Now hear this: A built-up Michigan Stadium should keep sound from fans and speakers inside
Stan Parrish thought back to the 1997 Ohio State-Michigan football game. Then Michigan’s quarterbacks coach, he remembered trying to talk with quarterbacks Brian Griese and Tom Brady while on the sidelines.
It didn’t work too well.
“I always liked the presence about it,” said Parrish, now Ball State’s head coach. “I thought it was plenty loud.”
Of course, Michigan beat Ohio State that year, 20-14, so there was reason for Michigan Stadium to live up to its Big House name instead of the Big-but-sometimes-vacant-sounding-House that the bowl could be during non-rivalry games.
Now, though, the thought is it won’t be an issue. As part of a $226 million reconstruction of the stadium that will be finished by August 2010, Michigan installed glass panels on its boxes at the top of the new concourses that should push sound back toward the field.
“What they’ve done will make it considerably louder,” said Eastern Michigan coach Ron English, a former Michigan assistant. “It’s not that they don’t cheer in there, but the sound escapes. So they’ve done what I think, what they’ve done will certainly enhance the sound.”
When Michigan ran tests on the sound in Michigan Stadium earlier this year, it wasn’t done to test how loud the 100,000-plus seat structure could get when the Wolverines’ defense is on the field, but rather to make sure every nook and cranny of the place could actually feel the sound.
“What we were doing is testing out the theory of where the dead spots would be based on the new sound system in the north end zone scoreboard,” Michigan executive associate athletic director Michael Stevenson said. “There was an engineering study more than anything else.”
Stevenson said the reports are good and he doesn’t think there’ll be any dead zones in the stadium when the sound system is installed for the 2010 season.
As far as the crowd noise, Stevenson made it sound like further testing won’t be needed and that they’ll find out throughout the 2009 season how much louder it is.
The noise level, much like any stadium not named Autzen in Eugene, Ore., or Lane in Blacksburg, Va., remains at least partly the responsibility of the fans and the on-field product. But the thought is that when fans cheer this year, it’ll at least stay inside the stadium instead of wandering out to Main Street.
“We’ve got a very educated fan base and when you need them, down through the years, those fans have always been there,” former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said. “Now, with that said, the stadium is going to be much, much louder this year because the windows are into the boxes and it’s in my judgment based on what I heard last fall and what I see, I don’t think there’s going to be a louder stadium in the country.
“Unless it’s Oregon.”