Coach Denny Crum and former UofL basketball players Darrell Griffith and Wade Houston helped fans say goodbye to Crawford Gym.
Coach Denny Crum and former UofL basketball players Darrell Griffith and Wade Houston helped fans say goodbye to Crawford Gym.

Hundreds of coaches, former athletes and fans turned out Thursday, Aug. 4, to bid farewell to Crawford Gym. 

Best known as the site of legendary basketball pick-up games, the 53-year-old facility served as home to the UofL men’s and women’s basketball teams, swim team and other sports. It also was home to countless physical education classes and intramural sports competitions.

Crawford is being taken down to make way for a new academic classroom building. Interior work will begin Monday, Aug. 8, with demolition of the building scheduled for later this month.

The open house featured a ceremony that included remarks from former coaches and players, a team photo of many basketball players from 1962 to 2001, and a ceremonial cutting of the nets. It also featured the presentation of an engraved starting block for former swim coach Rick Hill.

Hall of Fame basketball coach Denny Crum addressed the crowd and signed autographs throughout the day.

“I would like you to know how much the players and I, in particular, appreciate all of you being here to share this with us,” Crum said.

Dozens of visitors lined up to purchase pieces of the Crawford Gym floor. Crawford’s scoreboards, basketball goals and swimming platforms also are being sold at auction. All proceeds will support the Denny Crum Scholarship Fund, which provides support for incoming students.

The fund “is to help kids go to college,” Crum said. “That’s what we do here. This is a university, and that’s the way it should be.”

Check out photos from the open house here. Watch video from the event below: 

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John Drees
John Drees is a 32-year veteran in the Office of Communications and Marketing. As interim senior associate vice president/director of campus communication, he works closely with the president, provost and other senior administrators, oversees the Office of Communications and Marketing, including media relations, marketing, broadcast, social media, internal communication, crisis communication, visitor services and special events and activities. A former sports editor for the Voice Newspapers, he was a regular contributor to a variety of publications, including the Kentucky Sports Report and the Courier-Journal. A poor but enthusiastic golfer, he is an avid Cardinal sports fan. He also loves the Detroit Lions, so pity him.