After covering a few games at the “Tad Pad,” Ole Miss’ old basketball arena, I was blown away by their new arena, The Pavilion. By now, you’ve hopefully already heard the story of how the Ole Miss athletics crew gave Calipari a stuffed squirrel in honor of how he complained about the live squirrel in the locker room at the Tad Pad a few years back, which they said raised awareness as to how horrible the facility was and eventually lead to the $96.5 million Pavilion. When asked about it afterwards, Calipari said he wants to take the stuffed squirrel home with him to mount in his office.
“I’m taking that squirrel with me, too, by the way. This one was a dead squirrel. The other one was alive and he peed on my shoes before I left in that Tad, whatever that thing was called over there.”
The Pavilion is impressive; I could go on and on about how nice the 9,500 seat arena is (and I will in my ‘Behind Enemy Lines’ feature next week). While there are many things Calipari covets in the facility, there’s one thing he wants most: a dedicated parking spot.
“I went through the building and I was like ‘holy cow’ and I told DeWayne (Peevy), ‘You gotta look at this and get some ideas for our building because we gotta do a better job of taking care of our people.’ Then the one thing that really got me is Andy (Kennedy) got a parking space. I don’t have a parking space. I went to DeWayne and said, ‘How the heck does he have a parking space and I don’t have a parking space. That’s crazy.’”
I love Cal, but I’m calling BS on this one. He can park wherever he wants, especially behind Rupp Arena. Trust me, I’ve seen it, whether it be the Mercedes or the Cal signature Ford Mustang; however, there’s no denying the Pavilion is gorgeous. It just took a few squirrels to get there. Speaking of, what will Cal do with his stuffed squirrel if Ole Miss agrees to let him keep it? (They will.)
“I don’t know yet. I may put it in my office because it’ll be a great point of ‘what do you have a squirrel for?’ ‘You really want to know the story?’”