The First Step: Submitting The Bid
In the summer of 2016, Visit Fort Wayne and the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum partnered with the Fort Wayne Mastodons and Manchester University Spartans to submit a total of 25 bids for events to take place from 2019 to 2022. In announcements made by the NCAA in 2017, the local institutions were selected to host a total of five separate NCAA basketball championship events, all to take place at the Memorial Coliseum.
Welcome To The Championship
Visit Fort Wayne, Manchester University, and the Memorial Coliseum hosted the first of five awarded events, the NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Championship, on March 15 & 16, 2019. Two semifinal games took place on Friday, March 15 with the National Championship to follow on Saturday, March 16. The first semifinal faceoff was between Christopher Newport University and Swarthmore College. Swarthmore won 70-63. The second semifinal game featured the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh versus Wheaton College. Wisconsin-Oshkosh won 104-85. Swarthmore and Wisconsin-Oshkosh advanced to the National Championship game, where Wisconsin-Oshkosh won 96-82.
In 2020, the Memorial Coliseum and Visit Fort Wayne were set to host the DI Women's Basketball Regional event on March 27-30 with local institution Purdue Fort Wayne, as well as the return of the DIII Men's Basketball National Championship on March 18 & 19 with Manchester University. But as concerns continued to grow regarding the coronavirus pandemic, the NCAA cancelled all men's and women's basketball tournaments, as well as all remaining winter and spring NCAA championships, as reported on March 12, 2020.
The Division III Men's Basketball National Championship set for March 19 & 20, 2021, along with other NCAA events, was subsequently cancelled as well as pandemic concerns continued.
The Tourney Returns
The Division III Men's Basketball National Championship made a highly-anticipated return to Fort Wayne in 2022 on March 18 & 19. Semifinal matchups were Elmhurst University versus Wabash College and Marietta College versus Randolph-Macon College. Elmhurst nabbed a 90-68 win while Randolph-Macon dominated with a final score of 81-63. Randolph-Macon took home the National Championship win with an impressive score of 75-45.
Returning for its third year, the DIII Men's Basketball National Championship took place at the Memorial Coliseum on March 16 & 18, 2023. Swarthmore College and Christopher Newport University battled for the first championship spot, with Christopher Newport taking the win, 69-66. The second semifinal game between the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and Mount Union College led to Mount Union's win with a score of 83-79. Christopher Newport University prevailed over Mount Union College in the National Championship with a buzzer-beater win, 74-72.
The Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, Visit Fort Wayne, and Manchester University will continue to host the DIII MBB National Championship though 2026. Mark your calendar with these dates!
- March 15 & 16, 2024
- March 21 & 22, 2025
- March 20 & 21, 2026