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Pauley Pavilion

Edwin W. Pauley Pavilion, informally and commonly known as Pauley Pavilion, is an indoor arena located on the campus of UCLA in Los Angeles, California. It is home to the UCLA Bruins men's and women's basketball teams. The men's and women's volleyball and women's gymnastics teams also play here. The building was dedicated in June, 1965, named for University of California Regent Edwin W. Pauley, who had matched the alumni contributions. Pauley donated almost one fifth of the more than $5,000,000 spent in building the arena.


Pauley Pavilion contains 10,337 permanent theater-style upholstered seats, plus retractable bleachers for 2,482 spectators, making a total basketball capacity of 12,829. This capacity has been exceeded several times for several men's basketball games by adding portable bleacher seating alongside the retractable bleachers. The single-game attendance record of 13,478 was set on February 23, 1997 (UCLA vs. Duke).

When the bleachers are retracted, there is space for three full-sized basketball courts. These courts are used for team practice, intramural games, and pickup basketball games. It can also serve as a convention hall or large dining area when in this configuration.

When used for men's volleyball, the basketball court is striped with colored tape. The volleyball net is erected at the half court line. The women's team uses blue and yellow Sport Court lined up perpendicularly to the basketball court tucked up to the east end of the court.

There is a tunnel on the south side through which trucks and service vehicles may enter. This is also the "backstage" entrance for players, performers, and broadcast personnel.

The floor is called "Nell and John Wooden Court" in honor of former UCLA Men's Basketball Coach John Wooden and his wife Nell.

UCLA Men's Basketball seating

From the opening of the building until 1987, the extra press not involved in the radio or television broadcasts sat behind the south side (team bench side) press table. The working press then moved to sit courtside at "press row" on the northern side of the court, as the south courtside seats were opened up to influential and affluent boosters. In 2003, the UCLA Athletic Department made available north side courtside seats to affluent donors. The media now sit higher up in permanent seating dead-center in the north side of the bleachers. The press move to the north side in 1987 was as controversial as the 2003 move, in that the student section was now behind the press table and big donors had taken the south side courtside seats.

The student section has moved several times as well. Since 2003, the student section of 1,750 seats occupies the north side bleachers.

The UCLA Varsity Band has also moved to accommodate seating changes. Originally, they were located on the north courtside directly across from the UCLA bench. In 1984, they moved to the northeast corner courtside. In 1996 they moved to the north side above the student section. In 2003, they moved to the west side of the arena to be courtside.



Before the construction of the Pavilion, the on-campus home to the UCLA Bruins men's basketball team was the 2,000 seat Men's Gym, disparagingly known as the "B. O. barn." and currently known as the Student Activities Center. Games were also played at the Pan Pacific Auditorium, the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena and other venues around Los Angeles.

Bruin teams coached by John Wooden won the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship in 1964 and 1965. Fans and Coach Wooden felt that a suitable arena needed to be constructed. The arena was constructed so that there would be some space between the crowds and the action on the court. Coach Wooden cited the example of the close quarters of Harmon Gym (now Haas Pavilion) where fans would pull leg hairs from his players' legs. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, then known as Lew Alcindor, was recruited to UCLA partly on the promise of playing in the new arena.

  • H.R. Haldeman [Chief on Staff of Nixon White House 1969-1973] headed the campaign to build a state-of-the-art sports arena. A million dollars was raised, which was matched by a donation from Edwin W. Pauley.
  • The building was dedicated to Regent Edwin W. Pauley, at the June 1965 commencement ceremony by UCLA Chancellor Franklin D. Murphy.
  • The facility opened for the 1965–1966 college basketball season. The first game ever played in Pauley Pavilion was on November 27, 1965. It featured the freshmen team, led by Big Lew Alcindor, against the UCLA varsity squad, the two-time defending champions and pre-season No. 1 team. The freshmen defeated the varsity team 75-60, heralding great things to come.
  • Ohio State was the first visiting team in the regular season. The varsity Bruins defeated the Buckeyes in the inaugural game 92-66.
  • Pauley Pavilion hosted its first NCAA Regional Finals in the 1969 post-season. The Bruins advanced from there to win the 1969 Championship.


  • John Wooden coached what would be his final game as varsity head coach in Pauley Pavilion March 1st, 1975 in a 93-59 victory over Stanford. Four weeks later he would surprisingly announce his retirement following the NCAA semi-final victory against Louisville and before his 10th National championship victory against Kentucky. The Bruins won 149 games to 2 losses at home between 1965 and 1975. Bruin men's basketball teams won 8 more NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championships from 1967 through 1975 under Coach Wooden.
  • UCLA's longest winning streak in men's basketball at Pauley Pavilion was 98 games. It ended on February 21, 1976, when Oregon defeated UCLA, 65-45.
  • The 1978 AIAW Women's Basketball Championship Final Four was hosted at Pauley Pavilion. UCLA defeated the University of Maryland, College Park 90-74 to win their first Women's basketball championship in front of a crowd of 9,531.


  • The first NCAA Women's Volleyball Championship was held at Pauley Pavilion in 1981, with UCLA falling to USC in the title match.
  • The building was host to the 1984 NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Tournament. It was the third championship since the NCAA championship took precedence over the AIAW championship. The USC Trojan women's basketball team defeated the University of Tennessee Lady Vols 72-61.
  • In the 1985 post-season, the Bruins hosted their first National Invitation Tournament (NIT) tournament games under coach Walt Hazzard. The Bruins won all three and advanced to the finals to win the 1985 National Invitation Tournament. In November 1985 at the intrasquad game, a banner was added in a ceremony commemorating the tournament championship. The banner was the same size and style as the NCAA championship banners. This banner subsequently was removed to make room for the 1995 National Championship banner.
  • The 1987 Pacific-10 Conference Men's Basketball Tournament, the first Pacific-10 Conference Men's Basketball Tournament, was played in Pauley Pavilion in the 1987 post-season. The Bruins were the first tournament champions.
  • The 1987 NCAA Men's Volleyball Championship was held in Pauley Pavilion. UCLA defeated USC 3 - 0 to win the title.
  • On June 28, 1987, John Wooden and Dean Smith coached against each other in an exhibition basketball game featuring alumni from both schools.
  • In the 1989–1990 season, the building was celebrated in "25 years of Pauley". A book, Pauley Pavilion: College Basketball's Showplace by David Smale, was released commemorating the great teams that played there as well as great moments in the history of the building. The first jersey numbers of outstanding players were retired and displayed in the building (see below).


  • The venue played host to the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards.
  • In 1995 the Bruins won their eleventh NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship, this time under coach Jim Harrick.
  • On October 14, 1995, the first day of practice after UCLA won its eleventh national championship in basketball, the UCLA Men's and Women's Basketball teams held UCLA's first - and heretofore only - Midnight Madness ceremony. (In NCAA rules before the 2005 season, practices could not begin until midnight of the first day. Many schools would use this as an opportunity to build support for their teams by beginning the season publicly at the first possible minute.)


  • Former UCLA coach John Wooden and his late wife were honored on December 20, 2003 when the basketball floor at Pauley Pavilion was named "Nell & John Wooden Court." Since his retirement, Coach Wooden has been a fixture at UCLA Men's Basketball games.
  • The pavilion has played host to the numerous annual Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards, including the 21st show on Saturday, March 29, 2008, with UCLA alum Jack Black as host.
  • The 2001 Jeopardy! College Championship was taped at Pauley Pavilion (November 7 through 20, 2001). Vinita Kailasanath (Stanford University) was the winner. Jayce Newton represented UCLA.
  • University officials began plans for a $110 million renovation to be completed in 2010, on Coach Wooden's 100th birthday. The university has formed a committee, including Honorary Chair John Wooden, to assist in design and funding of the renovated arena.
  • The Who were honored at the 2008 VH1 Rock Honors ceremony at the Pauley Pavilion instead of the usual Las Vegas. The concert consisted of an hour-long performance by the band as well as tributes by Incubus, Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, Flaming Lips, Adam Sandler and Tenacious D..

UCLA Championship banners

The only championship banners that are displayed within the building are for national or NCAA Championships. Unlike most schools, there are neither conference championship banners nor other tournament championship banners displayed in the building, despite the fact UCLA teams have won many tournaments and basketball championships in the Pacific Ten Conference and its predecessor conferences. Former Bruin point guard Jordan Farmar described the rationale for this during the Bruins' 2005 Final Four run, by stating, "[a]t UCLA, only national championship banners go up." The men's banners are navy blue with gold lettering, while the women's banners are gold with navy blue lettering.

There is one banner for the women's basketball AIAW championship in 1978. There are 11 individual banners for the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship teams. There are two banners for volleyball, one for the 19 men's NCAA volleyball championships and one for the three NCAA women's volleyball championships and three AIAW championships. There are two banners for gymnastics, one for the two men's NCAA gymnastics champions and one for the five NCAA women's gymnastics champions. The volleyball and gymnastics banners list all the years in which Bruin teams were NCAA or National champions.

Numbers of retired players

On February 3rd, 1990 in a ceremony in Pauley Pavilion, the first four UCLA basketball player jersey numbers were retired. This was the key moment in the "Pauley at 25" celebration of twenty-five years of the arena. The primary criteria for being chosen was that all four players were three-time All-Americans. The honorees were:

Numbers retired since then are:

Significant events

Pauley Pavilion has been the venue for many other sports championships, concerts, commencement ceremonies and political events.

In June, the College of Letters and Science will hold its annual commencement ceremony, the largest on campus, with more than 4,000 students receiving their degrees and some 12,000 guests to help with the celebration.

Concert performers have included Bad Religion, Bob Dylan, Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Luciano Pavarotti, Eric Clapton, the Grateful Dead, and Phish.

In 1970, Frank Zappa appeared with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra performing Zappa's orchestral music. Zubin Mehta directed the orchestra in what would become the soundtrack for Zappa's movie 200 Motels. Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention recorded Just Another Band from L.A. in Pauley Pavilion in 1972.

In 1984, it was the Los Angeles venue for the 1984 Summer Olympics Men's and Women's Gymnastics and Women's Artistic Gymnastics events. Mary Lou Retton became the first Olympic gymnast outside of Eastern Europe ever to have won the Olympic all-around title.

On April 26, 1986, a birthday tribute for actress/comedienne Carol Burnett was held inside. Singer Neil Diamond performed Sweet Caroline in her honor.

Two years later in 1988, it was the site of a presidential election debate between George H.W. Bush and Michael Dukakis. Dukakis also held his final election-eve rally here, hosted by the UCLA Bruin Democrats.

In 1994, composer Henry Mancini, having learned he had terminal cancer, gave his last concert at Pauley Pavilion.



  • UCLA Men's Basketball Media Guide (PDF copy available at
  • Smale, David (1989). Pauley Pavilion: College Basketball's Showplace. Manhattan, Kansas: Sports Memories Publishing / Jostens Publishing Company.

External links


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