Troy University alumni and supporters paid their respects to a historic campus landmark Tuesday.
Those who attended the farewell ceremony included current and former faculty members, former TROY coaches and players, and generations of alumni.
For the athletes who played in Sartain, standing on the court one last time brought back a flood of memories.
“You think about all the practices you had in here. You think a lot about the wins, the tough losses, the late night workouts,” said assistant basketball coach Ben Fletcher, who played on the Atlantic Sun Conference champion Trojan teams in 2002 and 2003. “To look up and see the banners that you’ve been a part of, and to think of the culture here, it’s surreal. I knew this day was coming, but events like this really shake things up.”
Jerry Brown spent the bulk of his college career in Sartain after a stint in the Army.
“This building was the mainstay of my education here at TROY,” said Brown, who played basketball for the Trojans from 1971 until 1973. “All my (physical education) classes were here. Coach John Archer afforded me a chance to play ball here for free and get my education. We ran this court, we ran these bleachers, and it was just an outstanding experience. I’m 70 years old and it seems like only yesterday that I played here.”
Daron Fayson was known for his shots from the corner during his time as a Trojan from 1979 to 1983, and as he took a few more shots on the Sartain court Tuesday, he realized his favorite memories in the building came after his playing days.
“I remember when we played Tennessee-Martin and we were down seven points with 30-something seconds to go, before there were three-pointers, everybody was leaving the gym, and we came back to win that game in the last seconds,” Fayson said. “The greatest memories, though, were me walking across that stage when I graduated, then seeing my daughter walk across that stage, then my nieces walk across. That’s really why this holds a special place in my heart.”
Perhaps no one has a stronger emotional tie to Sartain than Carol Barr, who graduated in 1976 with a physical education degree.
Barr’s father, Coy Danner, laid the bricks for the building that would later house her graduation.
“Knowing that this was his handiwork, that he did that, there are a lot of great memories attached,” Barr said. “He’s real proud of it. I came here to see Linda Ronstadt, and we had our graduation ceremonies here. My children graduated here also.”
Linda Ronstadt was just one of dozens of big-name musicians who performed in Sartain since its opening in 1962, including Huey Lewis and the News, Hall and Oates, the Beach Boys, Heart and Tina Turner.
A 1966 graduate who returned for her master’s degree in 1978, Anita Griffin remembers watching a young Jerry Lee Lewis play in Sartain in the mid-‘60s.
“Anybody that was here during those years had classes and events in this building,” she said. “I had a wonderful time with folk dancing in here, and the one bit of outside entertainment I can remember here is Jerry Lee Lewis.”