Stokely nearly empty, memories remain

Retired associate athletics director director Gus Manning visits the Stokely Athletic Center Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012, at the University of Tennessee. The building is scheduled to be vacated by Dec. 31, with demolition to begin in the near future on a date to be determined. (Paul Efird/News Sentinel)

Photo by Paul Efird

Retired associate athletics director director Gus Manning visits the Stokely Athletic Center Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012, at the University of Tennessee. The building is scheduled to be vacated by Dec. 31, with demolition to begin in the near future on a date to be determined. (Paul Efird/News Sentinel)

Track and field trophies are stored in an old locker room shower at Stokely Athletic Center Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012, at the University of Tennessee. The building is scheduled to be vacated by Dec. 31, with demolition to begin in the near future on a date to be determined. (Paul Efird/News Sentinel)

Photo by Paul Efird // Buy this photo

Track and field trophies are stored in an old locker room shower at Stokely Athletic Center Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012, at the University of Tennessee. The building is scheduled to be vacated by Dec. 31, with demolition to begin in the near future on a date to be determined. (Paul Efird/News Sentinel)

Track and field coach J.J. Clark, right, and assistant coach Rodney Stoker check out items in a former locker room at the Stokely Athletic Center Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012, at the University of Tennessee. The building is scheduled to be vacated by Dec. 31, with demolition to begin in the near future on a date to be determined. (Paul Efird/News Sentinel)

Photo by Paul Efird // Buy this photo

Track and field coach J.J. Clark, right, and assistant coach Rodney Stoker check out items in a former locker room at the Stokely Athletic Center Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012, at the University of Tennessee. The building is scheduled to be vacated by Dec. 31, with demolition to begin in the near future on a date to be determined. (Paul Efird/News Sentinel)

Steve Ogren, right, helps remove Power-Lift  strength training equipment from the Stokely Athletic Center Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012, at the University of Tennessee. The building is scheduled to be vacated by Dec. 31, with demolition to begin in the near future on a date to be determined. (Paul Efird/News Sentinel)

Photo by Paul Efird // Buy this photo

Steve Ogren, right, helps remove Power-Lift strength training equipment from the Stokely Athletic Center Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012, at the University of Tennessee. The building is scheduled to be vacated by Dec. 31, with demolition to begin in the near future on a date to be determined. (Paul Efird/News Sentinel)

Post-collegiate pole vaulters train at the Stokely Athletic Center Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012, at the University of Tennessee. The building is scheduled to be vacated by Dec. 31, with demolition to begin in the near future on a date to be determined. (Paul Efird/News Sentinel)

Photo by Paul Efird // Buy this photo

Post-collegiate pole vaulters train at the Stokely Athletic Center Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012, at the University of Tennessee. The building is scheduled to be vacated by Dec. 31, with demolition to begin in the near future on a date to be determined. (Paul Efird/News Sentinel)

As longtime University of Tennessee athletic department employee Gus Manning walked through the numerous hallways of Stokely Athletics Center on Thursday, he said hello to countless fellow athletic department staffers.

He was also saying goodbye to one old friend — Stokely itself.

"I hate to see it go, but it was great during its tenure," the 89-year-old said as he offered a lengthy tour of the aging facility to the News Sentinel. "It was great in its days.

"(Former UT men's basketball coach) Ray Mears really got things going here in this building."

As has been announced, the building, opened in 1958, will be entirely vacated by Dec. 31, with demolition scheduled to begin soon on a date to be determined.

The UT Bookstore-operated Vol souvenir shop inside closed Saturday, and the remaining athletic department employees who have been using the building will be relocated to various other athletic-related facilities around campus in the next few days.

The Army and Air Force ROTC departments are now in Hoskins Library and will later occupy the Panhellenic Building, while the Alumni Call Center will be in Andy Holt Tower.

A variety of factors have sealed its doom.

"The tear-down decision was due to the prohibitive cost of renovating the building and bringing it up to the latest fire codes and ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) codes, plus the need to make the space available for alternative use in the future," said UT spokesman Charles Primm.

Although no firm decision has been made long term for the site, it will likely initially serve campus parking needs.

According to former UT development director Charlie Brakebill can still recall a time when the building was the new thing on campus.

The idea for an expanded basketball arena in Stokely came about in a rather roundabout manner, he said. A smaller, 7,800-seat facility using the current west end entrance opened in 1958.

Using Defense Department funds in its construction and housing ROTC offices from the start, the building was initially called the Armory-Fieldhouse.

However, a few years later Brakebill was riding around with UT president Dr. Andy Holt and UT benefactor William B. Stokely Jr. of the Stokely-Van Camp canning company in Holt's green Pontiac.

Brakebill remembered that Holt pointed to a site and said that was where the university hoped to build the William B. Stokely Theater.

"Mr. Stokely replied, 'Well, Andy, you can use the money I've already given toward a theater if you want, but I didn't care much about theater when I was in school."

Stokely's father had played sports at UT, and eventually UT determined that his $500,000 gift should go to expanding the fieldhouse to 12,700 seats. Officials also decided to give it a new name — Stokely Athletics Center.

Brakebill recalled that Stokely was able to view the nearly completed facility — with a reconfigured court — on Oct. 15, 1966, on a weekend when Tennessee played Alabama in football. But he died just two days later while visiting his mother in Newport.

While Stokely helped build the arena, Mears filled the seats. With his enthusiastic style that included wearing an orange sport coat and offering entertaining halftime shows, he turned Tennessee into a winning basketball program after his arrival in 1962.

Under Mears and later Don DeVoe, the Vols won or tied for Southeastern Conference regular season championships in 1967, 1972, 1977 and 1982. For a time the games were played on a tartan court instead of the traditional wood. Mears and DeVoe had a combined 19-6 record at Stokely against traditional power Kentucky.

While the Vol men often struggled in the NCAA tournament during the years they played in Stokely, the Lady Vols did not.

Under Summitt, they won their first NCAA title in 1987 and played their first three tournament games at Stokely before Thompson-Boling Arena opened the following December.

Stokely also hosted a memorable NCAA men's tournament game between Kentucky and Louisville in 1983, was the scene of the John Tate-Mike Weaver WBA heavyweight title fight in 1980, and hosted many indoor track meets.

Numerous graduation exercises were held there as well as a number of music concerts. Elvis Presley came there three times — in 1972, 1974 and 1977 — as did such diverse singers as Janis Joplin and Glen Campbell and comedian Steve Martin.

"To me going over there and walking around is like going down memory lane," said Brakebill. "Almost everyone will have a memory about Stokely."

Brakebill, 88, saw Presley the final time he performed before his death. He remembers paying $30 per ticket and that the noted singer's plane was late arriving.

Manning met Presley during one of his visits to Stokely.

"I sat down there and talked with him," he recalled. "He was a nice guy. But I didn't think much of the Memphis Mafia (his entourage)."

As Manning toured the facility Thursday, he pointed out where some of the famous visitors had been. The music stars usually used a dressing room near a short hallway running track and the former equipment cage, he said.

The office belonging to such UT football coaches as Doug Dickey, Bill Battle and Johnny Majors was located just around the corner from where the UT spirit team offices are, while former athletic director Bob Woodruff's now-closed office was just off from a room used recently by the UT sports photographers.

Mears' former office in Room 255 has been occupied by Eric Trainer of the sports information office.While many of these former legends are deceased or retired, plenty of tangible reminders of the building's history can still be found. Metal bar-covered doors showed where Army ROTC guns had been kept, and classic vintage chalkboards could be found throughout the mammoth building.

The original locker rooms and shower facilities are down in the basement.

In one shower area, trophies of past Vol sports champions were standing in a haphazard manner.

Tennessee track coach J.J. Clark, one of the last to have an office in Stokely, was looking over the trophies and trying to comprehend the bigger picture of the building's demise.

"There's a ton of history here," he said. "I remember coming here for basketball games. Time has passed it by a little bit."

A sentimental feeling seemed to be felt nearly everywhere by those being greeted by Manning on his tour.

"I've been here 21 years," said UT spirit program coach Joy Postell-Gee, who has recently occupied the office of former UT assistant athletic director and football player Gene Moeller. "It is emotional for me because I have a lot of memories."

Former Tennessee pole vaulter and 2004 Olympic gold medalist Tim Mack on Thursday was working with a handful of post-collegiate pole vaulters inside the same cavernous arena where Mears had vaulted the basketball team to new heights. But Mack was coaching in a lot quieter manner than Mears once did.

"I took a lot of jumps in this place," he said. "I'm kind of sad. There are a lot of memories in here. Even though it is dark and dreary in here, I love being in here."

Manning and Brakebill, who have seen the building's entire history, also find it hard to say goodbye.

"It's a part of my life," said Manning.

Added Brakebill, "To me seeing the demolition ball take down old Stokely is comparable to losing an old friend and maybe even a family member.

"They can tear down old Stokely, but they can't take away the memories."

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Comments » 39

bob.bigorange#605842 writes:

Memories. Graduation at SAC. Monumental games there - my 1st game was the night Ron Widby scored 50 to set the then-UT record for points in a game; and a FR named Pete Maravich playing in the Freshman game beforehand. Ahhh, this is TRULY then end of an era. And we need another university presidents such as an Andy Holt!!!!!!!

ULTIMATEVOLUNTEER writes:

My favorite memory of Stokely was UT with Reggie Johnson and Willie Burton beating highly ranked Minnesota who had Kevin Mchale (Celtics) Trent Tucker(Knicks)Randy Bruer (Bucks)and I think one more pro.

Sir_Spanky writes:

Some things just shouldn't be torn down. Period. No matter what the reason.

ColdBlackWind writes:

I worked a summer job while attending UT back in 1973. I worked for the athletics department on the grounds crew. We mowed, painted, cleaned etc. Phil Fulmer was on the crew. There was a practice bubble behind and across the street from Stokely. We were doing some sort of work inside the gym when Gary Valbuena, a back-up QB, walked out of the bubble, into Stokely, under the basketball goal to the foul line. He had a football and stopped at the foul line and threw

the ball into the goal on the other end of the court. It sailed right over the front of the rim and swished the net. That is when I realized how good the starting QB had to be. His name was Condredge. Hate to see the old place go. W

TheEffect writes:

in response to Sir_Spanky:

Some things just shouldn't be torn down. Period. No matter what the reason.

Agreed. Certainly it would have cost millions to renovate, but you can never replace such priceless venues.

tnbigg writes:

I hate that this is happening but I guess it is what it is. I'll never forget wrestling practice downstairs with the doors closed and the heat turned up to the highest level. I'll never forget Ray Mears and some of his great teams including "The Ernie & Bernie Show". Seeing Goose Creek Symphony and others perform there. Great...great memories...

jkreis#632254 writes:

As a 12 yr old kid I used to ride my bike up to campus with a buddy and we would slip into Stokley and shoot baskets on the Tartan floor until Bob Davis would come around and shew us out. Years later as an athlete at UT, I had a good laugh with Bob about that. On one of those trips we went into Stokley to find the seats pulled back exposing the track and Karl Kremser was practicing the high jump while a bunch of football and track athletes were playing basketball on one goal that was still up. Kremser had my buddy and me try the high jump which started my love of track and field. Lots of great memories there, from Ron Widby scoring 50 vs LSU, seeing Pete Maravich's magic and especially Ernie & Bernard taking it to UK! Oh yeah, and the sting concert wasn't bad either!

JohnnyU writes:

I saw a lot of basketball games there, registered and picked up my class schedules there, and went through commencement there. Sad to see it go.

rainbow6 writes:

Too many memories of the place to mention. Billy Hahn, Bill
Justus , Ernie and Bernie, Howard Bayne, Larry McIntosh , Ron Widby, Red Robbins, Tom Boerwinkle, Orby Lee Bowling, Danny Schultz, Tom ( last name escapes me) known as " spook" because he resembled early Tenn star player Carl "spook" Widseth , the team running through the "T",the pregame warmup circle,a basketball player turned unicycle rider , asst coach Stu Aberdeen, asst coach Cliff Wettig, and so many more. We had great seats before it was doubled in size and the floor turned to accommodate the changes. Coach Mears was a man to watch any night. He was the most demonstrative coach I have ever known. Against Buffalo, one night in the "Vol Classic" tournament Tennessee had a 21 point lead and was holding the ball for the last shot before half time ( this was before the shot clock came in to being)... Tennessee turned the ball over ...Coach Mears went ballistic ...he jumped up off of the bench and flailed his arms in anger ....papers , pens and cards flew out of his coat and shirt pockets and covered the floor. Coach Mears did not stop to pick them up but stomped off toward the locker room.
He was a very passionate man .

WhiteHotBleedOrange writes:

I saw the Elton John "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" show there in fall of '74. Still to this day about the best show I have ever seen.
As a freshman in '75, I was at almost every game at Stokely that the "Ernie and Bernie Show" played. What great basketball!! I remember we felt so big time when we made the cover of Sports Illustrated.
During the World's Fair of 1980, my father and I made a day of it one Saturday. We had lunch in the Sunsphere (crown jewel of any vacation...ha) and then I scalped front row tickets for an NBA exhibition game that night at Stokely. It wasn't just any game...Celtics vs Sixers. Last preseason game before the regular season started so ALL the stars played. Bird, Dr. J, McHale, Parrish, Malone, etc. What a game!! 102-100 Celtics. My dad was in awe.
I moved to ATL for a teaching/coaching position, but I always came back for home football games. Many times I would take a buddy with me to see the game then I would tour them through Stokely (it was always open).
Memories of SAC are priceless to me.

WhiteHotBleedOrange writes:

Oh, I forgot that I had a class in Stokely! MWF 7:50am Spanish I. Seems I did not make enough of those classes after Thursday nights on The Strip. To this day, no habla Espanol!

TommyJack writes:

ROTC

SevenT writes:

Kentucky was flat out cheated by paid for refs many times in that dump of a building, and the master cheater was Ray Mears and his stupid orange jacket and unicylists. Good Riddance, the property will be better served as a parking lot.

Just Saying

underthehill writes:

in response to Sir_Spanky:

Some things just shouldn't be torn down. Period. No matter what the reason.

The only thing at UT I would even consider making a contribution to at this time would be to update Stokely and keep it as historical building.

underthehill writes:

in response to rainbow6:

Too many memories of the place to mention. Billy Hahn, Bill
Justus , Ernie and Bernie, Howard Bayne, Larry McIntosh , Ron Widby, Red Robbins, Tom Boerwinkle, Orby Lee Bowling, Danny Schultz, Tom ( last name escapes me) known as " spook" because he resembled early Tenn star player Carl "spook" Widseth , the team running through the "T",the pregame warmup circle,a basketball player turned unicycle rider , asst coach Stu Aberdeen, asst coach Cliff Wettig, and so many more. We had great seats before it was doubled in size and the floor turned to accommodate the changes. Coach Mears was a man to watch any night. He was the most demonstrative coach I have ever known. Against Buffalo, one night in the "Vol Classic" tournament Tennessee had a 21 point lead and was holding the ball for the last shot before half time ( this was before the shot clock came in to being)... Tennessee turned the ball over ...Coach Mears went ballistic ...he jumped up off of the bench and flailed his arms in anger ....papers , pens and cards flew out of his coat and shirt pockets and covered the floor. Coach Mears did not stop to pick them up but stomped off toward the locker room.
He was a very passionate man .

Not sure who was called Spook but UT had a guy named Hendrix who ran the baseline in the zone..could that be him...

Titan writes:

in response to SevenT:

Kentucky was flat out cheated by paid for refs many times in that dump of a building, and the master cheater was Ray Mears and his stupid orange jacket and unicylists. Good Riddance, the property will be better served as a parking lot.

Just Saying

With comments like that, believe you should change your name to ZeroT. I'm sure no team has ever been robbed at Rupp.

underthehill writes:

in response to SevenT:

Kentucky was flat out cheated by paid for refs many times in that dump of a building, and the master cheater was Ray Mears and his stupid orange jacket and unicylists. Good Riddance, the property will be better served as a parking lot.

Just Saying

Could you be more specific and to how ky was cheated..name the players involved and what the calls were and I'll be glad to explain to you that you are wrong..I have amazing memory of these events at Stokely..

Vols4Ever writes:

in response to SevenT:

Kentucky was flat out cheated by paid for refs many times in that dump of a building, and the master cheater was Ray Mears and his stupid orange jacket and unicylists. Good Riddance, the property will be better served as a parking lot.

Just Saying

I had the fortune of timing and the privilege personally witnessing Ray and Stu orchestrate the Ernie and Bernie show to beat Joe B. Hall and the 'Cheating Cats in that hallowed environment. Heated rivalry and BBall at its best.

ULTIMATEVOLUNTEER writes:

Bernard King owned, refinanced, and owned again the Kentucky Wildcats.

doctorvol#211700 writes:

in response to SevenT:

Kentucky was flat out cheated by paid for refs many times in that dump of a building, and the master cheater was Ray Mears and his stupid orange jacket and unicylists. Good Riddance, the property will be better served as a parking lot.

Just Saying

All Ky has ever had was hoops, and when a game is lost, scarred for life. 6-19, bitter to the end.

General_Jack writes:

Sad... I remember going to basketball camps in Stokely. And my first Tennessee basketball game.

General_Jack writes:

in response to SevenT:

Kentucky was flat out cheated by paid for refs many times in that dump of a building, and the master cheater was Ray Mears and his stupid orange jacket and unicylists. Good Riddance, the property will be better served as a parking lot.

Just Saying

Funny that Tennessee, being a football school, owned Kentucky basketball in that building. No wonder you're glad to see it gone.

oldschoolvol writes:

in response to WhiteHotBleedOrange:

I saw the Elton John "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" show there in fall of '74. Still to this day about the best show I have ever seen.
As a freshman in '75, I was at almost every game at Stokely that the "Ernie and Bernie Show" played. What great basketball!! I remember we felt so big time when we made the cover of Sports Illustrated.
During the World's Fair of 1980, my father and I made a day of it one Saturday. We had lunch in the Sunsphere (crown jewel of any vacation...ha) and then I scalped front row tickets for an NBA exhibition game that night at Stokely. It wasn't just any game...Celtics vs Sixers. Last preseason game before the regular season started so ALL the stars played. Bird, Dr. J, McHale, Parrish, Malone, etc. What a game!! 102-100 Celtics. My dad was in awe.
I moved to ATL for a teaching/coaching position, but I always came back for home football games. Many times I would take a buddy with me to see the game then I would tour them through Stokely (it was always open).
Memories of SAC are priceless to me.

I too, saw the Yellow Brick Road concert, however, I believe it was the fall of 73, my freshman year at UT. As you said it is still the best concert I have ever seen. Elton was crazy wild back then and when he ended the concert with "Saturday Nights Alright for Fighin'", Stokley exploded. I saw every home game during my 4 years at UT. With all due respect to Coach Battle and the FootVols the atmosphere in Neyland did not come close to matching the excitement in Stokley during the Ernie and Bernie years. My buddies and me would routinely camp out in line for student tickets to SEC games just to get an opportunity to see The Show. Of all my many great memories of UT sports and there are at lot of them, not many match those that Coach Mears gave us during those magical yeaars. Time to move on though, and create new memories in TBA. Go Vols!

DebKY writes:

Wonderful memories for our family who attended games supporting our brother that played for the University of Tennessee. That is why this Kentucky gal bleeds ORANGE!!!!!

NCSmoky writes:

I worked for campus entertainment board doing security and roadie duties for concerts in Stokely. One year I was assigned as security for Kenny Rogers dressing room . . . Johnny Majors' office. They told me that no one was allowed in the dressing room/office after 7:30pm. At 7:35, coach Majors walks up and starts to go into his office. I rather sheepishly informed him that I was told not to let anyone but Kenny into the office after 7:30. He looked at me for a long moment and then smiled and said "That's all right son, I'll come back tomorrow." Of course, I would have let him in had he pressed the issue. I thought that was really classy of Coach not to pressure a nervous young kid such as I.

NCSmoky writes:

In 1977, I finally broke down and purchased a ticket for the Elvis concert in Stokely. The day before the concert, a girl I knew from high school called and asked if I could get her a ticket. I told her there was no way at such a late date. She pressed and said she would just died if she couldn't see Elvis. I finally caved in and said, "He'll be back in 1979 anyway, so you can have my ticket." We met outside Stokely so I could give her the ticket and she went inside.

I sat outside on the rock and listened to 2001/CC Rider and then went home determined to see the king in two years.

I did make it back to Stokely that night just in time to hear the words, "Elvis has left the building." Little did I know then that in just a few short weeks, those words would be spoken for the last time.

Just two of many memories of SAC. Wish I could be there to see it one more time before its gone.

gobigorange5090 writes:

in response to SevenT:

Kentucky was flat out cheated by paid for refs many times in that dump of a building, and the master cheater was Ray Mears and his stupid orange jacket and unicylists. Good Riddance, the property will be better served as a parking lot.

Just Saying

Awwwwwwwwww. Poor poor Kentucky! Awwwwwwwwwww

Nunshalpass writes:

in response to SevenT:

Kentucky was flat out cheated by paid for refs many times in that dump of a building, and the master cheater was Ray Mears and his stupid orange jacket and unicylists. Good Riddance, the property will be better served as a parking lot.

Just Saying

and of course kentucky has never been known to cheat... but anybody that beats them must have, right troll?

tomoleigho#364236 writes:

Lots of memories.
But it was really a pit. I remember when I first stepped into there in 1976 and thought "really?".
Horrible views, made out of tin. Yes, we beat UK a few times, but it was a pit.Goodbye Stokely

FWBVol writes:

In the fall of 1976 I had a Military Science class in Stokely that was basically a military historsy class that any student could take without any ROTC obligations. It was one of the courses a lot of football players took because it was an easy A. Jimmy Noonan, the great UT nose tackle was in the class as were some other football players.

The ticket office was in SAC at that time and the old Beer Barrel Trophy for the Tennessee-Kentucky football game was kept in the ticket office. A couple of days before the UT-Kentucky game, that was played in Knoxville that year, some Kentucky students drive down to Knoxville and go into Stokey and asked the person in the ticket office for the barrel. Every indication was they were very polite.

Word had it that the person in the ticket office called Gus Manning and after several minutes they called UT campus police and had the UK students detained. They couldn't detain them for being in Stokely as it was a public building and was unlocked so they didn't break and enter. They couldn't detain them for asking for the barrel. The kids were detained for parking in a faculty parking lot. After letting them sweat for a few hours, the UK students were sent back to Lexington without the Beer Barrel. It didn't matter, UK won the game that Saturday and a day or two later Bill Battle stepped down as the UT football coach.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to SevenT:

Kentucky was flat out cheated by paid for refs many times in that dump of a building, and the master cheater was Ray Mears and his stupid orange jacket and unicylists. Good Riddance, the property will be better served as a parking lot.

Just Saying

A UK fan is absolutely the LAST person who should be talking about refs favoring the home team! Have you already forgotten how last year Cal TOLD the refs, PUBLICLY, how he wanted the game called with the Vols? Sure enough, two fouls called in the first two minutes against Maymon! Given a couple of minutes to reflect, I could name a good half-dozen or more similar travesties. UK's problem is not that the refs favor their opponents on the road, it is that they are not used to playing anybody when the refs DON'T favor them.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to underthehill:

Not sure who was called Spook but UT had a guy named Hendrix who ran the baseline in the zone..could that be him...

You're right, it was Tom Hendrix, but Widseth was the first to be given the nickname "Ghost", IIRC; both were very slim and pale. Hendrix had an amazing ability to fly to the corner from under the basket and often get a hand on the shot. He rarely guessed wrong on those plays either. He was a slender 6'5" or so, but had long arms and was a great leaper.

johnlg00 writes:

It will be a sad day when I return to the campus and see only an open field where that grand old barn used to be. I get the comments from some, and not necessarily trolls, who said that it was kind of cheap-looking, but what makes a building great is not so much how it looked as the things that went on there and how many memories it recalls, as shown by most of the posts on here. I will miss it.

oldster writes:

in response to JohnnyU:

I saw a lot of basketball games there, registered and picked up my class schedules there, and went through commencement there. Sad to see it go.

I'm with you. Getting that class schedule was a real blast, was it not? The game I remember most was the UT vs. Pete Maravich lead LSU game that ended with a high arching baseline shot from Rudy Kinard. The resulting celebration was the most electrifying that I have ever been around. The intimacy of Stokely contributed to that and is unlikely to be equalled in TBA.

oldster writes:

in response to rainbow6:

Too many memories of the place to mention. Billy Hahn, Bill
Justus , Ernie and Bernie, Howard Bayne, Larry McIntosh , Ron Widby, Red Robbins, Tom Boerwinkle, Orby Lee Bowling, Danny Schultz, Tom ( last name escapes me) known as " spook" because he resembled early Tenn star player Carl "spook" Widseth , the team running through the "T",the pregame warmup circle,a basketball player turned unicycle rider , asst coach Stu Aberdeen, asst coach Cliff Wettig, and so many more. We had great seats before it was doubled in size and the floor turned to accommodate the changes. Coach Mears was a man to watch any night. He was the most demonstrative coach I have ever known. Against Buffalo, one night in the "Vol Classic" tournament Tennessee had a 21 point lead and was holding the ball for the last shot before half time ( this was before the shot clock came in to being)... Tennessee turned the ball over ...Coach Mears went ballistic ...he jumped up off of the bench and flailed his arms in anger ....papers , pens and cards flew out of his coat and shirt pockets and covered the floor. Coach Mears did not stop to pick them up but stomped off toward the locker room.
He was a very passionate man .

Remember the Vol Classic or whatever the name of the Christmas tournament was when the final score was 11-7 and Mears had the Vols scrimmage for a while after to give he fans a bit of a show for our money? I was there and remember 7 footer Len Kosmalski hitting a reverse layup on his way off the floor.

oldster writes:

in response to SevenT:

Kentucky was flat out cheated by paid for refs many times in that dump of a building, and the master cheater was Ray Mears and his stupid orange jacket and unicylists. Good Riddance, the property will be better served as a parking lot.

Just Saying

This is so so typical of a UK fan. UK has never lost a basketball game. They only had them taken away by cheating refs. I know this because one of my Dad's friends from his time at WLEX radio told us so. You may remember Caywood Ledford (I went to Byant Station when we lived in Lexington).

BeaFanNotaFanatic writes:

in response to General_Jack:

Funny that Tennessee, being a football school, owned Kentucky basketball in that building. No wonder you're glad to see it gone.

What's really funny is you think UT is a "football school"! UT is a women's basketball school that happens to field a football team.

JWilly writes:

One of my favorite Ky basketball stories was when some sportscaster asked Pat Riley in his rookie NBA season "What was the biggest adjustment he had to make from playing at UK to playing in the NBA?" His answer was "The salary decrease."

orangecountyvols writes:

JohnlG and Oldster,

Enjoyed your putting the punk kid, Seven times a loser..........in his place. Could it be he's ticked off because the current edition of the one and dones isn't faring so well?

Truly amazing how these trolls are drawn to this site isn't it? They sorta' remind you of wrestling on t.v..........all fakes.

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