UCLA and NBA great Marques Johnson at the opening ceremony for new Pauley Pavilion.
UCLA christened the renovated Pauley Pavilion tonight with a men's basketball game against Indiana State, the only other college team that Bruins legend John Wooden coached. The game was the first to be held on the arena's new Nell and John Wooden Court. A capacity crowd of students and fans was expected.
Before the game, UCLA Chancellor Gene Block and Director of Athletics Dan Guerrero welcomed the Bruin community back to the arena after more than two years of construction. The UCLA marching band and the spirit squad performed beside the recently dedicated statue
of Coach Wooden, which faces Bruin Walk. While Block and Guerrero spoke, vintage scenes of UCLA men's basketball action were projected on the north wall of the arena.
Former Bruin basketball players Marques Johnson and Ann Meyers Drysdale were introduced to the crowd outside the arena's north entrance during a "first ticket" ceremony before the doors opened. Legends from past gymnastics and volleyball teams took part, along with coaches and current UCLA athletes.
The families of Coach Wooden and of Edwin Pauley, the late donor whose name adorns the arena, also were introduced during the pre-game ceremony. Wooden coached at Indiana State, then known as Indiana State Teachers College, from 1946-48. He joined UCLA in 1948 and coached the Bruins to ten NCAA titles and a record of 620 wins and 147 losses before retiring after the 1975 season. Wooden died of natural causes
on June 4, 2010 at the age of 99.
UCLA's women's basketball team plays its first game in new Pauley, against San Diego State, on Saturday, Nov. 10.
of Pauley Pavilion cost about $136 million and was funded through a variety of sources: private gifts, long-term debt backed by ticket sales and sponsorships, other UCLA Athletics revenues and $15 million from an existing fee paid by UCLA students to help fund earthquake and life-safety upgrades. Pauley Pavilion is operated by the UCLA Department of Cultural and Recreational Affairs for the benefit of the entire campus and is used for student welcoming ceremonies, commencement ceremonies, intramural sports and a wide variety of other events.