You may not have ever been to a game at the Tad Smith Coliseum to watch Ole Miss basketball, but for generations of fans, it was our own weird little UFO-like home in the Mississippi winter.
The aptly nicknamed Tad Pad does not have national title banners to attribute its home court advantages. There is an institutionalized feel to a lot of elements to the building that was very common to buildings from that era.
But when it was full, it could be incredibly loud in the place. Yes, the roof leaked in its later years and caused a rain out for the Lady Rebels and Pat Summitt’s Lady Vols, and it was widely regarded as an outdated mess. It was our damn place, and the Rebels did their damnedest to protect it.
I can remember as a fan and student Andy Kennedy’s first season at the helm with a scrappy team led by Todd Abernethy, Bam Doyne and Clarence Sanders who were SEC Western Division co-champions. There was the Valentine’s Day game buzzer beater by Sanders to defeat Glen “Big Baby” Davis and LSU. While not on the national radar, it was a landmark win at the time for a program that had been stale for years.
Then came the emergence of Chris Warren and his late game heroics to defeat Kentucky in the Tad Pad. Marshall Henderson joins the scene to become probably one of the most beloved Ole Miss players ever. Murphy Holloway. Kenny Williams. Fear the beard. Rob Evans. Provine Posse. Sean Tuohy. Gerald Glass.
There’s more names and memories that fans can provide, and we’re inviting y’all to do so in the comments. Friday’s throwback game in the Tad Pad is sold out, and with the visiting Sam Houston State Bearkats, there is some optimism a win is very possible. First year head coach Chris Beard will be looking to make a new memory with old fans,