As the caretaker of UCLA basketball, was it more important to you to renovate rather than replace Pauley Pavilion?
Ben Howland: “That was a no-brainer. We wanted to keep the history and tradition intact so you could feel that. That’s something that was very sensitively addressed. It’s going to be so exciting when it’s complete. It’s going to be a lot of work, and it will be tough the year we’re out of the building, but long-term, big-picture, it’s great.”
Dan Guerrero said that he didn’t come to UCLA expecting to be the one who decided to move forward with the renovation, and that it just happened under his watch; do you feel the same way, or did you expect or want to see this come to fruition?
BH: “I felt like this would be something that would happen when I was here, just because of the age of the building. There are a lot of things they’re doing that are necessary just because of the plumbing and engineering. All that stuff would have to be redone at some point. This is not a surprise to me.”
How will this affect recruiting?
“It’s really going to help our recruiting efforts in the future, when you look at the kids coming back in here to see what’s being done. It’s going to be very exciting for any young man and his parents to see the new venue. How fun it will be to practice in here every day and be a part of this.”
But you wanted it to still feel like Pauley Pavilion?
“You’re still going to feel that you’re in Pauley Pavilion when you come here. That’s not ever going to change. I know that was important to Coach Wooden, and he’s the most important person when it comes to Pauley Pavilion and UCLA basketball. He knew Edwin Pauley, had great admiration and appreciation for him what it was first done, and so it was great to have Matt Pauley up here today, Edwin’s grandson.”
What was your first experience of or in Pauley Pavilion?
BH: “My first time in the building was as a young assistant, but what I remember first about Pauley is watching it on TV when I was a young man. Seeing Pauley Pavilion, hearing the band, seeing the players run out – oh, yeah, I knew of it when I was a youngster.”
Any best memory?
“My best memory in this building, that’s a tough one. I have a lot of great memories here. Probably some of my best memories, though, are when it’s the middle of practice and it’s just us and the team.”