Jones names arena for great
Ground broken for new arena May 30
Paul Jones, middle left, and his son Paul Tudor Jones II show
off their new jerseys, presented at the May 30 groundbreaking
ceremony. Applauding are athletics director Craig Littlepage,
left, and U.Va. President John T. Casteen III, far right.
Paul Tudor Jones II, the decision to name the University of Virginias
arena in honor of his father, John Paul Jones, was a simple act
payback time for his being a great father, said Jones, 48,
a 1976 graduate of the University who has committed $35 million
to the building project. He also believes that the naming is a
fitting tribute for a man whose life has been dedicated primarily
to four things: his faith, his family, the University of Virginia
senior, who goes by Jack, is a 1948 graduate of the Universitys
School of Law and a devoted student of Thomas Jefferson who refers
to Jefferson as one of the most interesting icons who ever
lived. When young Paul was considering colleges, his father
told him he could go anywhere as long as it was in Albemarle
his son predicted his father would be on the moon
when he heard news of the naming, John Paul Jones, 83, likened
it more to walking on air. On May 30, at a meeting
of the Universitys Board
of Visitors, it became official. The 15,000-seat special-events
center now under construction will be called the John Paul Jones
the official groundbreaking held on a surprisingly dry
mound of earth in a parking lot across from U-Hall, roughly where
midcourt of the new arena will be located Paul Tudor Jones
again paid tribute to his father, and to his fathers namesake,
the famed Revolutionary War admiral known as the father of the
American navy. That John Paul Jones (though no relation) was a
friend of Thomas Jeffersons, he said. The naming thus pays
homage to two great Americans connected to the University of Virginia.
His voice breaking, he concluded, With that, Daddy, I love
being presented with framed, customized Virginia basketball jerseys,
the two Joneses joined several other University officials
including head mens basketball coach Pete Gillen and head
womens basketball coach Debbie Ryan in turning the
first shovelfuls of dirt.
groundbreaking finally put to rest more than two decades of talk
about replacing venerable U-Hall, which opened in 1965. The first
real planning for a replacement began in 1982, said athletics
director Craig Littlepage. The time and effort spent getting
to this point is well worth the wait, he said.
Hall has been a wonderful facility for 40 years," University
President John T. Casteen III said. But times have changed,
and building designs have changed.
Jones, a lifelong resident of Memphis, has been a stalwart U.Va.
alumnus, serving three years as president of his alumni chapter.
He continues to participate in alumni functions, but says he gets
the most pleasure from meeting with prospective U.Va. students
and helping them through the admission process.
was clear that Jones was grateful for the honor, but not quite
sure what to make of the fact that one day hell get to see
his name emblazoned across the buildings entrance while
hes in his favorite chair watching a U.Va. game on TV. Rather
than dwell on the honor, Jones prefers to talk about the accomplishments
of his children and grandchildren, and, of course, basketball.
has front-row seats for the Memphis Grizzlies games, rarely misses
a University of Memphis home game and tunes in to the Cavaliers
whenever he can.
Basketball is a passion he shares with son Paul, who coaches his
daughters youth basketball team. Several years ago, Jones
the younger was the first alumnus to strongly voice his concern
that the University needed to replace the aging University Hall.
became the driving force behind plans for a new arena, first providing
funds for an initial design phase. In November 2001, he made a
10-year, $20 million pledge that put the project on a fast track.
This spring, he pledged $15 million more, pushing the $129.8 million
project past the halfway mark needed to begin construction.
graduating in 1976 with a degree in economics, Jones, the founder
of a money management group in Greenwich, Conn., has continued
to lend his support to the University that he said helped him
develop a sense of personal honor.
2001, Jones history of giving to the University had been
on the academic side. His most recent gift was a $10 million challenge
grant to help fund the recently completed 45,000-square-foot research
addition to environmental sciences Clark Hall. With an earlier
gift, he endowed a research professorship shared by the Darden
Graduate School of Business Administration and the McIntire School
many years, Paul Tudor Jones has helped to move the Universitys
academic division forward, and now he is doing the same for athletics,
Jones, chairman of the volunteer committee that guided the arena
project, set the tone for this fund-raising effort, Casteen said.
His dedication reaches all corners of the University. From
his early backing of the Jefferson Scholars program to his support
in business, finance and environmental sciences, Paul always has
been a leader, Casteen said.
arena and its new name will become part of the Jones family legacy,
and perhaps its family lore. Both father and son admire the Revolutionary
War Jones fortitude as much as his famous saying: I
have not yet begun to fight. They believe it suits a sports
Jones talks about the impact of the new arena, clearly beginning
to warm to the idea that the building will indeed carry his name.
With the heroics of basketball, this arena will enhance
the Universitys academic purposes while developing students
with strong values of leadership, sportsmanship, citizenship,
physical fitness, teamwork, and Mr. Jeffersons margin of
excellence, he said. The student body will get to
enjoy the drama and satisfaction of hoops as it should be played.