Nov. 5, 2009
At the conclusion of the 2009 football season, the existing press box, which dates to the 1950s, will be torn down. Over the last several decades, countless memorable moments have been witnessed from the nerve center of the stadium.
In honor of this last season with the proud, old press box, an on-going feature called "Memories From the Press Box" will run on MGoBlue.com and in each U-M football game program. Written by the individuals who witnessed these moments from above, "Memories" will offer a different perspective of the events many of us remember after seeing them in person or watching them on TV. In some cases, it's describing pre-game rituals, in many cases, it's a specific game or play that took their breath away. Sportscasters, former coaches, athletic department staff, University President Mary Sue Coleman, they are but a few of the contributors who will be featured weekly. We hope you enjoy it! Echoes of the Old "Box"
This week, we let the people who are current members of the University of Michigan athletic media relations staff tell their tales of the press box. Some have attended games in the press box as a student, intern and full-time employee, while some are experiencing the press box for the very first time.
This is Awesome
By Brad Rudner / U-M Athletic Media Relations Intern and University of Iowa graduate (2009)
After spending four years worth of Saturday's at Iowa's Kinnick Stadium, stepping inside the Big House for the first time actually made my jaw drop.
My co-workers, who have attended far more Michigan football games than me, only told me to do one thing:
"Be sure to go up to the photo deck when the band comes out. You'll get chills."
Simple instructions, sure, but for a guy who is attending his first-ever game at Michigan Stadium, I'm sure glad I was paying attention. For the entire duration of "The Victors", I stood there and marveled at the sight below, speechless. In all the games I've been to around the Big Ten, never before have I witnessed anything like it.
"This is awesome," I said to myself.
And it wasn't even kickoff.
A Wave and a Smile
By Barbara Cossman / U-M Athletic Media Relations Director of Publications, former U-M Assistant Director for AMR, former U-M AMR intern and University of Michigan graduate (1992)
I've seen many games at Michigan Stadium, from the stands as a kid with my parents, as a student in the northwest corner, and from above in the press box. Over the years, I've seen plenty: the last-second Mike Gillette field goal to beat Iowa in 1986; Desmond Howard's catch against Notre Dame; the Pigskin Classic; Charles Woodson's touchdown against Ohio State; triple overtime against Michigan State; this year's Notre Dame game; and yes, the Colorado Hail Mary and Appalachian State.
During games, my job is doing official stats for the TV networks up on the second level of the press box. I am often asked what that means by friends and family members who have no idea what it is I really do. In a nutshell, I verify statistics and feed information to the production truck and announcers' booth. My seat is at the 50-yard line, across from the elevator. I sit behind our stat crew on a stool, headset on, looking at a computer, always listening carefully. Almost always anyway.
One of my most memorable moments from the press box actually has nothing to do with football, save for the fact there was a game going on down below. I can't recall if it was after Detroit won the Stanley Cup in 1997 or '98, but that fall, several of the Red Wings came to a game at Michigan Stadium with the Cup in tow. At some point, they came up to the press box. As I watched the game and stats monitor intently, out of the corner of my eye I noticed a cluster of people walking towards me (okay, toward the elevator, but they were walking in my general direction). I turned to look just in time to see Jamie Morris lead No. 14 around the corner to get on the elevator. Brendan Shanahan.
I could not believe some of the Wings were there, in the press box, a mere 10 feet away. More importantly, I couldn't believe Jamie didn't think to introduce me to them! So I sat there, staring incredulously at the wall that stood between me and one of my favorite hockey players, clearly no longer paying attention to the game or my job. I turned back to face the field, and suddenly I heard "Barb." I turned back around, and who was peeking around the corner waving and smiling at me? No. 14. I was speechless. The next thing I heard was "BARB!" This time, loudly in my ear as the graphics guy in the truck brought me back to reality, asking some question about something that just happened in the game that I missed -- all because of a little wave and a smile.
The 100th Meeting
By Matt Trevor / Assistant Director for U-M Athletic Media Relations, former U-M AMR Intern and University of Michigan graduate (2004)
My most vivid press box memory came on November 22, 2003, against Ohio State. I was a senior in the media relations office in charge of writing each game recap for MGoBlue.com. The fact that it was the 100th game in the Michigan-Ohio State series and a Big Ten title was on the line made my job extra special that day. I remember Braylon Edwards outplaying OSU's Chris Gamble all game long and Chris Perry barreling through the vaunted Buckeye defense for a few touchdowns.
When Michigan went up 28-7 in the third quarter I remember whispering with my friends in the press box about when it would be safe to book our trip to L.A. for the Rose Bowl -- could we book the tickets before the game was over to make sure we got the best flights?
Ohio State scared us and the 100,000-plus fans with a late comeback, but the defense held on in the fourth quarter for the 35-21 win. I was in shock when the game ended and the student section came pouring onto the field. I sat in my chair thinking about how this was my last game in the press box and how it ended so perfectly. I wanted to soak up the experience as much as I could so I raced up to the photo deck to listen to "The Victors" while I had the chance. Even though I stayed in the AMR office after graduating, no other game sticks with me as much as my last home game as a student.
• Past Memories from the Press Box: Bruce Madej (11/23/2009) | Jim Wood (11/19/2009) | AMR Staff - Part 2 (11/12/2009) | AMR Staff - Part 1 (11/5/2009) | Jerry Green (10/29/2009) | Jerry Hanlon (10/22/2009) | Geoff Larcom (10/15/2009) | Pat Perry (10/9/2009) | Will Perry (10/1/2009) | Dick Gaskill (9/24/09) | Jim Meyer (9/17/09) | Frank Beckmann (9/10/2009) | John Borton (9/3/2009)