Coussoulis Arena: A history behind the largest event center on campus

By Donte Medder |Staff Writer|


Just before you hit the mountains lies the arena on campus that holds various events ranging from Physical Education classes to performances by people like Kevin Hart. It has been an attraction for talented acts since the mid-90s.

We know it as the Coussoulis Arena.

Students may not know much about this building, more or less who it is named after.

As students here, many of us do not know the history behind the arena that gathers thousands of people every year.

In order to find out more about the arena I had to go to the Director of the Arena, Carol Dixon.

CSUSB’s Coussoulis arena is a 5,000-seat arena which opened in 1995.

It was originally named the “James and Aerianthi Coussoulis Arena.”

Nick Coussoulis, son of James and Aerianthi, is a wealthy friend of this university who works in construction and development.

He decided to give the gift of the arena with the intention of also putting the family name on the project.

I was intrigued by the fact that only one person contributed in the arena’s construction.

“In this community there aren’t a lot of people who can make major gifts,” said Dixon.

Before the arena was built, athletic events were held in the den, the building right across from Coussoulis arena.

The arena hosts a variety of events according to Dixon.

Events held here range from full-out rock concerts, hip hop concerts, comedy stage and banquets.

“We can serve thousands of guests for a sit down banquet to sporting events, disability fairs, Special Olympics, to basketball and volleyball tournaments,” continued Dixon.

With such a wide range of events, there is no denying the amount of money and people the venue brings in each year.

Dixon explained that on average the arena brings in anywhere from 70,000 to 90,000 people annually.

And this does not include the athletic numbers, which vary year to year.

“Financially, in terms of special events that we do, we can come in at $25,000 dollars a year or we can come in at $100,000 dollars a year,” said Dixon.

“We can come in all over the board and a lot of it is dependent on the athletic schedule.”

Since the arena opened in 1995, new renovations is the next question that comes to mind for this arena.

Dixon explained that the arena had just gone through some slight renovations already.

New railings to the seats were just added in September.

As for what’s next for the arena is something Dixon has been preparing for since she got the job.

“Coming up next is Bill Cosby on November 16,” said Dixon. “He’s a legend along the B.B. King lines and he has made such tremendous strides as a humanitarian and his breaking down of stereotype barriers.”

It is safe to say with acts like Bill Cosby rolling through the arena, the Coussoulis family is proud to have their name across it.

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