Johnson & Cain


image preview

Creation Date



Other Names - Academic-Athletic Building No. 1
Date Built - Nov. 15, 1961-1963
Dedicated - Dec. 7, 1963
Cost of Construction - $2.5 million
Gross Square Feet - 188,251 (1969)
Building No. 30
Architect(s) - Frank Cain & Ben Johnson

Namesake - E.A. Diddle:
Edgar Allen Diddle was born at Gradyville, Kentucky March 12, 1895 to John A. and Mary Elizabeth Hughes Diddle. After his early education at Columbia, Kentucky, Diddle entered Centre College at Danville in 1915 where he excelled in football and basketball. He served in the Naval Aviation program during WWI, returning to Centre in 1918. He left again in 1920 to begin his coaching career at Monticello High School. In 1921 he coached at Greenville High School. On September 7, 1922, he joined the staff at Western as athletic director and coach of all sports. He relinquished his duties as head football coach in 1929 and of baseball in 1956.

Diddle married Margaret Louise Monin December 27, 1923. The couple had two children, Edgar Allen Diddle Jr. and Mary Jo Diddle Phillips. E.A. Diddle, Sr. died January 2, 1970.

Col. Edgar B. Stansbury (1906-2009). The Diddle Arena lobby was named for Col. Stansbury in 1998 after he pledged $1 million for scholarships. Stansbury came to Western in 1926 and played football, basketball and baseball under Coach Diddle. He later returned as an assistant coach for football and baseball and served three seasons as tennis coach going on to serve as director of athletics and head of the Health & Physical Education Department. He was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame in 1994.

Building History:
Discussion and planning for Diddle Arena began as early as 1956. By December 1960 plans had been drawn. Between 65 to 70 percent of the construction was funded through the sale of bonds with the remaining capital coming from the state. When the building was first designed, it included the basketball arena, a swimming pool approximately 72 x 42 ft., an auxiliary gym, 30 classrooms, offices, shower, locker and equipment rooms. The building was 3 stories high and was equipped with 3,344 theater-type seats and 3796 permanent bleachers. However, the seating capacity was 13,000. At the time, Diddle was the 3rd largest building on campus behind Cherry and the Science Building.

A bulldozer was used for the groundbreaking on November 15, 1961 and the arena was dedicated on December 7, 1963. The Hilltoppers lost to Vanderbilt 82-60 in the opening game. In 1991 an electrical fire broke out. Several students attempted to douse the blaze. Seventeen students, firemen and WKU employees were checked for possible asbestos contamination.

When it was first constructed the arena housed the departments of Foreign Languages, Military Science and Physical Education.

As of 7/6/68
182,000 gross sq. ft. cost $3,325,000, replacement value $3,325,743, 109 total rooms
12 classrooms
1 classroom service
4 special class labs
1 class lab service
5 Armory Facilities Service
10 Athletic-Physical Education Facility Services
4 Athletic-Physical Education Facilities
5 assembly facilities service
1 assembly facility
2 conference rooms
1 lounge facility
4 food facilities
1 food facility service
30 offices
7 office services
8 custodial areas
13 mechanical areas

1980 - new scoreboard donated by American National Bank & Pepsi Cola
1987 - reroofed for $250,000
1992 - new seating, painted, weight room renovations, women's locker room updated, $90,000 from Hilltopper Athletic Foundation
1993 - digital scoreboard installed, $200,000 in corporate sponsorships; computerized ticket office, $57,000
1995 - new sound system
2000 - "Topper Town Basketball" added for $8000 and removal of bleachers
2001-2003 - new parking area, elevator added, new floor and air-conditioning, 8,000 new seats, 30,000 square foot addition includes offices and practice gym, swimming pool converted to convention center, new suites added, approximately $32.5 million from Hilltopper Athletic Foundation, sales of luxury suites, bond issue and donations

Special issue, College Heights Herald, Dec. 4, 1963 -

Glasgow Daily Times:
Duncan, Chris. "Hopes High for Renovated Diddle," Sept. 12, 2002
Sutton, Lyndsay. "Feasibility Study Raises Questions," Sept. 20, 2000

Louisville Courier-Journal:
"Arena at WKU Could be Renovated," Feb. 24, 1999
Brown, C.L. "WKU to be Site of 2003, ’04 Sun Belt Tournaments," June 7, 2001
"Diddle Renovation Needs Approval," Oct. 18, 2001
Vance, Kyle. "New Western Gym Called Safe," May 1, 1963
Whitaker, Dave. "5.9-Million Boom for Basketball," Feb. 17, 1963

Park City Daily News:
"$2,425,000 is Low Bid on Fieldhouse," Nov. 9, 1961

Adams, David. "8,500 to see Western Dedication; Eastern, Murray in Tough Tests," Dec. 1963

Angolia, Joe. "Debuts Give Fans Glimpse into Future," Nov. 23, 2002

"Arena Seating Upped," Dec. 9, 1970, 1008 additional seats

"Asset in Making," Nov. 15, 1961

Barrone, Bert. "It Says Here: 13,000-Seat Gym Planned as Western Opens New Basketball, Intramural, Cutural Era Here," Dec. 22, 1960

"It Says Here: The Big Top-Unique Roof of Western’s E.A. Diddle Arena-Starts Going Up This Week," Jan. 6, 1963

"Western Planning $2.5 Million Physical Education Building," Dec. 22, 1960

"Western Plans November Construction Start for $2.5 Million Academic-Athletic Building," May 14, 1961

Chaplin, Steve. "Contamination is a Concern in Arena File," Oct. 20, 1991

"City to Vote on Diddle Bonds," March 1, 2002

"Clark Files $1.25 Million Libel Action," Feb. 16, 1964

"Combs, Wyatt to Speak at Dedication Ceremonies for New Western Building," Dec. 6, 1963

"Diddle Fire Code Checks Continue," April 6, 1989

"Diddle Luxury Boxes Available," Feb. 8, 2001

"Diddle Plans to be Discussed at Hotel," July 20, 2000

"Diddle’s a Go: Let’s Make Sure It’s Done Right," Feb. 10, 2002

Dooley, Jason. "Arena Plans May be Altered," Dec. 4, 2001

"Arena Work in Three Steps," Dec. 15, 2001

"City Helps Fund Arena," Dec. 5, 2001

"City, WKU Likely to OK Diddle Plan," Sep. 6, 2001, $32.5 million renovation bond issue

"WKU Senate Updated on Diddle Fee," Sep. 19, 2003

"E.A. Diddle Arena: Forty Years and Counting . . . ," Nov. 14, 2003

"Editorial Coaching Great’s Name Will Stay on University’s Arena," July 6, 2002

Gaines, Jim. "Refinance of Diddle on Agenda," July 5, 2006

"Western, City Refinancing Diddle Bonds," July 9, 2006

"Ground Broken Today for WSC Fieldhouse," Nov. 15, 1961

Highland, Deborah. "WKU to Give City Diddle," May 6, 2001

"Hotel Rooms, Luxury Suites May Be Added at WKU Arena," Feb. 23, 1999

"Is a New Arena Really Needed?" April 15, 2000

"It Will Be ‘E.A. Diddle Arena’," Jan. 10, 1962

Jackson, Lisa. "WKU Seeks Fire Code Compliance for Arena," March 6, 1989

Martin, John. "Quality Sound Will Surround Fans in Diddle," Dec. 29, 1995

Medley, Joe. "AD Says Scoreboard Cost More Than Expected, Still a Bargain," July 7, 1993

"Diddle Bleachers to be Used if Needed for the UAB Game," Jan. 31, 1990

"Diddle to Get Long-Awaited Work," Sep. 23, 1992

Minor, Robyn. "Despite Amendment, Diddle Deal on Track," Jan. 18, 2002

"Diddle Deal Clears Hurdle," Jan. 15, 2002

"Diddle Work Continues," May 31, 2001

"New Diddle Plan is Lauded," Dec. 19, 2001

"WKU Athletics Shift Grows: All But One Regent Give OK to Deeding Facilities to City," May 7, 2001

"New Scoreboard for Diddle Arena Ordered," May 7, 1993

"New WKU Arena Opens Possibilities," Feb. 4, 2000

Pabreza, Matt. "Diddle Arena’s Future Uncertain," June 21, 2000

Plumlee, Mitchell. "Arena Payoff Likely Far Off," Aug. 8, 2000

"Arena Work Still on Course,’ Oc.t 19, /2001

"Diddle Arena Readies for Topper Town Basketball," Nov. 15, 2000

"Diddle Project Gets Nod," Sep. 8, 2001

"Diddle Project is OK’d," Sep. 7, 2001

"Diddle Stays in WKU’s Possession," Aug. 18, 2001

"Diddle to Get a Makeover," Nov. 29, 2000

"High, Not Dry: Tenants of WKU’s Pricey Skyboxes Can Have Alcoholic Beverages on Hand," Feb. 24, 2001

"Revamp or Rebuild?" July 27, 2000

"Regents Ponder Grounds: Western’s Governing Body Cautious About Deeding Parcels to City of Bowling Green for Bond Sales," June 30, 2001

"WKU Closer to Selling Out Diddle Suites," July 20, 2001

"WKU Sells 11 of 16 Luxury Suites Prior to Last Game," Feb. 26, 2001

"Prototype Luxury Suite is Being Built in Diddle," Jan 4, 2001

Rivers, Margo. "Diddle Bill is Signed," Feb. 8, 2002

Rivers, Margo & Mitchell Plumlee. "WKU, City Say Diddle Deal Solid," Aug. 22, 2001

Selig, Wood. "From the Hill: Ongoing Transformation ‘Wowing’ Visitors," Nov. 23, 2002

Sisco, Scott. "Diddle Arena: Renovations Are Right on Schedule," July 7, 2002

"Diddle Project Gets Under Way," April 14, 2002

"Diddle Ready for Tourneys," March 5, 2003

"Diddle Ruling to Come Soon," May 16, 2002

"Diddle Work Moving Ahead," June 10, 2002

"Diddle Work Progressing," May 3, 2002

"HAF, Ticket Office Move Back to Diddle," Feb. 18, 2003

"Hearing Set for May 15 on Diddle Renovation Project," May 8, 2002

"Media Gets Peek at Diddle Arena," Aug. 10, 2002

"WKU Construction on Track to Finish Before School Starts," July 5, 2003

"Sports Arena Included in City Recreational Plans," Nov. 8, 1956

Stapleton, O.J. "Reseating of Diddle Going Smoothly," Sep. 29, 2003

"Right on Schedule: Arena Taking Final Steps Before Nov. 9th Season Opener," Oct. 3, 2002

"The Finished Product," Nov. 12, 2003

"WKU to Host SBC Tourneys: Diddle Renovations Key in Winning Bid," June 7, 2001

"Study Set to Decide Future of Old Arena," April 13, 2000

Vaughn, Wayne. "Swimming Lessons and Pools Plentiful," May 11, 1989

Waters, Jim. "Diddle Arena Plan Sails in the Senate," Jan. 24, 2002

"Diddle to be Deeded to City," May 9, 2001

"Western Building Dedication Set," Dec. 1, 1963

"Western Dedicates Giant New Academic-Athletic Building," Dec. 8, 1963

"Western Looks to Sell Last Five Luxury Boxes," March 3, 2001

"Western Net Arena to be Named in Honor of Diddle," Dec. 17, 1961

"Western to Break Turf Wednesday," Nov. 12, 1961

"WKSC Sells $2.8 Million Bond Issue," Jan. 19, 1962

"WKU Arena Reopens After Friday Fire," Oct. 21, 1991

"WKU Receives $1 Million Pledge, Renames Diddle Arena Lobby," April 2, 1998

Articles speculating on the replacement of Diddle Arena

Glasgow Daily Times

Sutton, Lyndsay. "Feasibility Study Raises Questions," July 20, 2000

Park City Daily News:

"City to Consider Arena Study," March 7, 2000

"County to Assist in Study of New Arena," Feb. 25, 2000

"Diddle Plans to be Discussed at Hotel," July 20, 2000

"Is a New Arena Really Needed?" April 15, 2000

Pabreza, Matt. "Diddle Arena’s Future Uncertain," June 21, 2000

Pedigo, Matt. "Board Mulls Arena’s Fate," Dec. 18, 1999

Plumlee, Mitchell. "Arena Payoff Likely Far Off," Aug. 8, 2000

"Revamp or Rebuild?" July 27, 2000

Riley, Jason. "A Diddle Do-Over?" Feb. 24, 1999

"New WKU Arena Likely," Jan. 26, 2000

Smith, James. Letter to Editor "New Arena Isn’t Needed in City," April 23, 2000

"Study Set to Decide Future of Old Arena," April 13, 2000

Willis, Justin. "Study Should Hold Arena’s Fate by May," Jan. 28, 2000


Western Kentucky University


Image Location