Bulldogs play in new arena next year

2/28/2004 - Gonzaga Bulldogs

SPOKANE, Wash. -- The last basket in The Kennel was a slam dunk by Ronny Turiaf in Gonzaga's 80-64 win over Santa Clara.

Gonzaga's home gym for 39 years went out in an emotional
farewell on Saturday night, in a combination nostalgia trip and
celebration of the new $23 million home next door.

The McCarthey Athletic Center, a 6,000-seat arena, is scheduled
to open for next season. It was named for the Salt Lake City media
family that made a major contribution to the facility.

Coach Mark Few paid tribute to the fans who jammed the
4,000-seat bandbox where Gonzaga posted a 397-104 record since the
first game on Dec. 3, 1965.

"We owe it all to you," Few said to fans. "You made this the
greatest place in college basketball to call home."

"We're going to walk ten steps over in that direction and make
that the greatest place in the world to play college basketball,"
Few said.

The game featured a parade of about 70 players from the past,
including NBA legend John Stockton and U.S. District Judge Frank
Burgess of Tacoma, the leading scorer in the nation in the 1960-61
season with 32.4 points per game.

There were film clips from past games.

Father Robert Spitzer, the school president, presented the West
Coast Conference regular season championship trophy to this year's
team. There were tributes to seniors Blake Stepp, Cory Violette,
Kyle Bankhead, Tony Skinner and Richard Fox.

The evening ended with a final buzzer and the lights going out
in the arena, as players and fans lingered on the court.