New Look on Tap for Kelly/Shorts Stadium

MOUNT PLEASANT - Everything's coming up "new" in Kelly/Shorts Stadium. Central Michigan University has a new football coach in Brian Kelly and will have a new synthetic playing surface installed for the 2004 season. The Chippewa football team also will have a new sideline.

For the first time since the stadium opened in 1972, the Maroon and Gold will be on the west side (press box side) of the stadium when Southeast Missouri State University opens Central Michigan's 2004 home season Sept. 18.

In fact, there will be a number of changes within the stadium, many of them done to comply with new sportsmanship guidelines adopted by the Mid-American Conference.

The Chippewa Marching Band will remain on the east side but will be seated on the south end from the 35-25 yard line instead of at midfield. The CMU student section will begin at that point and wrap all around the south end zone.

"According to the new MAC sportsmanship guidelines, neither our band nor our students will be allowed behind the opposing team," CMU athletic director Herb Deromedi said. "As to moving the home team to the press box side, most home teams in the country are on that side which is right in front of your season ticket holders."

Kelly is excited about the change.

"We're looking to create a home field advantage and we feel these changes will do that," said Kelly. "We want Kelly/Shorts to be a difficult place for opponents to play within the guidelines of sportsmanship set up by the MAC.

"With all of these changes in place, however, we realize that it is still going to come down to us putting a good football team on the field and that's our responsibility."

Nick Williams, CMU's assistant athletic director in charge of marketing, sees the moves as positive ones.

"We'll have all of our fans together starting from the band on the east side to our students to our season ticket holders," Williams said. "Before we had one group on one side and another on the other."

In addition, the south parking lot will now be designated as the student tailgaiting area which will make for easy access to their seats in the south end zone. The north lot will be more family/alumni oriented.

"We think it will be the best scenario for everyone involved," Williams said. "I think it will definitely help our football team and I think the students will appreciate it, too, having their own parking lot."

The new plan has been a work in progress with CMU's athletic department meeting with the Department of Public Safety, Student Life, the marching band and the Dean of Students office.

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