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With Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum in Peril, Is It Time For the Georgia Bulldogs to Name a Building After Joel Eaves?

We’ve got to get out of Beard-Eaves. There are a lot of ways to do that. We’re not ruling anything out.

Randy Byars

Auburn Director of Facility Planning

I am, at long last, home. Though our vacation to Florida was a fun one, the trip back was grueling, as we were rained on most of the way, and, upon my return, I found myself so drained that I wondered whether I would be able to come up with anything to write about more complex than asking how it would sound if the lyrics to Jordin Sparks’s "Battlefield" and the music to John Fogerty’s "Centerfield" were to be combined, and vice versa . . . but then I saw the foregoing quotation.

Although the Tiger faithful remain fond of Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum, the future of the 42-year-old edifice on the Plains remains very much in doubt now that Auburn Arena is home to awful basketball and revisionist history.

Ordinarily, I am not one to stand up in support of any portion of the Tigers’ tradition; far from rooting for the preservation of the Plainsmen’s heritage, I normally find myself inclined to declare, "Auburna delenda est!"

However, the possibility that Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum may go the way of the dodo has implications for the Red and Black, as well. The "Eaves" in "Beard-Eaves," after all, is Joel Eaves, the former Auburn basketball coach who went on to become a distinguished athletic director for Georgia. Eaves’s service in Athens lasted from 1963 to 1979, a period that saw the hiring of both Vince Dooley and Hugh Durham, the dedication of the Coliseum, and the expansion of Sanford Stadium. The former athletic director’s funeral was held at 1:00 p.m. on a Saturday, because that was when Bulldog football games kicked off, or so wrote Lewis Grizzard, who believed Eaves’s voice was "probably what God sounds like."

With the building bearing his name in the so-called Loveliest Village now imperiled, we in Bulldog Nation must pause to consider whether it finally is time to honor Joel Eaves appropriately in the Classic City.

It isn’t as though the University of Georgia has no history of naming athletic facilities in honor of former Red and Black athletic directors. Steadman Vincent Sanford (1910-1920), Herman James Stegeman (1920-1936), James Wallace Butts (1948-1963), and Vincent Joseph Dooley (1979-2004) are the namesakes of the Bulldogs’ football stadium, basketball arena, athletic headquarters building, and surrounding athletic complex, respectively. Surely Eaves, like these men, deserves to have something more concrete than the award honoring the student-athletes with the highest grade point averages to honor his contributions and his memory.

What do you think?

Go ‘Dawgs!