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Former UVa player Richard Morgan (left) passes the ceremonial "last ball" along in a fireline of former players in University Hall at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville on Sunday, March 5, 2006. The event celebrated the "closing" of the basketball arena.

Thirteen years after Virginia’s final basketball game at University Hall, demolition of the Cavaliers’ home for more than 40 years will be completed Saturday in Charlottesville. The following story from the archives was written before UVa’s final game at U-Hall in 2006 by longtime UVa sportswriter Doug Doughty. It was published May 3, 2006. Read the story from after the game here.

Doughty saw his first basketball game at University Hall in 1970 and later took the floor for Hot Dog Night, a 1986 women’s game and halftime media scrimmage that caused the capacity to be reduced for posterity.


The sadness in Richard Morgan's voice mail was unmistakable, as if some horrible misfortune had befallen his family or the Hampton basketball program he serves as an assistant coach.

"This is a bad time," Morgan said. "I'll be in mourning all week."

Eventually, a chuckle was detectable in Morgan's voice, but he expects a flood of memories Sunday when Virginia entertains Maryland for what is being billed as "The Last Ball in U-Hall."

"I wouldn't miss it for anything," he said.

Starting next season, Virginia's basketball programs will play in the new 15,000-seat John Paul Jones Arena, and leave University Hall, hub of UVa's athletic programs for the past 40 years.

Few players have been as closely identified with University Hall as Morgan, who celebrated his final home game in 1989 by leaving the floor and running into the stands to hug his mother, Lola. Center court at U-Hall is also the place where Morgan proposed to his wife, Sherelle, at a celebrity game sponsored by ex-UVa football star Herman Moore.

Lola Morgan died suddenly in 2002 and Richard knows it will be difficult to look into Section 11 and not think of her or their 1989 embrace, which, in true Morgan fashion, was totally unplanned.

"Never talked about it; never discussed it with coach [Terry] Holland," said Morgan, previously a schoolboy star at Salem High School. "I just said to him, 'Am I coming out of the game for good?' He hit me with a puzzled look like, 'Yeah, why would you ask that?' I said, 'Cause I've got to do something.'

"I took off to the other end and he was telling people, 'I can't believe he's really going to do this.' Mark Cooke was my roommate. I never told him I was going to do it. It was just something, at the end, that felt like the right thing to do. I said, 'If I get in trouble, I get in trouble. I'm going up there to thank my mom for getting me through those four years."

Morgan's jersey isn't hanging from the rafters, nor was he an All-American, but he was about as good as it gets for a two-month span late in his senior year. By the time Morgan scored 34 points in his final home game, he already had hit for a career-high 39 points in a 106-83 romp over eighth-ranked North Carolina.

"That was a magical night," said Dave Odom, who coached the North Carolina game in the absence of Holland, who missed six games that season during one of his periodic bouts with stomach problems. "It was one of those nights when the stars were all lined up. It was truly a Wahoo night.

"Then, that last game [against Maryland], that was vintage Richard. He was always so uninhibited. I've seen tennis players run into the crowd after winning the U.S. Open, but, in basketball? In 41 years, I've never seen anything like that."

In this era of commercialization, when arenas change names with every stroke of a check, Virginia's home remained University Hall till the end. Nobody can remember exactly how the name came about, but it was almost immediately shortened to U-Hall.

"My first memory of the place was when Terry called me and said, 'Look, come up here, and we'll get together with [assistant] Jim Larranaga at U-Hall,'" said Odom, previously the head coach at East Carolina. "Honest, I thought he was talking about the rental place.

"He acted like I should know where it was, and I was too embarrassed to ask. I drove up with [wife] Lynn and we stopped at the 'Corner.' After we walked around for a while, I finally asked somebody, 'Do you know where the U-Haul is?' He said, 'Do you mean University Hall?'"

By then, University Hall was in its teenage years, having opened in 1965. The UVa men's basketball team had spent 42 seasons at Memorial Gym, which housed a variety of teams and still serves as home to the Cavalier volleyball and wrestling programs. Its seating capacity was listed as 2,800.

"We couldn't wait to get out of there," said Gene Corrigan, a former UVa athletic director who is now retired and lives in Albemarle County. "It was just totally inadequate for everything. University Hall was really big at the time; [Scott] Stadium still had only 23,000 seats. It was sort of a recognition that we were in the ACC."

University Hall was built for $4 million -- "That was a lot of money then," Corrigan said -- but that figure pales in comparison to the estimates of $129.8 million for the new building.

"At the time [University Hall] was going up, Steve Sebo was the AD and he was a football guy," Corrigan said, "and I don't think there was that much participation by the athletic department, not like they're having with the new building.

"The architects took it over and putting that [circular] roof on it like they did, it looked good but it meant you could never expand it. There was nothing you could do with it. There were a lot of things, if people had looked to the future, they might have been able to do then. People were more interested in that unique design than anything else."

Corrigan, who later became commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference, was the sports information director at Virginia when Kentucky came to University Hall for the opening game Dec. 4, 1965. The Wildcats were coached by Adolph Rupp and were led by current Miami Heat coach Pat Riley, who had a game-high 29 points in Kentucky's 99-73 win.

That Kentucky team had another distinction, it was the opponent when Texas Western became the first team to win an NCAA title with an all-black starting five, the story that was the subject of the movie release, "Glory Road."

Corrigan will be at Sunday's game, just as he was last Sunday, when his niece, Debbie Ryan, coached the Cavalier women in their last home game. Holland, now the athletic director at East Carolina, has a possible conflict with the ECU women's basketball team but expects to be on hand to greet more than 100 former players, parents, spouses and children.

One of the ex-players, late 1960s center Norm Carmichael, will be accompanied by his 98-year-old father. Long after Norm had completed his eligibility, Mr. Carmichael held onto his tickets.

"He had a distinctive whistle that you couldn't miss," said former Cavalier star Barry Parkhill. "Back then, there were doors on the aisles going down to the floor and his seat was right next to one. If he didn't like an official's call, everybody could hear him pounding the door."

Invited guests Sunday will include 2,000-point scorers Ralph Sampson and Bryant Stith; Seattle SuperSonics president Wally Walker, who was tournament MVP when UVa won its lone ACC men's basketball championship in 1976; and 1972 ACC player of the year Parkhill, an assistant AD who has been at the forefront of fundraising efforts for the new building.

Sampson, a three-time national player of the year, said he will be joined by his parents, his sisters and many of the same relatives and friends he ushered through the back door of University Hall when he played his final home game for the Cavaliers in 1983

"I probably could have let in another 10,000 if the word had gotten out," he said.

Sampson had played at Harrisonburg High School, which won three Group AA championships at a time when all the state tournaments were held at University Hall. One year, Harrisonburg and archrival Robert E. Lee of Staunton tied for the Valley District championship and held a playoff game at University Hall.

"U-Hall will always be a place I consider home," Sampson said. "I remember, when I came to UVa for my visit, [ex-player] Tommy Hicks had written Ralph's House on top of the building."

All former head coaches and assistant head coaches have been invited to the ceremonies today. Odom is having a tough year at South Carolina, which is 14-14 after losing four games in a row and he has mixed feelings about leaving his team -- however briefly -- after a Saturday game with Auburn.

"When the invitation came, I looked at it for days," Odom said. "I'd give anything to be able to come. My wife's mad as fire that I won't do it. I don't know. Maybe I will."

When Odom coached at Wake Forest and had Tim Duncan, reporters would joke that he "owned" University Hall. In the last game he coached at U-Hall, his South Carolina team beat Virginia in the 2002 National Invitation Tournament.

That UVa team was coached by Pete Gillen, who has not responded to his invitation, "but has as much to do with this as anybody," Parkhill said. Like Gillen, American University coach Jeff Jones was fired by UVa and will not be back Sunday.

"It's not out of negativity or bitterness," said Jones, who will bring his 2006-2007 team to UVa's new building. "It's not like I'm boycotting. The Sunday [in 1998] when the decision was made and I told the team that I was not coming back, I had my time in the dark at U-Hall. I said my goodbyes at that time."

Morgan was the first in a line of long-range shooters from Southwest Virginia to play for the Cavaliers. Curtis Staples from Roanoke set an NCAA for career 3-point field goals while playing for the Cavaliers, and another Roanoker, J.R. Reynolds, is a junior who this week went over the 1,000-point mark for his career.

U-Hall has a reputation of not being kind to shooters, "but I beg to differ," said Staples, who set a school record when he hit nine 3-pointers against Nevada-Las Vegas in a 1995 home game.

Staples said the magnitude of today's ceremonies hit home when he received an e-mail from athletic director Craig Littlepage, reminding him of an RSVP deadline.

"I had put it on the backburner for a while," said Staples, whose exploits were revisited this year when another Roanoker, J.J. Redick, broke Staples' 3-point record. "The latest I'm hearing is that now they want me to get up and stay something."

Nobody has ever had to beg Morgan to share his thoughts. While he is best remembered as part of the 1989 team that made the NCAA's final eight, he also was a member of the 1986 team that beat North Carolina when the Tar Heels were unbeaten and ranked No. 1 in the country. It remains the Cavaliers' lone victory over a No. 1 team.

"I had a tip-dunk over Brad Daugherty," Morgan noted. "Don't you remember?"

Morgan's recollection is corroborated in the official play-by-play from that game. He came off the bench and hit his first four shots as UVa grabbed a 45-32 halftime lead, and he finished with 12 points, three assists and two steals in 24 minutes.

Lola and Sam Morgan were there to see every minute of it. Sam is weary from a battle from throat cancer and will not be able to make the trip Sunday, but Richard's older brother, Charlie, might come from Kingsport, Tenn.

"It's going to be tough for me Sunday," Morgan said, "It's going to be tough to go in the new building, too, knowing that all those memories will be across the street in a parking lot, if that's what they do with it. They've got to make sure and sprinkle some of the dust in the new place."

Thirteen years after Virginia’s final basketball game at University Hall, demolition of the Cavaliers’ home for more than 40 years will be completed Saturday in Charlottesville. The following story from the archives was written beforeUVa’s final game at U-Hall in 2006 by longtime UVa sportswriter Doug Doughty. It was published May 3, 2006. Read the story from after the game here.

Doughty saw his first basketball game at University Hall in 1970 and later took the floor for Hot Dog Night, a 1986 women’s game and halftime media scrimmage that caused the capacity to be reduced for posterity.


The sadness in Richard Morgan's voice mail was unmistakable, as if some horrible misfortune had befallen his family or the Hampton basketball program he serves as an assistant coach.

"This is a bad time," Morgan said. "I'll be in mourning all week."

Eventually, a chuckle was detectable in Morgan's voice, but he expects a flood of memories Sunday when Virginia entertains Maryland for what is being billed as "The Last Ball in U-Hall."

"I wouldn't miss it for anything," he said.

Starting next season, Virginia's basketball programs will play in the new 15,000-seat John Paul Jones Arena, and leave University Hall, hub of UVa's athletic programs for the past 40 years.

Few players have been as closely identified with University Hall as Morgan, who celebrated his final home game in 1989 by leaving the floor and running into the stands to hug his mother, Lola. Center court at U-Hall is also the place where Morgan proposed to his wife, Sherelle, at a celebrity game sponsored by ex-UVa football star Herman Moore.

Lola Morgan died suddenly in 2002 and Richard knows it will be difficult to look into Section 11 and not think of her or their 1989 embrace, which, in true Morgan fashion, was totally unplanned.

"Never talked about it; never discussed it with coach [Terry] Holland," said Morgan, previously a schoolboy star at Salem High School. "I just said to him, 'Am I coming out of the game for good?' He hit me with a puzzled look like, 'Yeah, why would you ask that?' I said, 'Cause I've got to do something.'

"I took off to the other end and he was telling people, 'I can't believe he's really going to do this.' Mark Cooke was my roommate. I never told him I was going to do it. It was just something, at the end, that felt like the right thing to do. I said, 'If I get in trouble, I get in trouble. I'm going up there to thank my mom for getting me through those four years."

Morgan's jersey isn't hanging from the rafters, nor was he an All-American, but he was about as good as it gets for a two-month span late in his senior year. By the time Morgan scored 34 points in his final home game, he already had hit for a career-high 39 points in a 106-83 romp over eighth-ranked North Carolina.

"That was a magical night," said Dave Odom, who coached the North Carolina game in the absence of Holland, who missed six games that season during one of his periodic bouts with stomach problems. "It was one of those nights when the stars were all lined up. It was truly a Wahoo night.

"Then, that last game [against Maryland], that was vintage Richard. He was always so uninhibited. I've seen tennis players run into the crowd after winning the U.S. Open, but, in basketball? In 41 years, I've never seen anything like that."

In this era of commercialization, when arenas change names with every stroke of a check, Virginia's home remained University Hall till the end. Nobody can remember exactly how the name came about, but it was almost immediately shortened to U-Hall.

"My first memory of the place was when Terry called me and said, 'Look, come up here, and we'll get together with [assistant] Jim Larranaga at U-Hall,'" said Odom, previously the head coach at East Carolina. "Honest, I thought he was talking about the rental place.

"He acted like I should know where it was, and I was too embarrassed to ask. I drove up with [wife] Lynn and we stopped at the 'Corner.' After we walked around for a while, I finally asked somebody, 'Do you know where the U-Haul is?' He said, 'Do you mean University Hall?'"

By then, University Hall was in its teenage years, having opened in 1965. The UVa men's basketball team had spent 42 seasons at Memorial Gym, which housed a variety of teams and still serves as home to the Cavalier volleyball and wrestling programs. Its seating capacity was listed as 2,800.

"We couldn't wait to get out of there," said Gene Corrigan, a former UVa athletic director who is now retired and lives in Albemarle County. "It was just totally inadequate for everything. University Hall was really big at the time; [Scott] Stadium still had only 23,000 seats. It was sort of a recognition that we were in the ACC."

University Hall was built for $4 million -- "That was a lot of money then," Corrigan said -- but that figure pales in comparison to the estimates of $129.8 million for the new building.

"At the time [University Hall] was going up, Steve Sebo was the AD and he was a football guy," Corrigan said, "and I don't think there was that much participation by the athletic department, not like they're having with the new building.

"The architects took it over and putting that [circular] roof on it like they did, it looked good but it meant you could never expand it. There was nothing you could do with it. There were a lot of things, if people had looked to the future, they might have been able to do then. People were more interested in that unique design than anything else."

Corrigan, who later became commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference, was the sports information director at Virginia when Kentucky came to University Hall for the opening game Dec. 4, 1965. The Wildcats were coached by Adolph Rupp and were led by current Miami Heat coach Pat Riley, who had a game-high 29 points in Kentucky's 99-73 win.

That Kentucky team had another distinction, it was the opponent when Texas Western became the first team to win an NCAA title with an all-black starting five, the story that was the subject of the movie release, "Glory Road."

Corrigan will be at Sunday's game, just as he was last Sunday, when his niece, Debbie Ryan, coached the Cavalier women in their last home game. Holland, now the athletic director at East Carolina, has a possible conflict with the ECU women's basketball team but expects to be on hand to greet more than 100 former players, parents, spouses and children.

One of the ex-players, late 1960s center Norm Carmichael, will be accompanied by his 98-year-old father. Long after Norm had completed his eligibility, Mr. Carmichael held onto his tickets.

"He had a distinctive whistle that you couldn't miss," said former Cavalier star Barry Parkhill. "Back then, there were doors on the aisles going down to the floor and his seat was right next to one. If he didn't like an official's call, everybody could hear him pounding the door."

Invited guests Sunday will include 2,000-point scorers Ralph Sampson and Bryant Stith; Seattle SuperSonics president Wally Walker, who was tournament MVP when UVa won its lone ACC men's basketball championship in 1976; and 1972 ACC player of the year Parkhill, an assistant AD who has been at the forefront of fundraising efforts for the new building.

Sampson, a three-time national player of the year, said he will be joined by his parents, his sisters and many of the same relatives and friends he ushered through the back door of University Hall when he played his final home game for the Cavaliers in 1983

"I probably could have let in another 10,000 if the word had gotten out," he said.

Sampson had played at Harrisonburg High School, which won three Group AA championships at a time when all the state tournaments were held at University Hall. One year, Harrisonburg and archrival Robert E. Lee of Staunton tied for the Valley District championship and held a playoff game at University Hall.

"U-Hall will always be a place I consider home," Sampson said. "I remember, when I came to UVa for my visit, [ex-player] Tommy Hicks had written Ralph's House on top of the building."

All former head coaches and assistant head coaches have been invited to the ceremonies today. Odom is having a tough year at South Carolina, which is 14-14 after losing four games in a row and he has mixed feelings about leaving his team -- however briefly -- after a Saturday game with Auburn.

"When the invitation came, I looked at it for days," Odom said. "I'd give anything to be able to come. My wife's mad as fire that I won't do it. I don't know. Maybe I will."

When Odom coached at Wake Forest and had Tim Duncan, reporters would joke that he "owned" University Hall. In the last game he coached at U-Hall, his South Carolina team beat Virginia in the 2002 National Invitation Tournament.

That UVa team was coached by Pete Gillen, who has not responded to his invitation, "but has as much to do with this as anybody," Parkhill said. Like Gillen, American University coach Jeff Jones was fired by UVa and will not be back Sunday.

"It's not out of negativity or bitterness," said Jones, who will bring his 2006-2007 team to UVa's new building. "It's not like I'm boycotting. The Sunday [in 1998] when the decision was made and I told the team that I was not coming back, I had my time in the dark at U-Hall. I said my goodbyes at that time."

Morgan was the first in a line of long-range shooters from Southwest Virginia to play for the Cavaliers. Curtis Staples from Roanoke set an NCAA for career 3-point field goals while playing for the Cavaliers, and another Roanoker, J.R. Reynolds, is a junior who this week went over the 1,000-point mark for his career.

U-Hall has a reputation of not being kind to shooters, "but I beg to differ," said Staples, who set a school record when he hit nine 3-pointers against Nevada-Las Vegas in a 1995 home game.

Staples said the magnitude of today's ceremonies hit home when he received an e-mail from athletic director Craig Littlepage, reminding him of an RSVP deadline.

"I had put it on the backburner for a while," said Staples, whose exploits were revisited this year when another Roanoker, J.J. Redick, broke Staples' 3-point record. "The latest I'm hearing is that now they want me to get up and stay something."

Nobody has ever had to beg Morgan to share his thoughts. While he is best remembered as part of the 1989 team that made the NCAA's final eight, he also was a member of the 1986 team that beat North Carolina when the Tar Heels were unbeaten and ranked No. 1 in the country. It remains the Cavaliers' lone victory over a No. 1 team.

"I had a tip-dunk over Brad Daugherty," Morgan noted. "Don't you remember?"

Morgan's recollection is corroborated in the official play-by-play from that game. He came off the bench and hit his first four shots as UVa grabbed a 45-32 halftime lead, and he finished with 12 points, three assists and two steals in 24 minutes.

Lola and Sam Morgan were there to see every minute of it. Sam is weary from a battle from throat cancer and will not be able to make the trip Sunday, but Richard's older brother, Charlie, might come from Kingsport, Tenn.

"It's going to be tough for me Sunday," Morgan said, "It's going to be tough to go in the new building, too, knowing that all those memories will be across the street in a parking lot, if that's what they do with it. They've got to make sure and sprinkle some of the dust in the new place."

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