The UCLA game against Arizona is sold out. Well it should be. While the game against Arizona is very important, what is more important is this will be the last game at "Old Pauley." As Nestor wrote Pauley Pavilion is the Yankee Stadium of college basketball and "like the New York Yankees, nostalgia should not stand in the way of progress. Whatever new building is erected would not only replace Pauley Pavilion, but instead its beauty and scope would stand in tribute to Pauley and all that came before."
Pauley's start is hard to believe today but UCLA tries in this video. Coach recruited Kareem (then Lew Alcindor) in part by saying you will play in the first game in this "new state of arena. " Michael Warren also talks about how Wooden laid out the arechtical plans and described how incredible it was going to be to play there. The video concludes with Don MacLean on how the building symbolizes the greatness of UCLA basketball.
Even wilder then that is the first game at Pauley:
The first game ever played in Pauley Pavilion was on November 27, 1965. It featured the freshmen team, led by Big Lew Alcindor, against the UCLA varsity squad, the two-time defending champions and pre-season No. 1 team. The freshmen defeated the varsity team 75-60, heralding great things to come.
A few other stats and points from wikipedia after the jump:
- John Wooden coached what would be his final game as varsity head coach in Pauley Pavilion March 1, 1975 in a 93-59 victory over Stanford. Four weeks later he would surprisingly announce his retirement following the NCAA semi-final victory against Louisville and before his 10th National championship victory against Kentucky. The Bruins won 149 games to 2 losses at home between 1965 and 1975. Bruin men's basketball teams won 8 more NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championships from 1967 through 1975 under Coach Wooden.
- UCLA's longest winning streak in men's basketball at Pauley Pavilion was 98 games. It ended on February 21, 1976, when Oregon defeated UCLA, 65-45.
But of course Pauley was more than just UCLA basketball. UCLA's incredible men and women's volleyball and gymnastic teams won many championships there, including 19 by the men's volleyball team alone alone.
The building was the venue for gymnastics for the 1984 Summer Olympic Games where Mary Lou Retton became America's sweetheart and UCLA's Mitch Gaylord led the Men's Gymnastics team to Olympic Gold. (Mary Lou's teammate Julianne McNamara went on to attend UCLA where she met and married major league baseball player Todd Zeile.)
Lastly it was the host to other events such as a 1988 Presidential debate and a VH-1 Honors Rock Concert saluting the long career of The Who. There is really too much to list it all here.
I will close by saying, please respond with your favorite Pauley memory.
Although I was there for the first PAC 10 Tournament final in 1987 as a 10 year season ticket holder, my favorite memory was a completely random one. Before games cards were held up with things to say to the opposing players when they were introduced. The last one had "Digger is a Wimp" on the back of it and was only used once every two years when we played Notre Dame.
I went to one of these games with my cousin from out of town during the Reggie MIller era. I bragged about how Reggie was a great outside shooter, not like anything else you will see in basketball. The place was packed and crazy. National TV was there. The game was close in the dying seconds with UCLA down and the ball bounced free and Reggie Miller came up with it. From about 27 feet, a good distance behind the three point line and some time left on the clock, Reggie grabbed the ball and shot. Nothing but net for the game winner. I turned to my cousin and remind him that I told him Miller was a great outside shooter and my cousin said "Yeah but did he really have to shoot from that far away?"
I know it was not the most important game I saw, but it sticks out. Don't respond without telling your favorite Pauley memory.