Quick Dan Guerrero Q&A

After a joint media session with Dan Guerrero, I caught up with him for a few minutes, and here’s what he said…

Why the decision to renovate rather than tear down and rebuild?Dan Guerrero: “One of the driving forces to do what we’re doing is because after an analysis of the building, we came to realize that the infrastructure – the mechanical engineering, the plumbing – had outlived its useful life. We brought in two independent estimators to evaluate the situation and give us a cost for replacing those two things. The cost at that time was somewhere between $50-$60 million; there isn’t an athletic director in America who can go out and raise $60 million for pipes. So it really pushed the envelope in terms of our need to really assess and evaluate and move forward with a project – whether it was building a new project or a renovation, we knew we had to move forward.”

When did you first hope to put the plan into action?
DG: “My predecessor Pete Dalis had in the back of his mind that something needed to be done. You go back, and there have been various discussions – there was one point where they were going to hang suites from the roof structure, and they had actually received deposits for that. There were always ideas of upgrading or giving it a face-lift. When I first got here in 2002, there were a number of things we needed to do. First and foremost, we needed to increase our budget. We were at a $42 million budget, today we’re at a $65 million budget. We needed to be very aggressive in terms of our ability to optimize the various assets the campus had. As we evaluated the entire project, we looked at facilities. We needed to complete (the Acosta center), we needed to put field turf on Spaulding, we needed to make upgrades on Easton and Jackie Robinson. And then there was Pauley, which we knew would be eventually something we needed to look at. But no one signs up for this when they become an athletic director. It just sort of happens on your watch. But the responsible thing to do at this appropriate time, was to see what might be possible.”

You mentioned the term “face-lift;” is this a facelift, or major reconstructive surgery?
DG: “This isn’t a facelift. This is a major transformation. It is Pauley Pavilion, but it’s going to look like a brand-new, state of the art facility when it’s all said and done. People will clearly know its Pauley when they walk in the door – in a lot of ways, the inside of the arena will be very similar – but it will all be redone. New floor, new scoreboard, new ribbon board across the top, new seats, new bleachers that will get you closer to the court, improved amenities, more points of sale, more concessions, more bathrooms. It will be visually very pleasing, and it will be exciting.”

How important was it for you to retain the “essence” of Pauley Pavilion, rather than start from scratch?
DG: “There are a lot of basketball arenas being built across the country, and all of them are being built to aspire to what has been accomplished at Pauley. There are 11 national championship banners that are hanging in that building for men’s basketball. There aren’t too many arenas across the country that can do that. It was important to us that to the extent that we could transform Pauley, that we retain the essence of what that building stands for. You know, 39 national championships have been won by teams that perform in Pauley – volleyball, gymnastics, in addition to basketball. It means a lot to people.”

Banners going to Great Western Forum?
DG: “(Laughing) We’ll do that, no doubt. No doubt. That’s a good question. We haven’t thought about that, but yeah.”

Last question: Tell me your first Pauley Pavilion experiences.DG: “I came to UCLA in the fall of 1969, and we had already started our run, so I walked into a situation where I didn’t see our team lose very many games at Pauley Pavilion. In fact, I never saw our team lose a game at Pauley Pavilion in my four years. Student-athletes, we ran down the tunnel and got to our seats behind the basket on the east side. It was an absolute joy to watch our teams play. The Wickes-Rowe-Patterson year, Walton coming into town with Wilkes, Dave Myers, who I absolutely loved watching play. Dick Enberg doing the broadcasting, and I’d go home and watch the replay at 11 o’clock.
“It was a magical time. I’d love to be able to do that again.”

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  • Anon

    Notice how his first responsive is totally non-responsive to the question that was asked. I stopped reading after that.

  • DG for Governor

    That answer was awesome. The only thing I heard in those words was “the economic crisis took us, like everybody else, by surprise. As such, we had to jump on the first idea that seemed feasible, even if it didn’t address the majority of what people wanted, which is to say, it is just simply easier to put a face-lift on the building than to actually finance, plan, and execute on a better idea.”

    and o yeah, it “preserves the legacy that is ol’ Edwin’s arena”.

  • Slippery Pete

    Maybe Dan should watch the games next year from the 300′s section and he will find out why the project is having such a hard time raising money.

  • WHAT’S YOUR DEAL?

    Single biggest mistake on this project is not moving the 300 level seats closer to the court. 300 level fans are the people that will become your 200 level and then 100 level people in terms of being donors and buying seats. This is your pipeline of future revenue. Too many people are going to pass on 300 level seats because they’re simply too far away. Yes they may be as close as “lower bowl” seats at the Staples Center, but the perception is different when you’re at the arena. One only needs to visit UW or *gulp* USC’s Galen Center to see how effect upper level seats are when they hang over the top of the second level seats. Yes Pauley Pavilion is a multi-purpose facility but basketball should be #1 there.

    Bottom line:
    Higher priced seats and donor levels, increased seating capacity with ‘what have you done for me lately’ LA fan base = trouble.

  • Anonymous

    Dan Guerrero continues to win national championships in multiple sports while upgrading many of the athletic facilities across the campus, running a very clean program and balancing the budget every year. I wish the
    Governor and Legislature of the State was half as effective.

  • Anonymous

    I canceled my 300 level season tickets. They were too far away and it’s just to hard to get to Westwood for weekday games.

    I can get 100 level seats on Stubhub for ALL weekend games of the season for less than my season tickets cost in the 300 leve3l.

    Many games UCLA fans sell their tickets for BELOW face value, sometimes they only cost 1/4 of face value.

    There’s no benefit to being a season ticket holder.

    Some argue: Yes, but when they start winning national championships again you’ll be locked out. I say: It ain’t gonna happen. And tickets have been available for less than face value even with 3 consecutive final fours. I’m not worried, not worried at all.

  • Anonymous

    Jon, perhaps you could’ve asked despite all this malarky about moving the seats closer in on the baselines, with all the money being spent there are STILL big wasted space gaps in every corner, where. with a little more daring in the design, there could be 200 level overhangs allowing the close seating to completely surround the floor. And that’s beyond NOTHING being done to bring closer the upper unwanted 300′s which have a lousy view and lend little to the home court advantage.

  • Reformed Droog

    Just bend the rules, serve beer, and the complaining will stop.

    Just saying…