Large segments of the floor have already been removed, a sign near the entrance encourages fans to go an online auction, and Crawford Gym is host to a going-away party.
Darrell Griffith is there, along with dozens of former University of Louisville basketball players. Among them Philip Bond, Jerry Eaves, Wiley Brown, Roger Burkman, Mike Grosso, Robbie Valentine, just to name a few. Manuel Forrest is there, too, cutting snippets of the nets down for teammates and fans.
Denny Crum, Bill Olson and Jerry Jones, among the former coaches on hand, Denny autographing small segments of the floor to raise money for the UofL scholarship fund in his name, sharing memories of the old days on the Jerry Eaves radio show.
Crum admitting at one point that he thought he might have made a mistake after seeing Crawford Gym for the first time. “What we lacked in facilities, however, we made up for in enthusiasm and a love for basketball,” he said. “The kids didn’t care if the gym was outdated or stinking hot, they just wanted to play basketball.”
Crawford Gym, which was constructed in 1964, became a reality after a gift of $467,000 was made from the estate of Matthew Crawford by his sister Kate Crawford and Jennie Hanks, with additional money from the city.
The facility included two regulation-size maple basketball courts, which were also used for volleyball, gymnastics and intramurals. It was lighted by 64 mercury-vapor lights. The roof was the first elliptical paraboloid in the midwest, a type of roof eliminating supporting posts. There was never any air conditioning.
Crawford Gym will be coming down later this month, making way for a much-needed multi-million-dollar instructional facility.