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There's no place like home

Published October 10, 2004

Yost Ice Arena was built in 1923 and was dedicated for Michigan
football coaching legend Fielding Yost. The building was originally
home to the track and basketball teams before being converted to an
ice arena in 1973. More than 6,600 people can fit inside, and
although this may not sound like a huge crowd, when the arena is
packed, the place really rocks — including the student
section, known for its loud and sometimes vulgar cheers. Michigan
hockey coach Red Berenson had many kind words for the place he has
called home for the last 21 seasons. “Wait until you go
around the league and see the other rinks — then it’s a
no-brainer,” Berenson said. “I mean, it’s a great
venue. It’s a players’ rink — the noise in here,
the environment, the combination of the band and the students. The
whole college hockey culture at Yost is pretty much one of the best
in the country, if not the best. When asked about his favorite
memory from Yost, Berenson admitted that a whole book chapter could
be written on the subject. But one of the most memorable is the
1998 NCAA tournament regional: “Regionals here in ‘98
were unbelievable. When we were playing North Dakota and they were
the favorite team. The noise level in here and the excitement
— you couldn’t script a better situation. People up in
the press box thought it was going to fall down. I mean,
that’s how it was. And we had that more than once, but
that’s one example.”

— Ian Herbert

 

After passing Ocker Field (the field hockey facility), many
students assume they’ve traversed the extent of the
university’s athletic facilities. Sadly, only few are truly
enlightened. If you go just a little further — under the
Stadium Boulevard overpass and on towards Briarwood Mall, to your
right you’ll catch a glimpse of Michigan’s temple of
tennis, the Varsity Tennis Center. Mounted upon a tiered series of
manicured hills of grass, the Preston Robert Tisch Building rises
above the William Clay Ford Outdoors Courts. The complex first
opened for competition in 1997, and has played host to many
regional and national NCAA tournaments, as well as the boys’
and girls’ Michigan high school state championships. The Ford
facility provides 12 championship-caliber courts while the 632-seat
Tisch indoor complex — named after the current owner of the
NFL’s New York Giants — houses eight courts. Host of
the 1999 Big Ten Men’s Tennis Championships and the 2000 Big
Ten Women’s Championships, the relatively new complex is
constantly building its legacy.

— Max Kardon

 

Traditionally nicknamed “The House that Cazzie
Built,” in reference to Michigan basketball legend Cazzie
Russell, Crisler Arena has been the home to various Michigan
sporting events for 37 years. Named after Herbert O.
“Fritz” Crisler, a former Wolverine football coach, the
7.2-million dollar building was the architectural gem of Dan
Dworsky, a linebacker on Crisler’s 1947 and 1948 national
champion football teams. In addition to being the home of the
men’s and women’s basketball and several wrestling and
gymnastic events, Crisler Arena annually hosts many other community
events. It has even hosted concerts for Bob Dylan and the Boston
Pops. Inside of Crisler, you can walk the corridors and gaze at the
accomplishments of past and present. Wolverine student-athletes, or
glance upward towards the south rafters in the arena and see the
retired numbers of three Michigan basketball greats: Russell,
current Los Angeles Lakers coach Rudy Tomjanovich and Phil Hubbard.
No. 41 — worn by former Wolverine Glen Rice — will rise
to the ceiling of Crisler Arena this season at halftime of the home
game on February 20.

“It was Super Bowl Sunday and the atmosphere in Crisler
was electric, a glimpse of the potential that Crisler has to be an
intimidating gym,” said Michigan “SuperFan V”
Ryan Shinsk about the January 26 Michigan-Michigan State game
during the 2002-03 season. “It was a great game and (the
fans) rushed the court after … I get goose-bumps just
thinking about it.”

— Eric Ambinder

 

Michigan Stadium. The Big House. It may be the most widely
recognized sporting facility on the planet. Since 1927, more than
35 million fans have gathered at the corner of Main Street and
Stadium Boulevard to watch the football team. And they usually
leave happy: the Wolverines’ record there is 377-103-15.
During the early ‘20s, Fielding Yost, Michigan’s
football coach at the time, realized that his team needed a larger
stadium to play in. Though Yost was met with opposition early on,
eventually the stadium was built for a cost of $950,000. Michigan
Stadium has seen its seating capacity increase six times, rising
from 72,000 to 107,501, and has had 184 consecutive sellouts.
Though it has a reputation of not being a very intimidating place
for opponents, when the fans start rocking, it creates an
atmosphere unlike that of any other venue. “Michigan Stadium
is just a special place,” linebacker Roy Manning said.
“To play there is just a great feeling. We only get to play
here about six times a season, and we want to win here more than
anything.”

— Sharad Mattu

 

This University is all about continuing tradition. So it’s
fitting that women’s cross country coach Mike McGuire can
watch his team practice in the Indoor Track Building and recall his
glory days as a Michigan athlete. “My favorite memory is when
I won a three-mile race in 1976,” said McGuire as he
remembered the day he set a Big Ten record for that race, just two
years after the facility opened as the Indoor Track and Tennis
Building in 1974. It was recently renovated in 1997 when the tennis
courts were removed and the building was dedicated entirely to
Michigan runners. When the weather’s nice, McGuire leads his
team outdoors to Ferry Field (pictured), right next to the IM
building. Originally constructed in 1906 as the varsity football
field, Ferry turned in its goal posts to focus solely on track and
field in 1927. It wasn’t until 1935 that Jesse Owens of Ohio
State set three world records and tied one other at the Big Ten
Championships in Ann Arbor, introducing the world to Ferry Field.
Years later, McGuire had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet
the legend at this historical spot. “In 1974, they held a Big
Ten outdoor meet there and they honored Jessie Owens at the
meet,” McGuire said. “It was 39 years after he had
broken four world records on the same day and I got a chance to
meet him and get a picture taken with him. A generation ahead of me
would always talk about the great day that he did
that.”Owens’s records have now been broken, but the
memory of his achievements remains in the heart of every athlete
that steps onto the track at Ferry Field in hopes of following in
his footsteps.

— Katie Niemeyer

 

Overlooking the Big House, downtown Ann Arbor, and the entire
Michigan campus, the 18th hole at the U-M Golf Course offers one of
the finest views around. Considered one of the most challenging and
best courses in NCAA play, it was designed by Alister MacKenzie in
the late 1920s and officially opened for play in 1931. The first
event took place when the Wolverines defeated Ohio State 15-3 in a
men’s golf match on May 13th, 1931. Some of MacKenzie’s
other works include Augusta National, home of the Masters, and the
Ohio State golf course. The course was renovated from 1992 to 1994
— the clubhouse was refurnished and new lockerrooms were
added. In addition, the course itself was restored to its original
luster through improving the bunkers and adding more landscaping.
“By having the girls practice here on a continuous basis it
really prepares them for all of the tournaments that we play in,
and if they can play our golf course well, they can play any course
well,” Michigan women’s golf coach Kathy Teichert said.
Located across from Chrisler Arena, this par 71 golf course is open
to all current students and is home to both the men’s and
women’s golf teams, as well as the cross country teams.

— Sara Livingston

 

The Michigan Soccer Field was constructed jointly with Phyllis
Ocker Field Hockey Field in 1995. It is a little known fact that
the roots of the two venues stretch deeper into the history of
Michigan athletics than any other. Used as a parking lot for
football games before its current formation, there was, at one
time, more than tires and tailgates rolling over the hallowed turf.
The site was once home to Regents Field, the stomping ground of
Michigan coaching legend Fielding Yost’s national champion
“Point-A-Minute” football teams near the turn of the
20th century.

Phyllis Ocker Field is not only the home turf of the Michigan
field hockey team, it is also where the team holds its practice. To
coach Marcia Pankratz, that is one of the field’s biggest
advantages. “The surface is very fast, and very comfortable
for us since we practice on it every day,” Pankratz said.
Yost’s winning tradition has extended to the field hockey
team as it has earned a berth into the NCAA Tournament in each of
the last five seasons. “We won on our home field (in 2001) to
go to the Final Four, beating North Carolina and Michigan State in
overtime,” said Pankratz of her best memory of the field.

The soccer field’s perfectly conditioned grass reflects
its short tenure as the home for the men’s and women’s
varsity teams. The women’s team was the first to break it in,
taking the field in 1995 after playing its first varsity season at
nearby Elbel Field. The men’s program began playing at the
field in its inaugural season in 2000. Today, the black iron gate
and classic red brick that encloses the field mirrors the entrances
to Michigan Stadium. In the case of the Michigan Soccer Field,
football and soccer do seem to mix. In competition with more than
110,000 spectators that crowd Michigan Stadium, the 1,500 fans that
pack Michigan Soccer Field make up for their reduced numbers with
increased enthusiasm.

— Max Kardon and Matt Venegoni

 

“With over 60 crazy students filling up ‘the
Zone’, the atmosphere couldn’t have been better,”
LSA senior Jeff Gdowski said. The vivacious crowd of 1,721 fans
that showed up to Cliff Keen Arena Wednesday night for the
women’s volleyball game against Michigan State was the
epitome of a Cliff Keen Arena experience. Built in 1956, the arena
can seat up to 1800 fans. It was named after long-time Michigan
wrestling coach Cliff Keen. “Whenever we play in Cliff Keen
Arena, we protect our house,” Michigan volleyball team
captain Sarah Allen said.

“Cliff Keen Arena not only has nice facilities and a good
closed-in area, but the student sections are new for us and the
fans create great energy for us to feed off of,” sophomore
Erin Cobler added. Cobler and her teammates all agree that the
facilities in Cliff Keen are some of the best they’ve seen.
During the summer of 2002, an expansion and renovation of the
volleyball lockerroom gave the team the latest in digital video
filming and editing equipment. They also received a team room,
which provides them with a homely atmosphere. “We have the
best arena in the conference and we want that,” Michigan
coach Mark Rosen said. “If another place has a better arena,
then I’m sure they can’t have a better student section
then ours. We actually can’t thank the fans enough for their
energy. They’re the other factor that makes Cliff Keen Arena
so great.”

— Jacqueline E. Howard

 

- Page design by Ellen McGarrity.

 

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