A collection of former UVA basketball stars gather for one last look at the building that created so many memories.
“My most fondest memories are the people. I’m talking the janitors, the cleaning people, the equipment managers, the fans and all the people that made this place, a special place to walk into every day and feel good and it created smiles,” former UVA basketball alumna Dawn Staley said.
The day marking the end of a chapter in Virginia basketball history. University Hall was home for the Hoos’ basketball teams for four decades and turned players like Ralph Sampson into legends.
“It’s a sad day. I call it a funeral, it’s the death of a great building,” UVA legend Ralph Sampson said. “It’s an amazing ride to have some of those guys here. I couldn’t come here and implode this building without those guys.”
“It was a lot louder than I thought it was going to be. I don’t know, it was weird to see an entire building fall and nothing else fall around it,” current UVA basketball player Austin Katstra said.
And just like that, UHall is now history. It took a little less than 15 minutes for the smoke to clear as now UVA athletics moves forward with their master plan.
Eventually the space will be converted into practice fields, which will be ready in just over a year.
“This is huge not just for the university but it’s huge for our current student athletes, and we’ve got a great opportunity to really grow as a department and with men’s basketball winning the national championship just showed everyone that you don’t have to compromise any standards, UVA Athletic Director Carla WIlliams said.
While the building may be gone, the legacy remains a foundation for current and future Wahoos.
“We definitely just have to continue what was left for us in UHall with all the great players that played there from Ralph to Brian to John Crotty and all those guys, so just to be able to continue what started for us,” Katstra said.
But first, it’s time to clean up what the implosion left behind. The secondary demolition of the famous clamshell roof begins on Tuesday.