Like the New” Scotland Yard, the “New” Schembechler Hall is a step up over the older version, a cut above, on several levels.
First and foremost it lauds Michigan’s Football program, and its long tradition of notable players and coaches, and their accomplishments, in most interesting ways.
The most striking feature is the larger than life statue that greets visitors at the new entrance which no longer faces State Street.
Of course it is of the late and great Michigan Football Coach, Bo Schembechler. While Bo may or may not have been Michigan’s greatest football coach (some would argue Fielding H. Yost), he is up there with the best. He has certainly been preeminent in the modern era. It is safe to say the modern era of Michigan Football started with Bo.
Fans today rightfully hark back to his era with awe. It is ironic that a coach that did not seek stardom, sometimes made fun of stars (Elvis Presley), abhorred the limelight himself, and stood for the team, the team, the team, himself became an absolute Michigan Football icon.
The brass statue effectively evokes Coach Schembechler’s bigger than life personna, and it is done in stunning detail. The head set he carries has Bo written on it, the ring he wears has an M on it, and the finely decorated watch much detail.
In the museum area, there are vintage helmets on display, uniforms, a Heisman Trophy, footballs denoting victories, and more. The slightly serpentine display cases will allow the crush of game day crowds to weave effortlessly among the displays for the best views.
It is all done in a most classy manner, with two big electronic boards, one of which displays a big blue M that can be seen from outside at night I’m told, and one giant board that has a half dozen or so options, one of which is the usual banner that you see as background as you watch a video press conference. So the museum area can serve a number of needs and functions. It is well thought out, and worth the time of a Michigan Football fan wanting to recall memories, or to learn more of M’s football history.
Among other things, there is a new players lounge with TVs, pool table, lounge chairs. I failed to ask if the eight ball was scarlet and grey, but it should be. There is a new entire football team auditorium sporting upholstered theater seats with lift up note boards- and mottos on the walls. There are mottos for a football team to live by everywhere. Where the office area meets the field in the Hall there is an elevated balcony to overlook the field from one end zone.
The renovation of Crisler gives a good idea of how this one was done. There is everything but a waterfall and escalator. It is absolutely first class. Phil Callihan’s photos will prove the point.
If, as a cynic once said, history is but a tale well told, the same could be said of tradition. The Michigan tale is getting well told. This is probably because the facts support the tale.