The University of Washington is understandably excited about its return to on-campus Husky Stadium after a 22-month, $250 million renovation. After all, as the athletic department’s website likes to boast, the stadium, which sits on the shore of Lake Washington, enjoys “the greatest setting in college football,” with views of the lake as well as the Cascade and Olympic Mountains. (Check out the beautifully illustrated story about the stadium and renovations in The Seattle Times.)
After playing last season downtown at CenturyLink Field, the home of the NFL Seahawks, the Huskies can not only walk to games, but fans can stretch out more, with five more inches of leg room. The coaches move into new quarters built into closed end zone section, where head coach Steve Sarkisian has a penthouse-office with a fireplace. There are 30 luxury boxes, including a triple suite for university President Michael K. Young. And spectators have been brought closer to action through the elimination of the track that once circled the football field.
By removing the track, however, a fun Husky tradition was also eliminated, namely the Husky Helmet Car that had since 1978 been used to celebrate every Washington score. The car's origins are a bit fuzzy, but the tradition reportedly grew out of a desire to do something special after the Huskies won the 1977 Pac-8 championship. The car didn’t make the trip to Pasadena, but instead began taking spins around Husky Stadium with cheerleaders and band members along for the ride. The marching band took on the job of operating the car.
The good news is that the car hasn’t been junked, just moved to a place where people can continue to admire it: the city’s Museum of History & Industry, which goes by the acronym MOHAI.
“MOHAI does a tremendous job of preserving the rich history of the Seattle area, and we knew the Husky Helmet Car would be a great fit there,” Shannon Kelly, an associate athletic director, says.