When Villanova won the basketball national championship in 1985, contractors hadn't even broken ground on the Pavilion. Games were often played off-campus, usually at the Palestra, but Villanova had a home court as well — the fieldhouse, built in 1932 for teams coached by Alexander Severance, was the home of Villanova basketball. Men's basketball would ultimately abandon the facility's court and its lilliputian spectator capacity while women's Volleyball would move in.
Until recently, however, the volleyball team still played on a court built (and painted) for the basketball teams of the 1970s and 1980s.
That changed this winter, however, and the Jake Nevin Fieldhouse court has been transformed into a dedicated home for volleyball. The focus of the renovation was replacing the aged floor with a brand new maple court, configured and painted with lines more appropriate for a primary volleyball facility. A volleyball-specific scoreboard was also installed and the sound system in the arena was updated as well.
"The players were really excited that the gym was set to be upgraded," said Villanova volleyball head coach Josh Steinbach. "The old floor desperately needed to be retired.
"We've only had a couple prospective student-athletes on campus since the updates, but it isn't hard to see why those players have commented on our gym. It's brighter now, it's sport specific for volleyball, and [we] expect that what has been a weakness for us in recruiting should now be a strength."
Villanova now believes that Jake Nevin is one of the best volleyball facilities in the Big East conference.
"Nevin has always been a great gym for volleyball," Steinbach said. "It's a smaller arena compared to most of our competitors and now with the scoreboards, sound system, and floor upgrades, it stands out as one of the top home courts in the conference."
The renovations had been in planned for about three years and were done in phases to avoid interruptions during the volleyball seasons.
The 80-year-old fieldhouse, born as a church of basketball, currently also houses administrative offices for the Athletic Department, the Ticket Office, Training Room, equipment rooms, coach's officesd, and locker rooms for the Women's Lacrosse, Field Hockey, Softball, and Women's Volleyball teams.