FACILITIES / DIRECTIONS
Crisler Arena -- now known as Crisler Center with the addition of the William Davidson Player Development Center -- has been the location for Michigan athletic events for 45 years. The men's basketball team has called Crisler its home since the arena opened in December 1967, and the women's basketball team has used the arena since its inaugural season as a varsity sport in 1973-74. U-M wrestling and gymnastics have also called it home, while a multitude of campus events and concerts have been held at the facility over the years.
Two years in the making at a cost of $7.2 million, the arena is a tribute to Herbert O. "Fritz" Crisler and his many contributions to Michigan Athletics. Michigan's football coach from 1938-47, Crisler served 27 years as the Michigan athletic director before retiring in 1968.
Dan Dworsky, a linebacker on Crisler's undefeated 1947 (and 1948) football team, was one of two architects involved in the construction and was tasked with the design, preliminary drawings and selection of materials. The building stands at 107 feet with telescopic seating encircling the arena floor with an original seating capacity of 13,684.
Crisler Center is affectionately known as "The House that Cazzie Built," for Michigan's greatest player, Cazzie Russell, a two-time consensus All-American and the first player selected in the 1966 NBA draft. Michigan hosted Kentucky on Dec. 2, 1967, for the first event held in Crisler Arena, which was formally dedicated on Feb. 27, 1968. On Dec. 11, 1993, Russell became Michigan's first basketball player to have his number retired, and the banner commemorating his No. 33 hangs from the arena rafters.
On Feb. 8, 2003, another banner joined Russell's in the south rafters, honoring Rudy Tomjanovich as his No. 45 became the second retired jersey. Tomjanovich was a center for the Wolverines from 1967-70, earning All-Big Ten honors each year, as well as All-America honors in 1970. Joining Russell and Tomjanovich's jerseys are Phil Hubbard (No. 35, Jan. 11, 2004), Glen Rice (No. 41, Feb. 20, 2005) and Bill Buntin (No. 22, Jan. 7, 2006) as well as numerous other banners honoring Big Ten champion, NCAA Tournament and NIT teams.
The facility has undergone numerous renovations over the years. In 1998, a full-service production studio was built inside the facility's press lounge and a video replay system was added to the overhead scoreboard. The state-of-the-art digital production facility hosted "Michigan Replay," the football coach's show, and "Wolverine Sports Magazine," a weekly program that showcased all 25 Michigan varsity sports. Press conferences, pregame meals and other special events were also held in the Crisler Press Lounge.
In 2001, several rows of bleacher seats were installed on the east side of the arena to accommodate the Maize Rage student section. Courtside seating was added along the opposite side to help benefit Michigan's endowed athletic scholarship program. A comprehensive renovation of the men's locker room was also done at the time, while the hallway leading up to the locker room was renovated with maple paneling featuring Michigan's All-Americans.
In 2002, the women's locker room underwent major renovations, more than doubling its size and getting a complete facelift. The weight room in Crisler Arena was renovated prior to the 2004-05 season, a year after the athletic medicine training room was enlarged and completely renovated to include a physician's office.
Renovation and Expansion
In October 2010, the U-M Board of Regents approved the first phase of the Crisler Arena renovation plan at a cost of $20 million. In January 2011, the second phase of expansion and renovation was approved by the Regents.
The first phase began in March 2011 upon the completion of the basketball seasons. It addressed high priority infrastructure needs such as repairs to the roof, electrical, plumbing and air handling systems. Lower bowl seats were also replaced, with the expansion of seating for people with disabilities, addition of hand rails and other code-related issues. High-definition video scoreboards and premium seating areas were also added.
Phase two added approximately 63,000 gross square feet for new fan entrances, additional retail and ticketing areas, as well as a private club space. Athletic resources and gifts funded the $52 million project. The renovation provides improved seating for people with disabilities and expanded and renovated concourses for additional restrooms, concessions and other fan amenities. All seats throughout the arena were replaced.
The William Davidson Player Development Center
In September 2009, the U-M Board of Regents approved the construction of the Player Development Center for the men's and women's basketball programs. In recognition of William Davidson's generous gift to athletics and his ongoing support for the university, the new facility was named in his honor.
Ground was broken on the WDPDC on May 10, 2010. The 57,000-square-foot facility is adjacent to the arena and includes two basketball practice courts, team locker rooms for players and coaches, athletic medicine facilities, and an equipment room on the ground floor. The second floor has offices for the men's and women's coaching staffs and administrative functions, a recruiting suite, film rooms, and strength and conditioning space.
Crisler Center Interesting Facts
Crisler Center was the home for three other Michigan athletic teams prior to the opening of Cliff Keen Arena: women's gymnastics (1978-89), men's gymnastics (1978-89) and wrestling (1967-89). Women's gymnastics returned to Crisler for competition in 2001.
Ten supply fans can filter a maximum of 350,000 cu. ft. of air per minute. This means that the entire air content of the arena can be changed every 14 minutes.
The roof is made up of two plates, weighing approximately 160 tons each. The bridge-like construction of the plates allows them to expand or contract given the change of seasons or the weight of snow.
From Detroit Metro Airport and points east: Take I-94 west to Ann Arbor-Saline Road (exit 175). Turn right and follow Ann Arbor-Saline Road as it turns into Main Street, going north for approximately 1 1/2 miles. Crisler Center is located near the northeast corner of Main and Stadium Boulevard next to Michigan Stadium. The parking lot for Crisler can be entered from two locations.
Turn right immediately after Michigan Stadium onto E. Keech Avenue and turn right into the lot just past Michigan Stadium, or turn right onto Stadium Boulevard and turn left into the parking lot immediately after Crisler Center.
From Chicago and points west: Take I-94 east to Ann Arbor-Saline Road (exit 175). Turn left and follow Ann Arbor-Saline Road as it turns into Main Street, going north for approximately 1 1/2 miles. Crisler Center is located near the northeast corner of Main and Stadium Boulevard next to Michigan Stadium. Turn right immediately after Michigan Stadium onto E. Keech Avenue and turn right into the lot just past Michigan Stadium, or turn right onto Stadium Boulevard and turn left into the parking lot immediately after Crisler Center.
From Toledo and points south: Take U.S. 23 north to I-94 west. Follow directions from Detroit Metro Airport.
From Flint and points north: Take U.S. 23 south to I-94 west. Follow directions from Detroit Metro Airport.