In step

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  • Coaches for the Akron Zips hurry down the press box stairs at Warren P. McGuirk Alumni Stadium for halftime of their match against the University of Massachusetts Minutemen on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

Published: 11/12/2019 11:49:04 AM

When the University of Massachusetts football program made the leap to Division 1 in 2012 (specifically, to the Football Bowl Subdivision), it began a rollout of improvements to Warren P. McGuirk Alumni Stadium, including a new press box with all the modern conveniences — like an elevator. 

Before this, the only way to access the old press box was to walk up through the home-side bleachers. At halftime of each game, I would leave the field a little early to make the climb to the press box to obtain the team rosters, and maybe a little nosh from the hospitality spread for the media. If I started too late, and the spectators had already begun their glacial movement down the narrow stairs to get their own snacks, I’d feel about as effective as a salmon swimming upstream.

Nowadays, I still leave the field early because for the last few minutes of each half the elevator is reserved exclusively for the press box coaches (you know, the guys with the headphones) to hurry down to the field and locker rooms.

But even so, the elevator has its capacity limit. On the day I shot this, the “over-limit” coaches from the visiting Akron Zips — their real name — were forced to zig zag down the alternate stairwell. But at least it’s now much wider and more open than those old concrete steps.

Text and photo by Kevin Gutting

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