.. _V ALVAV
By MICHAEL FLOREK
et us put it this way. It makesa great conversation piece The current capacity - 109,901 - still includes Crisler's was a nondescript door. All Bentley material - the let- Fritz Crisler's seat - the one 'extra' seat that is indicated in
at cocktail parties." seat. Generations of Michigan fans accepted the story and ters, diaries, programs and maps containing the private the capacity number given to Michigan Stadium every year
That extra seat had no significance of any kind? It moved on. For some reason, I couldn't. moments of the past - sit behind it. It's a real-life Cham- since 1956."
was not any special seat in any special spot? I couldn't get over how little everyone knew about it. Some ber of Secrets. An ESPN article claims Fielding Yost created the seat,
"It has its spot," said Crisler. "And I am the only man who people had spent their entire lives around the stadium. Had I awkwardly shrugged off the reference-desk lady and ignoring that he had died 10 years before the '01' appeared.
knows where that spot is." no one searched for the seat? took a seat at a table across from a girl who was definitely The rest of the Internet didn't reveal much else.
Fritz Crisler leaned back against a goal post and gazed Someone had a story. Maybe he or she held onto it for in the South Pacific class. Kinney emerged with the box Newspaper articles from the time of the renovation men-
around the stadium and down the snow-covered field. He decades simply because no one had asked. he'd been looking for. It was full of game programs from tion that the stadium's capacity wasn't known until comple-
smiled and shook his head. I was going to find that person. the 'SOs. One of them was from Michigan's 42-13 win over tion.,
Those appear to be the only words former Michi- I was going to find Crisler's seat. UCLA in the stadium's first game with the extra seat, the "Fritz wanted to end up with a figure of100,001 - just one
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gan football coach Fritz Crisler ever uttered on record '01.' over the even hundred thousand," an unidentified Athletic
about it. As I flipped through advertisements for Lucky Strikes and Department staffer was quoted as saying in 1956. "But he
Gerald Holland captured them in 1964, in a story for a rel- "Are you here for the South Pacific class?" Dodges, I was desperate for any hard information on the seat came up with a thousand seats too many. But he still got that
atively new sports magazine, Sports Illustrated. I was in Bentley Historical Library, just having wrapped at all. It had quickly become apparent that other than the 001 at the end."
For 47 years that was it. up an interview with football archivist Greg Kinney. The Sports Illustrated article, little had been recorded. Nobody looked deeper.
The basic story was relatively simple: When Michigan Sta- woman working the reference desk was trying toube friend- The ticket office said since Michigan Stadium is so big, The UCLA game program detailed the state-of-the-art
dium was renovated in 1956 and seating capacity increased to ly. they don't have a seating chart that outlines every individual press box, complete with photo dark rooms. It had no men-
101,000, Crisler, the Michigan Athletic Director at the time, Bentley's bright red carpeting, fluorescent lighting and seat. tion of an extra seat.
supposedly put in one extra seat in a location only he knew. its employees rustling around old cardboard boxes gave Michigan's official website has a single sentence on the No other program from the '56 and '57 seasons mentioned
The legend grew. the room the feel of a half library, half attic. In the back subject: "One aspect that remains a mystery is the location of the stadium at all.
4 1 FootballSaturday - November 19, 2011
TheMichiganDaily - www.michigandaily.com 5