To many University of Idaho alumni, War Memorial Gymnasium is best known for NBA Hall-of-Famer Gus Johnson's thunderous dunks and gravity-defying rebounds during the 1962-63 basketball season. However, many of them have missed out on one of the most successful sports in the history of the university – women’s volleyball.
From 1992-96, Vandal Volleyball won 49 straight matches in Memorial Gym, the fourth-longest home winning streak in NCAA Division I history. With four straight Big Sky titles and first-place finishes in the Big West's Eastern Division in 1996 and 1997, the sport grabbed the attention of UI students and the community.
On Sept. 27, 1994, 1,550 volleyball fans invaded the 70-year-old gym to see Idaho defeat nationally ranked border-rival Washington State 3-1. In 1996, Idaho set an all-time attendance record by averaging 1,050 fans in Memorial Gym, where it boasted an 11-2 (.846) record and the largest single-match crowd - 1,814 against Washington State - in Vandal volleyball history. Overall, Idaho ranked 22nd nationally in home attendance in 1996 among all NCAA college volleyball programs. In 1998, the Vandals ranked 28th in the country, ahead of programs such as Ohio State and Louisville.
Memorial Gym provides a practice and game facility to the Idaho Volleyball team. The gym supports two varsity locker rooms, a courtside satellite training room, three practice courts and an intimate 2000-seat game day facility.
In 1999, an $85,000 portable Taraflex Sports Flooring system was installed at Memorial Gym. The portable floor system has significantly improved the game and competitive facility needs for Idaho Volleyball. The 5500 square foot floor can be rolled or unrolled in about in hour. This addition to the facility has provided the UI with one of the best volleyball courts in the Western Athletic Conference.
Aside from exciting Vandal Volleyball action, Memorial Gym also is home to exhibition Men’s and Women’s Basketball games and the UI Physical Education Department.