The Pavilion didn’t have the sweetest goodbye before it closed its doors one last time.
Yes, the Wildcats pummeled the visiting Creighton Bluejays on Feb. 25, 2017, winning the final game, 79-63, before the Pavilion gets a makeover.
However, it was what happened after the game that stands out.
The crowd and the basketball team were asked to stay for a post-game video tribute to the building.
While the video began to play, a torrential downpour ensued outside, with rain drops pounding on the Pavilion roof and eventually making their way inside, invading the floor with a puddle at mid-court. Had the storm occurred just a few minutes earlier, it would have stopped the game near its conclusion.
The leaky roof dampened the celebration in what was supposed to be a fond farewell for a building that had seen a lot of great Villanova basketball over the last few decades. Instead, it felt more like a “good riddance” and “they really need to fix up this place”—with a bit of comic relief mixed somewhere in between.
"I got to Villanova in the Fall of 1989 and the building was only four years old when I got there, but it already needed to be overhauled in year four,” said Scott Reidenbach, a 1993 graduate and former Wildcat baseball player. "This place was already falling apart, and it was about to be five years old.”
Reidenbach, like many other Villanovans, is excited for the new renovations and upgrades to come to the building—which is also undergoing an identity change, and will reopen as the Finneran Pavilion.
Once it opens for the 2018-19 season, the revamped arena will look almost unrecognizable.
The Pavilion will be gutted and all of the contents will be removed and replaced with brand new items—everything, from the video boards to seating, and even the entrance will be different.
What will happen to them? Reidenbach was wondering himself.
Just days after Villanova’s loss to Wisconsin in the 2017 NCAA Tournament, Reidenbach decided to take his curiosity a step further.
"I put a phone call in with [Associate AD] Mick Keelan, and I essentially said what are you doing with the contents?” he said. "The response back, was essentially, we have a couple ideas floating around. If you have one, let us know.”
Reidenbach, a lawyer and founding principal of the Main Line-based law firm Reidenbach and Associates, LLC, had a few ideas but no background in sports memorabilia.
So, he did his due diligence and researched how some other venues handled their old materials—Shea Stadium, Veterans Stadium, and what Wrigley Field did with its old bleachers.
It was commonplace for these historic stadiums to bring in outside companies to acquire the items and sell them. However, Reidenbach didn’t exactly agree with how these companies would deal with the organizations behind the stadium.
“They're kind of like pirates,” Reidenbach said. "They loot the building, rip it all out, and they're just focused on revenue. They have investors, partners, and they really would lose focus on the university and the brand. I knew that's something Villanova did not want to happen.”
As a result, he formed 1985 Pavilion LLC with his wife, Sheryl Burghardt Reidenbach—a 1995 Villanova graduate, who is also the company’s COO—to sell and auction off Pavilion items.
Instead of it being a one-time transaction in which the university hands the Pavilion content over to the company and the two never speak again—1985 Pavilion LLC seeks to be a partner working in conjunction with Villanova Athletics.
As a matter of fact, Reidenbach has been in close contact with the athletic department—particularly Keelan, Jason Donnelly, Josh Heird, and athletic director Mark Jackson.
They have been constantly communicating back and forth, discussing the Pavilion items and exchanging feedback on designs for manufactured products.
"Mark Jackson—he's new to Villanova, but he gets it,” Reidenbach said. “He knows that Villanova is unique. He wanted to make sure my wife and I would do this in an honorable way, in a classy way that comports with how Villanova conducts itself.”
1985 Pavilion and Villanova Athletics will be doing a revenue share.
On top of that, Reidenbach and his wife will donate a part of their profit as an outright gift to the university.
They hope that their company will be one that Villanova fans and alumni can enjoy and give Villanovans a way to take home a piece of the Pavilion.
A product by Villanovans, for Villanovans.
Reidenbach hopes to keep the Pavilion's memory alive through the Nationers that helped pack the building throughout the years—from its first game (and win) against Maryland in 1986, to the final moment of Josh Hart, Kris Jenkins, and Darryl Reynolds standing atop press row as part of a senior salute.
It’s a lot more romantic than the rain puddle forming on the basketball court.
So, what’s for sale?
The university will keep a few things, the priceless ones—national championship banners and retired numbers.
Everything else? Up for grabs on the company’s website.
Boosters and special season ticket holders have had a chance to peruse the site since August 1. The website opens to everyone on August 5 (Saturday) and a number of auctions will begin to complement the grand opening.
1985 Pavilion spent a week in May disassembling the Pavilion, taking almost everything and transferring them into a storage warehouse. The basketball court itself has been stored in a separate facility.
They took seats, various items from the men’s locker room, countless signs, pieces of artwork, murals, photos, awards, and trophies—those will be sold as-is.
Signage marking the different seating sections within the Pavilion is available, a plaque commemorating Jake Nevin is too. Fans will also be able to buy metal signs from within the locker room that had various Villanova basketball mottos emblazoned on them—play hard, play smart, play together, and play with pride.
The locker room nameplates for Hart, Jenkins, and Reynolds are just a few of the many items that will be auctioned off on Saturday.
A picture of the 1985 National Championship Team with Ronald Reagan—which used to hang in the Fitzgerald Lounge of the Pavilion—is up for sale.
Some of the pricier items—the Big East Conference banner, which hung in the rafters, is available for $7,000. A limited number of four-by-eight-foot basketball court sections can be bought for $10,000 each. Center court is available and the company is fielding price inquiries for that.
This is just a small taste of the extensive catalogue 1985 Pavilion will be featuring.
Reidenbach’s personal favorite of the Pavilion treasures are a pair of frosted glass inlays that say “Villanova Basketball,” a nice touch to a set of doors that led to the men’s locker room.
"We have a lot of one of a kind items and those are two of the things I love from the project,” he said. "We have a lot of unique, never before seen items from the locker room that are being sold.”
The as-is items are just the first phase of sales that the company is offering. The second phase, which will be available in the fall, will include various items manufactured from the court and bleacher wood.
These products will include executive pens, iPhone cases, picture frames, jewelry, coasters, and cufflinks—which Reidenbach is expecting to be a big hit.
He and the athletics department have been exchanging feedback back-and-forth on the cufflinks' prototypes.
The wood will serve as an inlay for the cufflinks, which can be designed to come in gold, silver, or even customized to have a name or a message engraved on the back.
"That’s one of the cooler items with those cufflinks and that’s just one example of how we’ve been working with the athletics department,” Reidenbach said. "It’s been a great partnership and we couldn’t be more excited.”
The response so far has been positive, according to Reidenbach. When the website first launched, over 700 e-mail addresses registered for the mailing and waiting list over the first 10 days—so the buzz for the grand opening is certainly there.
How long the items will last before they fly out of the warehouse?
That’s another question—time will tell, but the race for many one of a kind items begins in 24 hours.