"Jim's a tough guy and you can see his personality is all over this football team," Fitzgerald said.
Crisler Center Renovation
Let me start off on a bit of a personal note: each of the past three years, my girlfriend (username megangoblue) and I have gotten each other late Christmas presents. I believe this started by spending Christmas apart our first year, but now it's a tradition between the two of us. Long story short, we needed to be in Ann Arbor today, Wednesday 1/9/13, which coincided with a basketball game that wouldn't get much attention on StubHub or from scalpers, #2 M v. unranked Nebraska. She managed to buy great tickets for the two of us: Section 134, Row 9, Seats 9-10-11-12 that we shared with my uncle and cousin. The happy couple, arriving to our seats:
This was the first MBB game I've been to, and we were definitely going for the full MBB experience: a nationally televised game with tickets nine rows off the court in an seemingly brand new stadium. I can't describe how much fun I've had tonight; from walking the concourse before the game, seeing the now famed waterfall, the maize and blue lighting outside, and most of all the #2 team in the nation take on an overmatched (but still Big Ten) squad from Lincoln. Michigan didn't shoot particularly well, and Nebraska stuck around too long, but a win is a win, and I'll remember this one forever.
One of the cool things about this section were the people who happened to be populating it. The entire womens cross country team took up a few rows just below us, and below them in Row 1 sat Taylor Lewan, Jake Ryan and Drew Dileo. At halftime, gathering some courage, I went to talk to our favorite LB with feathered locks while Lewan was whisked away somewhere, no doubt being congratulated by people far more connected and powerful than I for his decision to return for the 2013 season [ed: according to M-Wolverine it was a radio interview]. Approaching him, Ryan is a big guy, but certainly not a monster (although his hands approach monster territory). He was very polite and thanked me after I congratulated him on his past two seasons and wished him luck in the next two. He agreed to take a couple pictures with us, one turned out okay:
We went to the concourse to grab a four dollar bottle of water, and when we came back there was a 6'8 309lb LT standing on the corner of the court, talking to people with badges and little kids, maybe a few pretty girls too. Heading straight past our seats and down to the court (also thinking that Ryan might be laughing at us a bit in his head as we passed him again), we walked towards Lewan, who is an absolute mountain of a man in person. Talking to Lewan was surprisingly easy, especially considering how well he stood up to a potential number one pick just eight days ago, and his sheer size (which is every bit as big as advertised).
When I asked Mr. Lewan if he would mind taking a picture, he was polite (I'm noticing a theme here) and obliged, although the fellow fan nice enough to take the shot only took one, and it didn't turn out so well:
Megan had started on my right side with my arm around her when Lewan quipped, "I know y'all are dating but this picture's gonna look better with her on my side too". That got a chuckle at the time and a bit of a laugh later. I told him how much his return meant to so many people, and he shook my hand (mine promptly disappeared in his ridiculously big hands) and told me he was glad.
I know others have better shots down on the board, but here is Lewan conducting the band:
A win is a win:
And my favorite girl near one of my favorite symbols:
Go Blue, good night, and thanks for reading.
A gallery of photos showing progress on the interior renovation of Crisler has been posted on the Michigan women's basketball Facebook page. See Crisler Center Updates. The concourse is barely recognizable. A sampling below, with the original captions.
The Maize Rage entrance:
Another view of the concourse:
Working on the new floor at Crisler Center:
To talk about something (other than PSU) on a slow day, there is a good article on the nearing completion of Crisler Center renovations.
Included are comments from Beilein, my favorite being:
"Crisler is probably an 80-percent finished product right now. There's a completely new facade and the outside is all brick and it's beautiful," Beilein said. "There's a new entryway to Crisler that's going to knock you out. There's a big block 'M' and the escalators and big glass entry. All of the concourses are wide open with food courts, lighting and windows. It is going to be something really special."
To view photos of the latest Crisler Center renovations, visit:
Sunday I had asked a question about the schedule on Crisler Center renovations. This question has been answered: a number of the exterior walls have already been ripped out, with the bottom of the upper seats and the concourses visible to the outside air.
UMhoops has some of the photos of the (link:) Crisler Center Construction.
Additional photos of the demolition and construction, taken yesterday, Monday Feb. 27, can be found at (Link:) Michigan Stadium Aerials.
I hadn't fully thought through the fact that the brick walls were not load bearing, and as such, could be removed and expanded outward. Seeing the photos, I can now visualize how stores or food vendors or restrooms (or the atrium, for that matter,) could be built outward from the concourse area, adding a lot of floor space to Crisler.
The renovations will result in an increase of 65,000 square feet. I have seen this figure previously, but never really had a good spatial idea of what that meant. This increase is the same as a football field plus 13% more. Here's a picture to help you visualize:
That is a HUGE increase, and will vastly change the experience at Crisler.
I had wondered why they were pressing to begin already, since this precludes the team from using Crisler for practice through the NCAA tournament. However, looking at the pictures, I can see why they wanted to begin. The new construction, especially of the atrium entrance at the northeast, is pretty extensive. Even if they are still finishing things off inside through August and September and even October, they would want to have the exterior walls completed by mid-August, to avoid construction vehicles and fencing when the football season starts.
With the completion of the Crisler Renovations, Michigan's athletic campus may be better than any other in the world. The centerpiece, of course, is Michigan Stadium, with the new luxury boxes. But in addition to Michigan Stadium, we have:
- Crisler Center
- PDC for Men's & Women's Basketball
- Indoor Al Glick Football Facilities
- Yost for Hockey
- New Wilpon Baseball Complex
- Cliff Keen Arena, for Wrestling & Gymnastics
- Canham Natatorium
There are many more facilities, but almost all of these are fairly new, and yet very attractive. Several of the recent football recruits have commented on how they were very impressed by the Stadium. With the completion of Crisler next year, It is hard to think of any sport where our physical facilities are a liability. A lot of credit needs to go to Bill Martin, who had a vision for improving the physical plant at Michigan.