That clip is from the first game ever played at Gampel Pavilion. The arena was a little different then -- it only seated about 8,000 people until 1996 -- but it was still loud as hell and an imposing place to play. Gampel has been kind to the Huskies over the years, this is its 23rd season and going into Saturday's Gameday matchup the Huskies have posted a 129-18 record within its walls.
I imagine it'll be loud this Saturday as well. It's opening its doors twice, at 8 a.m. for ESPN's Gameday pregame show and again at 6 in the evening for the main event, and I can only imagine that the students will spend the time between both events getting prepared to raise all sorts of hell.
But before we look forward, I'm interested in looking back and sharing some Gampel memories. Specifically, I'm interested in your memories of Gampel at its loudest.
I know what my loudest game was: Feb. 26, 2006, No. 2 Villanova vs. No. 3 UConn. It was a 2 o'clock tip on CBS but it was so cold outside that the school opened up Gampel at mid-morning to let in the throngs of waiting students. It was a rowdy wait for the game to start as security spent a lot of time removing inappropriate signs from the crowd (the acrostic "Calhoun Banged Sumpters Mom" and a desecration of the Villanova logo in Gampel stick out most clearly in my mind) but I remember the noise most of all. I was convinced there was no way in hell UConn could lose in that environment, and they didn't. And when the Huskies went on an 18-3 run in the second half I was pretty sure the roof was going to collapse.
Another game I expect to see mentioned in the comments is the last time ESPN brought Gameday to a men's game at Gampel. It was the first ever Gameday and UConn was hosting Pittsburgh. The only problem? A massive snowstorm that kept most ticket holders from Gampel. UConn's solution was ingenious -- season ticket holders who couldn't make it called in, and their seats, 3,000 in total -- went to students. I wasn't at UConn at the time, but I've heard the environment was incredible.
Now I want to hear from you, leave your loudest Gampel stories in the comments.