Another Look

Earlier this week WVU fans saw some renderings of what a proposed stadium facelift could possibly look like.  Check out Mike Casazza’s WVU blog at the Daily Mail here for a complete rundown. First let me say it’s a fantastic idea.  I’ve always felt WVU’s stadium was very nice, but was missing that graphic “pop” that characterizes some places.  There are places you see on TV around the country and think “well that’s kinda cool.”  Think ‘COLORADO’ printed behind the end zones in Boulder or the “Home of the 12th Man” text in Kyle Field’s upper deck, Knoxville’s checkerboard end zones and Georgia’s hedges.  Just something you see and instantly know what you’re looking at and more importantly WHERE you’re looking at it. I think WVU has an opportunity to begin to do something like that here and I was excited to hear they were planning a (minor) facelift. Imagine my disappointment when I saw the proposed renderings. In a word: ‘underwhelming.’  I guess it’s an improvement over plain gray, but if you’re going to do something why take  half swing?  What I saw was basically dropping in a couple flying WV’s and a little text.  Nothing even approaching creative.  Why not push the envelope a little here?  WVU is very fortunate in that they have an amazingly rich football tradition to draw from.  Major Harris, Pat White, Steve Slaton – these are names and faces that folks around America know.  Why not capitalize on that? You know what I think would be cool?  A giant freaking poster of the iconic image of Major Harris raising the ball in triumph at the end of ‘The Run’ to open the 1988 game against Penn State.  You could even flank that with some large text (and not “West Virginia Mountaineers” – everyone knows who you are) but something evoking a little more tradition – maybe “Country Roads, Take Me Home.”  ’Cause you know – you just scored a TOUCHDOWN!  YOU’RE HOME BABY!!  Have a little fun with it – throw some images and words out there that are special to the fans.  Maybe everyone watching on TV won’t get it, maybe they’ll have to ask someone “who’s the dude in the end zone” and then they’ll learn a little something. I did a little Photoshopping and came up with this: (Quick comment – I doctored the North end zone because that was the only image that was large enough to drop photos into and have them recognizable.  The “Pride of West Virginia” text on the original scheme was the only part I loved.  Also for historical accuracy we need the pic of Maj in the South end zone anyway.) I wouldn’t stop there, either.  I’d use similar images of Slaton and White, maybe throw in a little Owen Schmitt, some Darryl Talley for the old school crowd.  Place these images and some type of related text next to them.  Maybe ‘PLAY FAST’ bookended by pics of Slaton and White at one end or the other of the east or west field level walls.  I’m just spitballing a little but the general sense is to not simply put up generic text and logo graphics with some italicized text and call it done.  Be creative in how you communicate the WVU brand to the nation when their eyes are on Milan Puskar Stadium and celebrate a rich past. On that note, I think there’s more to be done as far as honoring some past players.  I’ll say this: a recurring complaint has been how difficult it seems to be to get WVU numbers retired.  Some argue that the criteria should be relaxed.  I’d just point out that you don’t necessarily have to retire a number to honor a great player.  University of Kentucky’s Commonwealth Stadium has several players names and numbers honored along their upper decks (if you ever see a cooler name than ‘Shipwreck Kelly’ on a stadium wall please let me know) and you see those same numbers on the backs of players on the field below.  They seem to survive (kinda).  I can think of a dozen guys off the top of my head that would qualify for such status at WVU – whether or not you need to retire a number.  Heck – with the number of players and turnover involved in a college football program I could totally see why you would NEVER want to retire a number.  Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t honor greats. (OK, I guess I didn’t do a very good job of holding off on detailed comment.  Sorry.  Back to stadium decor.) Now don’t go too far or you end up with a monstrosity like Oregon’s basketball court, but the fact of the matter is for the better part of the last decade WVU football has been on the nation’s cutting edge.  Running out of the spread, the 3-3-5 stack defense and now Dana Holgorsen’s latest incarnation of the “Air Raid” attack – WVU coaches have become known for their ability to think outside the box to get in the end zone. They should play in a venue that displays that same type of thinking.  

One Response to “Another Look”

  1. I’m glad they are at least tackling the issue and acknowledging that the plain gray walls look generic. What they are proposing is better, but they could have done more. I think one reason they strayed away from putting player images out there is where do you stop? You don’t want to offend alums that promote the brand and help finance it.

    Also, I think Luck has talked about wanting to do something like a ring of honor or something like that at the stadium. He talked about what you referenced, that you may not need to retire the number, but you can honor the player. I think the numbers that are retired are probably all we want to retire. You need just about all of them for football.

Leave a Reply