Danny Granger remembers his days playing at The Pit in Albuquerque fondly … and is putting up money to help fix the place up.
Thomas Wolfe may have not been able to go home again. But Danny Granger is happy to. Now a member with the NBA Indiana Pacers, Granger is giving $500,000 to his alma mater – the University of New Mexico – to help pay for renovations to the school’s storied basketball arena, The Pit as well as University Stadium, the football facility.
UNM athletic director Paul Krebs sounded a little stunned by the news of the largest donation ever to the department. "Any time you get this kind of generosity, it’s huge for a university," Krebs said. "I believe it carries extra significance – extra meaning – coming from a student athlete."
Granger played for the Lobos in the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons before turning pro. "To give back to the University that helped me, it’s kind of the least that I could do," he said.
The Pit (University Arena is its official name but hardly anybody ever calls it that) has been the home of UNM basketball since 1966. It is consistently listed among the best venues to watch a college basketball game in the country. A frequent home for NCAA regional games, it was also the site of perhaps the greatest upset ever in the Final Four, when North Carolina State defeated Houston for the 1983 title.
Granger’s gift, which will come in $100,000 increments for the next five years, will jumpstart a massive fundraising campaign aimed at upgrading the arena. Starting 2009, The Pit will get new suites, upgraded seating, video boards, up graded locker rooms and a remodeled concourse.