South Dakota State University plays its home basketball and volleyball games and wrestling matches in Frost Arena, named after former SDSU coach and athletic director R.B. "Jack" Frost.
The facility, part of the Stanley J. Marshall HPER Center, now seats 6,500 fans for basketball. The SDSU-Augustana game on February 11, 1989, attracted an arena record 9,456 fans, a record which may never be broken since the new chair-back courtside seating, added before the 1992-93 season, eliminated nearly 500 seats from the arena total. Additional seating improvements have further reduced capacity.
The improved seating is just the one in a series of changes which include adding scoreboards at each end of the floor to complement the main scoreboard hanging over mid-court, incorporating a colorful scorer's bench at courtside, repainting the floor, and adding an $80,000 sound system to the arena.
Bids totaling $3,374,115 were let for the facility following legislative approval of the project with the bill signed by Governor Frank Farrar on February 14, 1970. Ground was broken Sept. 22, 1970. Governor Richard Kneip placed the cornerstone on October 2, 1971. Final cost of the building totaled $3,685,000, with the difference made up by gifts and items donated later.
The Jackrabbits played their first game in Frost Arena on February 2, 1973. In 1994, the one-millionth fan passed through the Frost Arena turnstiles.
Reuben B. “Jack” Frost was born in Sheyenne, North Dakota, April 26, 1907, and graduated from Spring Grove, Minn., High School in 1923. He attend Luther College (Iowa) from 1924 to 1928, and received his Ph.D in Physical Education from the University of Oregon in 1958.
He was named Athletic Director, and professor and head of the Department of Physical Education in June 1947, and served until assuming a distinguished professorship at Springfield (Mass.) College in 1960. At Springfield, he occupied the only endowed chair for physical education in the nation.
His coaching career began in 1928 at Glenwood, Minn., High School and later at Fergus Falls, Minn. In 1935, he became athletic director and coach at Bemidji State College.
Dr. Frost established the Health, Physical Education and Recreation Graduate program at South Dakota State Univeristy in 1951.
He was an international leader in recreation, health and physical education. Among other international assignments, he was this nation's representative at the Fifth Session of the International Olympic Academy at Greece in 1965.
An author, teacher, coach and administrator, Dr. Frost's influence on this university remains today. He mentored Dr. Stanley Marshall, in whose honor the HPER Center is named.