How Moby Got Its Name

By Ann Gill (M.A., ’76)

Do you remember the Auditorium Arena? If so, you are among a very few. Auditorium Arena was the relatively short-lived name of our arena on the west edge of the main campus that was under construction in the mid-1960s. How did it become the “Moby Arena” that all Rams remember with fondness? Well, it started with two residents of Edwards Hall who worked at the Rocky Mountain Collegian.

Bill Mann was sports editor for the Collegian, and Marty Lipkin (B.S., ’70) became sports editor when Mann became managing editor. As the pair watched the arena construction from their residence hall windows, they joked that the unique architecture looked like a whale rising out of the athletic field. Mann then published a Collegian story referring to the new building as a “great white whale.” Soon the creative moniker, “Moby Gym,” became part of Mann’s Collegian columns about the structure, much to the consternation of University and athletic administrators. Nonetheless, the name caught on and CSU students began referring to the structure as “Moby Gym.”

The administration finally capitulated and settled on “Moby Arena” as the official name. Over the decades, Moby became our gathering space. These days, students start their CSU careers at Ram Welcome Convocation in Moby, and we hold most graduation ceremonies there, as well. We cheer our basketball and volleyball teams on to victory in Moby, and we host important speakers and hold other all-University events there.

A White Out win for CSU Volleyball vs. Nebraska in Moby, 2011.

When Ram fans get loud and proud, the relatively intimate space of our sports arena results in a special phenomenon we call “Moby Madness.” It makes Moby one of the most challenging atmospheres in the country for visiting teams. Thank goodness for Mann and Lipkin, as “Auditorium Madness” just never would have caught on!

These two stirred up other trouble during their time on campus. Most noteworthy was an extended prank that, fortunately, did not have the staying power that “Moby” had. Some smack talking about the Wyoming Cowboy men’s basketball team in Collegian columns turned into very serious misbehavior involving well over 300 bananas thrown onto the Moby court during a CSU-Wyoming basketball game along with a huge, offensive banner unfurled from the rafters.

Auditorium Arena under construction

Fortunately, the pair mostly outgrew this ornery stage. Lipkin became creative director for advertising agencies, including Doyle Dane Bernbach, Chiat/Day, and J. Walter Thompson. Mann became a humor writer; his columns appeared in papers ranging from USA Today to the Huffington Post. He worked at the Montreal Gazette, the Honolulu Advertiser, and the San Francisco Examiner, as well. Mann currently is senior media analyst for Norman Goldman’s podcasts out of Los Angeles.