Pauley Pavilion still waterlogged

ESPN logo
Thursday, July 31, 2014

LOS ANGELES -- The House That Wooden Built is waterlogged.

Pauley Pavilion, UCLA's storied basketball arena where John Wooden coached teams that won eight of his 10 national championships, was drying out Wednesday after its court was deluged by 10 inches of water when a 93-year-old pipe burst near the campus in Westwood.

UCLA chancellor Gene Block said workers were busy cleaning up and assessing damage.

"The Pauley floor, which many people all over the world have written to me about, is drying out, and let's hope that we'll be able to repair that or replace it quickly," he said.

Kelly Schmader, UCLA's top official in charge of campus facilities, said the court is buckling and that the school is working to save it.

Athletic director Dan Guerrero said the men's and women's basketball teams will play in Pauley this fall, on either a refurbished or new court. The current court cost $500,000, he said.

The 49-year-old building containing precious artifacts from the Wooden era was renovated for $136 million less than two years ago. It has hosted some of college basketball's greatest players and moments as well as Olympic history.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Walton, Reggie Miller, Ed O'Bannon, Kevin Love and Ann Meyers starred there during their college days. The school's record 11 men's basketball national championship banners hang in the rafters.

The 13,800-seat arena is home to the men's and women's basketball teams. The men's and women's volleyball and women's gymnastics teams also compete there. It is named for former UCLA regent and chief donor Edwin Pauley.

The flooding, prompted by a water main break that shot 30 feet into the air at its peak, began near the Sunset Boulevard and Westwood Plaza intersection just after 4 p.m. local time Tuesday, according to a university website. Four hours later, the break had been shut off completely, local media reported, citing city officials.

Los Angeles officials said Wednesday that it could take several days to repair the nearly century-old pipe, which spewed some 8 million gallons of water.

The Department of Water and Power's Jeff Bray said a number of valves were still leaking water into the ruptured 30-inch pipe. He said the complex repair operation cannot begin until the pipe is completely drained.

University spokesman Richard Vazquez told The Associated Press that 739 vehicles were in flooded campus underground garages and that half were totally submerged.

Highlights of Pauley's history include:

Abdul-Jabbar, then known as Lew Alcindor, was part of the first game played in Pauley on Nov. 27, 1965. He led the freshman team against the varsity, the two-time defending national champion and preseason No. 1. The freshmen -- ineligible for the varsity in those days -- won 75-60, signaling big things to come for Alcindor & Co. The following season, he scored a school-record 56 points in his first varsity game.

UCLA became the first school to have three 30-0 seasons, with perfect records in 1967, 1972 and 1973. Wooden coached those teams, and Walton starred on the last two. The big redhead helped the Bruins open the 1972 season with wins in their first seven games, when they scored more than 100 points each time at Pauley.

Wooden coached what would be his final game in Pauley on March 1, 1975, a 93-59 victory over Stanford. Four weeks later, he stunningly announced his retirement after UCLA's win against Louisville in the NCAA tournament semifinals. The Bruins went on to beat Kentucky for Wooden's 10th national title.

The men's basketball team had a 149-2 record at Pauley from 1965 to 1975, including portions of its NCAA-record 88-game winning streak.

Nell and John Wooden Court was dedicated in 2003, with Wooden and several of his former players in attendance. He agreed to the honor only if his late wife's name was included. Wooden was a fixture at men's games in his seat behind the Bruins' bench until his death in 2010.

Pauley was the site of the gymnastics competition during the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, with American Mary Lou Retton flipping and tumbling her way to a gold medal in the women's all-around.

In the last men's basketball game before Pauley closed for renovation in 2011, the Bruins beat Arizona 71-49 and Wooden's great-grandson Tyler Trapani scored the final basket.

UCLA had its longest men's basketball winning streak of 98 games in Pauley from 1970 to 1976. It ended with a 65-45 loss to Oregon on Feb. 21, 1976.

The 1978 women's Final Four was at Pauley, with UCLA beating Maryland 90-74 to win its first women's national basketball title.

Acts as diverse as Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan, Luciano Pavarotti, Nirvana, Eric Clapton and the Grateful Dead performed in Pauley. The Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards and the 2001 "Jeopardy!" college championship were held there, too.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Related Video