Monday, July 21, 2008

UMass Field House Tour

The UMass Football Blog was honored to receive an invite to tour the UMass Field House. The invitation was extended by Paul Bys the UMass Equipment Manager. I want to thank him and Coach Brown for allowing us to visit. It certainly was a treat to get a tour of the field house.

About a week before my June vacation I journeyed down to Amherst for the imaging session. I spent a couple of hours talking to Mr. Bys and several of the UMass coaches.

Mr. Bys will be in his 13th year as equipment manager when the season opens against Albany on August 30th. Paul oversees all the game day operations as well as equipment and locker room facilities for both home and away games.

I ended taking 19 images, which are in a Picasa web album here. I've also added a link in the “2008 UMass Images' section in the sidebar.

Truth-in-blogging note: I was not not allowed to take pictures of the coach's rooms in the Field House (the UMass coaching staff has “field' offices in the facility as well as in the main UMass football offices in Boyden). The athletic dept also asked to see a copy of this blog post before I published it, which was fair in my opinion. Many teams would not work with a Blogger.

The UMass field House dates to the construction of Warren McGuirk Alumni stadium in 1965. It was built in the era when real men changed under the bleachers and a facility like the field house was considered first class. It is now definitely on the elderly side, but the staff works hard to make it the home of UMass football. Despite its age, it compares well with facilities in the CAA North. With lights being added this year, there has been a welcome increase in the University's attention to the McGuirk football complex.

After some years of neglect, I reported last year that the field house received a new coat of paint and the roof was repaired.

Certainly, there is room for improvement in the facilities. A field turf practice field would save wear and tear on the stadium surface and an indoor practice facility would benefit all the athletic teams (Lax, Field Hockey, Soccer and Football). We can always hope!

Besides being the training facility, the staff has tried to make the field house “home” to the UMass Football team. It houses the UMass trophies and football memorabilia .

Click on the link and follow me as we tour the UMass field house!

21 comments:

UMass74 said...

This was on the net today.
Samford gets a new field house

Anonymous said...

Very interesting and thanks. I have a question about your last paragraph:

Besides being the training facility, the staff has tried to make the field house “home” to the UMass Football team. It houses the UMass trophies and football memorabilia .

Can the fans see the trophies and memorabila?

Anonymous said...

Very cool to see this stuff, thanks for the pics and thanks to the staff for letting you in.

Any chance you were able to swipe some jerseys? I know some people interested in buying them. ;)

Anonymous said...

Nice pictures. I don't remember that Law guy who wore 24. He may be retiring this year maybe he would be willing to be an unofficial coach and help with our recruiting. :)

9169479 said...

Great stuff! The field house actually looks pretty nice; but I can see where other (deep-pocketed) alum seeing the pix would be beneficial to the program.

9169479 said...

Never mind - I just saw the proposed field house at Samford. Holy shit! :-o

Anonymous said...

We might be competitive concerning field house and facilities with the norhtern teams in the CAA but just about all the southern teams either have or in process of upgrading field houses and facilities. When comparing facilities to the most of the southern teams we are woefully behind and I'm not even talking about 1A. When I went to the William and Mary game last year they were just completing a 10to 12million dollar upgrade for a new fieldhouse. By the by paid for by the alumni donations.

Anonymous said...

Samford's fieldhouse looks pretty nice. I like that they are building a larger building with plans to finish the interior in the future. Lets do the same thing. They are building a third level on the building that will be finished at a later date.

We aren’t going to get another building for at least 40 years so lets build something special. Call me greedy but I would like a 4 story building, something 4 x as large, 4 x as nice. Lets build something that is Bigger and Nicer. Study halls, Academic Center, and more office space than Coach Brown can dream of. Set aside 1 complete floor for study halls and an academic center which would be available to any athlete and shift 25% of the cost to the academic budget. Add an alumni Reception Area with a small kitchen that is so nice that Alumni will make donations just so they can attend. Make it so nice athletes will fight to come to UMass.

Anonymous said...

Great photos. Paul and the entire staff do an exceptional job with what what they are given. Kudos to him and the entire staff. It is a first-class operation despite the improvements that could be made. Love the lockers with name plates. Congrats and good luck to all!

UMass74 said...

1. On viewing the trophies and All-America display: These are just inside the main entrance. It's close quarters in there and I'm pretty sure they would not want civilians in there on game day. If it was an off day, I'd stick my head in and ask.

2. The player's locker room, training rooms and the coache's rooms are off limits except by specific invitation. Even the coaches try to stay out the the locker room when the players are using it.

3. Yes, player's jerseys are a hot item and Paul has to keep a close eye on them. I wish they would sell replica jerseys. I know #5 would sell!!!

Anonymous said...

Guys, check what William and Mary have done to upgrade their football facilities. Very impressive!
(W and M is a state university):
http://www.tribeathletics.com/story.php/4790/

Anonymous said...

Looking at the UMass field house I would say it is strictly third class compared to most D1a schools I have seen. It is even second class to most D1aa top twenty schools and many high schools too. It is nothing to be proud of. You guys need to go to UConn to see what first class facilities are.

Anonymous said...

Go home Uconn troll...no one wants you here. Nice on campus facility at Storrs, by the way.
Although our field house isn't brand new, it is adequate. Uconn's was horrible before they went FBS. Umass has had a new field house on the drawing board for the last 10 years. I saw blueprints and plans for it 10 years ago, but due to budget constraints, it's going nowhere. Since Uconn's facilities are "top notch", that must have been the reason they signed to play Notre Dame at ND's place for the next few years. By the way, have Edsall schedule a game with us. Uconn has dodged UNH and UMass for years, and the reason is Edsall doesn't want to play us. I hope Hofstra has a strong team this year and beats UConn.

Anonymous said...

UConn also loses many players to FCS teams. What's up with dat?

Rocks said...

74, thanks for that look into the football facility. I had no idea they squeezed all that memorabilia into there. I found it curious that they have authentic helmets for all the current and past opponents. Did the EQ manager mention why that is?

UMass74 said...

As I understand it, football equipment managers have their own mafia with their own rules and traditions.

They swap motivational souvenirs and have agreements between themselves about taking care of visiting teams and the like.

For example, there is a shelf in the player's locker room. When UMass wins, the loser's helmet is switched from the box in the equipment room to the shelf. When it's a new team, UMass gets to keep the helmet as a memento of the game. The helmet is one that is ready to be " retired" anyway.

Anonymous said...

Say what you want but playing ND anywhere vs playing Albany and Bryant at Amherst are worlds apart. You guys will be lucky to draw 10,000 of you fair weather fans while we will be playing in front of 60,ooo+. Being an FBS team is far from being a second class D1 team. We schedule FCS team for scrimmages before we begin to dance with the big boys of college football. Until you guys get the support to step up UMass will also be second class as long as they stay D1AA.

UConn Troll

UMass74 said...

Dear Troll:

Please go away. If you want to talk smack, go to Mike's message board. Lot's of people will be glad to answer you.

Seeing the last time UMass and UConn met, we won 62-22, and UConn backed out of a game with us, so you really don't have much to brag about.

We have an open date in 2010. Call your coach and let him know. Then check back in after we play.

Enough said.. said...

62-20

Anonymous said...

Good for you, Frank. Touche.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic Job UMass74 !!! Lots of great information in there - probably some of your best work to date. Obviously we should be thinking in terms of upgrading the fieldhouse facility but they do a nice job of maintaining it.

62-20.