Stagg Field's new look

With less than ten minutes to go in the fourth quarter, the Maroons were leading Minnesota's Northwestern College by only one point. Northwestern had won its last four games, while the Maroons were in the depths of a four-game losing streak. It wasn't just any game for Chicago's football team, however. It was the season's last home game and the last game on Stagg Field before its renovation. Bernard "Bernie" DelGiorno, AB'54, AB'55, MBA'55, sat in the stands waiting for the ceremonial groundbreaking following the game, which would honor his $2 million gift for the field's makeover.

Quarterback Mike Rinklin, '07, made a 16-yard pass to wide receiver John Kiernan, '09, and the crowd of more than 200 fans erupted in cheers as Kiernan snagged the ball for a touchdown. "You're done, Northwestern!" yelled a Chicago fan when the game ended at 28-20. "Nice try, Northwestern, maybe next light-year!"

As the Maroons slapped high-fives with Northwestern, a small yellow bulldozer slowly rolled to the "C" in the field's center. While the football team sang "Wave the Flag" (a tradition after winning games), the Chicago phoenix led athletic director Tom Weingartner, dean of the College John Boyer, AM'69, PhD'75, and DelGiorno onto the field. The bulldozer took a ceremonial bite out of the "C," and the groundbreaking was officially complete.

Over the next year, all of Stagg Field will go, replaced by artificial turf. The University will resurface the track and add lighting to increase the field's use. In a pre-game reception, Chicago athletes and members of the athletic department gathered to thank DelGiorno, who recalled complaining to Weingartner a few years ago about the quality of the locker-room soap and coming out convinced "that the University really needed lights on the field and artificial turf." Addressing the students, DelGiorno joked, "I hope you get good grades, good jobs, good high-paying jobs—to pay for the electric lights!"

Jenny Fisher, '07

DelGiornio_thumb.jpg FansPhoenix_thumb.jpg CoachMitchellcu3_thumb.jpg Bulldozer_thumb.jpg

Photos (left to right): DelGiorno addresses student-athletes before the game; Chicago fans, including the Phoenix, watch attentively; the football team gets mid-game coaching; the bulldozer begins to dig up the "C."

November 7, 2006