Coach's Corner

Dan Evans and all of us Husky fans know the state should help support the funding for the upgrades on Husky Stadium. The answer why is a very simple one, because the State essentially owns the stadium.

Just like it basically owns all the state universities and is responsible for the education of all our children.

The University of Washington, as the pinnacle of that educational system, is entitled to state support for that very reason. Husky Stadium is a valuable possession that the people of the State of Washington know plays an important role in the culture of the entire region. It should be modernized and brought up to standards because of its overall economic and social impact on the Pacific Northwest.

The stadium represents the finest on-campus facility of its kind west of the Rockies. I was told once by Lou Holtz, on the elevator coming down out of Husky Stadium, that he felt it was one of the most beautiful stadiums in the country. He said that Husky Football, to him, represented what college football is all about.

Of course Lou and his team had just beaten us.

Regardless, on those clear and sunny fall afternoons in the months of September and October, when the Dawgs are howling' and the band is playing, the beauty of the northwest football experience is overwhelming. Husky Stadium is just that special. Having coached or played all over the country, in some of the finest stadiums in America, (including Coach Holtz's own Notre Dame Stadium), I can say with pride that Husky Stadium is indeed one of the most picturesque and spectacular in terms of views and its setting. There are very few stadiums built right on the water and the bluest skies in Seattle are always in the fall.

Unfortunately, I would be remiss if I didn't point out that Coach Holtz was here over a decade ago. Since then, little has been done to change or upgrade the facility other than the absolute bare maintenance required to keep it going. Nothing has really been done since Mike Lude added the north side upper deck in 1987.

That stadium and its capacity crowds were and always will be the cash cow of the athletic department. The UW Athletic Department, (i.e. Football) has enabled the UW to be the only state school that is able to operate its own athletic department without state support. Husky football has been so successful that it has paid for everything.

And now it's time for the state to step up!

The magnitude of the overall economic impact on the whole region during Husky Football weekends can not be understated. College football is definitely big business. The facility that houses that business is Husky Stadium. This is an easy business decision by the state.

Here comes the irony. It seems strange to many that the state is even considering ways to help with Husky Stadium while at the same time denying funding for the Sonics in order to keep professional basketball and potentially the NHL in the region.

But to me the difference is clear. The professional team is not owned by the state - therefore the Sonics represent a private entity asking for public funding.

The university and its facilities belong to the people of this state. The state legislature can make this happen and they can do so sometime this year. Remember this is an election year. Email, write or otherwise contact your state representatives and senators and let them know this is an important issue to you.

The stadium deserves our support and there will never be a threat to move the team. The Huskies were here long before any professional team and have become an institution in this town. That stadium is symbolic of a great history and tradition of regional pride.

This region is not losing the Sonics because the citizens refused to instantly build a new arena for them. We are losing the Sonics because they were sold to an out of town buyer who had every intention of moving them in the first place. That is the sad reality. Starbucks sold us out! But, can you blame them when they got top dollar from the Okies? Whatever, Clay Bennett bought the ball and he is taking it home. It has been obvious of his intentions and those of David Stern and the NBA, but we just didn't want to believe it.

Besides their deceptive intentions, the way they threw Lenny Wilkins under the bus pretty much told me where they were coming from and going to. I have now accepted that they are ultimately gone and will root against them when they leave, just like I did the Brewers when they stole our Pilots. I can't believe it has happened, but it has. The Sonics are gone.

The Sonic owners wanted something brand new or nothing at all. Maybe if they had accepted an upgrade on their existing home, Key Arena, this would have been done a long time ago.

Washington doesn't want to build something brand new, they just want to fix what they already have. Just like they did at Oregon State, Stanford, and just like WSU is experiencing with its remodel of Martin Stadium. If these schools can address their facilities issues, why can't Washington?

For Husky fans, this is something positive we can do to help the Huskies get better. Support this stadium project. The timing is bad because this has been a terrible down period in the program, but history tells us that Huskies will be back and when they do they will be averaging over 70,000 per game once again and playing in hopefully what will be one of the finest stadiums in America.

But it needs our support. Top Stories