Time flies, huh? I’m sure most people reading this remember the Air Force game from 10 years ago. Despite having been over served at Sally’s before the game I remember making it into my seat just before Bud Grant took the mic for the pregame ceremony. If you want to relive the game, I wrote about that a couple years back. However the part that get’s forgotten about was the long road to getting the dang thing built in the first place.
The Gophers spent 27, fairly miserable, years in the Metrodome. And while it took 3 years to build an on campus stadium, the process to get the shovels in the ground really began back in 2000. In what is a compelling, and kind of sad Wikipedia page, the TCF Bank Stadium wiki, does have a great section on the stadium proposal. Remember when T. Denny Sanford was going to save Gopher athletics? Well he didn’t. And it took years to figure out how the funding would work.
The title of this post “The house that Brew built” has been in my head for awhile, but it’s not accurate. Brewster helped design the locker room and 2009 was his 3rd year. Opening the stadium he was coming off of his best Gopher campaign (a 7-6 season in 2008 with a bowl loss to Kansas). I remember the mood in 2009 being that recruiting was going to get cranked up and then all of our problems would be solved. Ha!
Back to the House that Brew Built or didn’t. Without a huge donor it was the U’s continued push to get the state to kick in 48% of the funding needed. And that took years. Athletic Director Joel Maturi and University President Robert Bruininks were there to push it through. Both Joel and Bob came to the U of M in 2002 and that’s when the stadium push really began. With a plan getting approved in 2006. And looking how all of that played out it really was our state government that tried to impede the stadium as much as anything. Say what you will about Joel, and there have been many many inept administrators over the history of the school, but at least he was there when this got done. Having just typed that I feel uncomfortable giving them too much credit.
TCF Bank Stadium isn’t the panacea some might have thought it would be. It certainly didn’t save Brewster. But how much worse would things be if it didn’t exist? Staying at the Dome couldn’t have gone on much longer but there might be an alternative universe in which the Gophers share US Bank Stadium with the Vikings. And I don’t like that.
Personally I love that our place built to be reminiscent of Memorial Stadium. But I’m just a history guy.