March 5, 2006
U-Hall was packed with many eager fans Sunday, from current UVA students, to former UVA students, to people from out area that just wanted to be a part of the final game.
More than 8,000 fans crowded into the 41 year old arena. For many, there was a real connection to U-Hall.
"Everybody's come through," said Becky Walton. "You've either graduated here [or] you've brought your families here, you came as a kid and now you get to bring your own kids, so everybody's got some memory of U-Hall."
"I grew up in Charlottesville, went to Lane High School, went to UVA undergrad, and then went on to the law school...I actually watched them build University Hall. I used to play baseball across the field," said Hal Devening.
Nearly 100 former players, coaches, and managers were in the crowd. Many were honored during the game, including Ralph Sampson.
"A lot of memories and a lot of folks have traveled through here, had great times and bad times, but overall a lot of great times and a lot of great memories," said Sampson, who played at U-Hall from 1979 through 1983.
It was also a busy day at the souvenir stands. Commemorative shirts, hats, and programs were all up for sale.
"Busy day," said Jenny Abrams, who was selling some of the merchandise. "Lots of sales, people are very excited about the game and we've been very busy--Non-stop."
Of course there were those memories that will live on long after U-Hall is gone.
"I snuck into the game, Ralph Sampson's final game, and pretended like I was part of the TV crew and snuck in. I was so desperate to get into that game. I hope there's a statute of limitations on that," joked Devening.
Although many of the fans were feeling a bit sentimental with the end of an era at U-Hall, many said they'll be looking forward to the new games and a new era at the John Paul Jones Arena.