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Restore Pauley - Part I: Call to Action

It's time.

We have the right coach.

We have an incredible team, No. 1 in all the land.

We are the stewards of the greatest tradition in college basketball.

And, yet, something is still strangely missing.  

That's right, a world class facility.

We have allowed a special place, our very own Pauley Pavilion, age rather ungracefully.  And, now that we again have a team and coaches that deserve Pauley, shouldn't we also have an arena that's worthy of UCLA basketball?

There is no question that Pauley is hallowed ground in this sport.  And no one would suggest doing anything to diminish our unmatched history by doing something unholy to Pauley.  Yet, I don't think too many folks will disagree that the 'ole girl needs a facelift.

And, before begin our call for a long overdue major renovation of Pauley, let's stop a moment to consider this great place.  I don't need to remind anyone here, but consider what UCLA has accomplished at Pauley:

  • A record 11 NCAA national championships, including 10 under the great John Wooden, and seven in a row from 1967-1973.  
  • A still unmatched 98-game winning streak.  
  • 149 Bruin victories against just 2 losses at home between 1965 and 1975.
  • The college careers of basketball greats Lew Alcindor, Bill Walton, Walt Hazzard, Sidney Wicks, Marques Johnson, Ed O'Bannon and Gail Goodrich, among others.
The list goes on and on.  And, aside from these feats, I also love some of the things about Pauley that don't show up in the record book.  I love that UCLA only hangs national or NCAA championship banners there.
Unlike most schools, there are neither conference championship banners nor other tournament championship banners displayed in the building, despite the fact UCLA teams have won many tournaments and basketball championships in the Pacific Ten Conference and its predecessor conferences. Former Bruin point guard Jordan Farmar described the rationale for this during the Bruins' 2005 Final Four run, by stating, "[a]t UCLA, only national championship banners go up," reflecting an attitude on the campus of extremely high athletic expectation....

I also love that Pauley has become what one observer describes as:

[T]he summer mecca for pick-up basketball at the highest level. Magic Johnson, Shaquille O'Neal, and a host of other NBA and collegiate players flock to UCLA to enjoy basketball at a street level, but with much better than street skills.

Man, I can't tell you how cool it was to see Magic on Bruin Walk as I made my way from the dorms to class.  

And there are so many other things, both big and small, to revel in about this historic facility.  It is undeniable that Pauley enjoys a glorious history.  Alas, it is also undeniable that it's time for a change.

It's time to get serious about renovating Pauley Pavilion.  And it's time for the university, the athletic department, and yes, the alumni community - including ourselves - to get serious about doing everything possible to realize this goal.

With that said, I have put together a few posts for the coming days that I hope will help keep the pressure on those responsible for the long languishing effort to restore Pauley.

The good news is that the administration appears to be doing at least something, recently putting out an RFQ for an architect for the project.  But this isn't the first time an architect was hired, with the project still going seemingly nowhere.  So, forgive me for not getting my hopes up.  As we go, I, as always, welcome any input/insight any of you may have.

We've seen that this community has the power to influence the debate over the direction of our football program.  I'm hopeful that we can do the same thing with respect to our basketball program.  

Ladies and gents, let's get it on.

For my next installment:  Restore Pauley - Part II: Then & Now.