramural indoor soccer. A lot of the seats are busted, the bathrooms aren't in good shape and struggle to handle a capacity crowd and the scoreboards probably aren't much better off, but the arena is used for sizeable graduation ceremonies. Some work will have to be done to get it ready for a potentially sold-out crowd, but it can be done.
It will be interesting to see if the change in venue means an increase in the interest level and attendance surrounding the event. It has fallen off sharply since the final years at Cole and the first couple of years at the Comcast Center, though that also happened to coincide with the program sliding from a national power to the middle of the pack.
Current students may not find this all that exciting, but I would expect alums and older Terp fans to be pumped for the event. As a Maryland fan and alum from the class of 2006, I remember some of the great Maryland teams of the 90's and early 2000's that played at Cole and the electric atmosphere inside the "student activities building." It will be interesting to see if that can be re-created at Maryland Madness and possibly for future games.
At the same time, there is certainly something to be said for the way the Terps closed out their time at Cole Field House. In the final game, the Terps routed the rival Virginia Cavaliers and then went on to win the national championship. In some ways, it's great to leave that as the final memory of Cole, and I can see why some would like that to be their lasting image.