Ole Miss to play basketball game in the Tad Pad in November

Published 4:49 pm Friday, August 25, 2023

OXFORD — Ole Miss’ men’s basketball team is leaving the Pavilion for the Pad for one night.

For the first time since December 2015, Ole Miss will play in the Tad Smith Coliseum, when it hosts Sam Houston State on Nov. 17.

First opening on Feb. 21, 1966, the Rebels played 700 games in their former arena on campus. Ole Miss closed a 50-year chapter on the Tad Smith Coliseum, commonly called the Tad Pad, on Dec. 22, 2015, with a win against Troy. Just over two weeks later, the men’s basketball program broke in the court at the Sandy and John Black Pavilion at Ole Miss with a victory over Alabama in front of a sellout crowd.

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“When Coach (Chris) Beard first mentioned the idea, we all thought it could be a great way to bring exposure to the program and incorporate some of the people that helped put Ole Miss basketball on the map,” said Vice Chancellor for Intercollegiate Athletics Keith Carter. “Tad Smith Coliseum hosted many great games over its 50-year lifespan and it will be fun to bring back some nostalgic feelings for our longtime hoops fans, plus showcase the history of the building to some of our younger fans.”

The throwback concept extends to the game’s sponsor. The official title is the “Throwback Game in the Tad Pad, presented by Cellular South, now C Spire.”

C Spire, a Mississippi-based telecommunications company, was founded in 1988 as Cellular South. It changed its name in 2011.

“Just like Ole Miss’ arena, we also rebranded in the 2010s — changing our name from Cellular South to C Spire to reflect our growth beyond cellular to fiber internet and other technology solutions,” said Hu Meena, CEO of C Spire. “As part of this throwback game, it only feels right to throw back our brand to the Cellular South days with the return to the Tad Pad.”

Amidst the nostalgia of returning to the Tad Pad, former Ole Miss head coach Rob Evans and each of his teams will be celebrated at the game. During six seasons from 1992-98, Evans won 86 games with the Rebels, turning them into a powerhouse by the end of his time in Oxford. Evans was named the National Coach of the Year by College Hoops Insider and the SEC Coach of the Year by the Associated Press during the 1996-97 season.

From 1998 to 2006, Evans was the head coach of Arizona State, before moving on to assistant jobs at Arkansas and TCU. He finished his coaching career as associate head coach with North Texas from 2012-2017, and now serves as the Special Assistant to the Athletic Director at SMU.

Evans and his wife Carolyn will be honored on the court at halftime.

In honor of Evans’ 1997 coach of the year awards, the price for admission to the Throwback Game will be $19.97. Should seats be available the day of the game, tickets will be sold for $25 at the Tad Smith Coliseum Ticket Office. Admission to this game will not be included in 2023-24 season ticket packages.