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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

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The history of Hofheinz Pavilion will not be forgotten


Hofheinz Pavilion had its own personality. There was a magic to Hofheinz, even during the toughest and ugliest of games. | Courtesy of UH Athletics

Tilman Fertitta walked out of Hofheinz Pavilion with the last game ball ever to be used in the arena. At the end of Sunday’s game, the days of the Pavilion came to a close. All the history, all the wins and all the good times have become a memory.

I remember going to Hofheinz as a kid, thinking how different it looked compared to all the other basketball arenas.

Hofheinz Pavilion was its own; it had its own personality. No other arena felt as wide open as it did.
Whenever there was energy through the crowd, you could feel it all throughout the Pavilion.
You were never cut off from the game, no matter if you were grabbing snacks by either of the entrances or heading to one of the few bathrooms on either side of the circle.

There was a magic to Hofheinz, even during the toughest, ugliest games.

So thank you, Hofheinz, for being part of the Golden Age of University of Houston sports.
It was the house that Guy V. Lewis, whom the court is named after, built. In the early ’80s, Houston basketball was the best thing going in college sports as Phi Slama Jama put Hofheinz on the map and ultimately changed the way college basketball was played.

All the memories of future NBA Hall of Famers Hakeem Olajuwon (the man who took the final shot at Hofheinz) and Clyde Drexler started at Hofheinz.

The 1982-1983 team was so important and spectacular that ESPN made a documentary detailing how great Phi Slama Jama was. Throughout the documentary, Hofheinz was always there; the home of the greatest team that could’ve won it all.

Men’s basketball, however, wasn’t the only sport played in the pavilion. Women’s basketball and women’s volleyball also called it home. Though their legacies aren’t as well known, both teams have had their moments and are important to many Cougars, past and present.

There is a lot of history we shouldn’t forget and hope to preserve. Hofheinz was, and for the time being still is, a staple to being a Cougar. The taunts thrown at the opposing team as they line up for a free throw is the embodiment of school spirit that football games never seemed to encompass. We will miss the heckling crowd and the band singing songs like “It’s a Small World” and the theme to Spongebob Squarepants.

But it’s more than past time to make some sort of renovation. From the outside it looked like a building that had seen more years than it could handle. The inside looked old and as though a facelift was necessary years ago.

We should all be thankful that Tilman Fertitta stepped in and helped to create a new home for Cougar basketball and volleyball. In 2018, when Fertitta walks onto the court with the game ball, introducing the new Fertitta Center, the history of where the center stands won’t be forgotten.

In the end, the University won’t soon forget the history of Hofheinz, even if the building no longer stands. So thank you, Hofheinz Pavilion, for everything.

Assistant opinion editor Jorden Smith is a political science and creative writing junior and can be reached at [email protected]

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