UH Athletics narrowly
By Crystal J. Doucette
Daily Cougar Staff
Many UH students will remember the night
of June 8, 2001, and the week that followed years after they graduate.
The University suffered millions of dollars in
damages across campus and had to suspend
summer classes for a week.
With all of the loss caused by Tropical
Storm Allison, it's nice to find a bright spot.
The UH athletic facilities, though not
unscathed, were barely touched in comparison to the rest of the main campus.
"In comparison to what's happened across
campus, we're really lucky over here," UH Athletics Director Chet Gladchuk
"Robertson Stadium and Cougar Field have
been affected. The grass on both surfaces has died," he said. "In the bigger
scheme of things, it's a drop in the
bucket compared to what's happened across
The athletics department had to drop about
$15,000 to re-sod the football field in Robertson Stadium, a small sum
next to the nearly $100 million the
University suffered in total damages due
to the flood.
"We've got a game Sept. 1 in football and
there's no way that field could regenerate. So it had to be replaced,"
Cougar Field will not be re-sodded, as
the department waits and hopes the field will recover from its drowning
The newly built softball field didn't incur
any damages. The water sloughed out of the field into the street, leaving
the grass healthy and green as the flood
waters flowed down Elgin to Cullen and
into Cougar Field.
"We got lucky on one front. I mean flat
out lucky," Gladchuk said.
Hofheinz Pavilion and its court survived
the flood caused by Tropical Storm Allison, but it was almost a casualty
"Hofheinz Pavilion, even in a modest rain,
had taken on water because the drains in front of the loading dock had
been clogged for quite some time,"
"We had a request in with the physical
plant for quite some time to come over and fix the drains. By chance, the
schedule was such that a week before the
flood hit they came over and fixed the
drains. Otherwise, Hofheinz would've been the Compaq Center. Hofheinz could've
been under five feet of water."
The Houston Comets were planning on moving
their games into Hofheinz Pavilion the Saturday after their facility and
their court was submerged. But a lack
of power and a more pressing need to set
up Hofheinz for academic purposes when the power was restored prevented
the four-time WNBA championship
team from using the facility.
"We made a commitment to the University
to use Hofheinz as an auxiliary center for academic reasons," Gladchuk
said. "We couldn't allow them to use it
because it was set up for the University."
But the Comets were making plans on playing
their June 17 game against the Utah Starzz on schedule after postponing
two others, including the highly
anticipated matchup against the Los Angeles
Sparks, originally scheduled for June 11.
The Guy V. Lewis Court was dismantled,
packed and trucked to the Compaq Center so the team could have a floor
to play on.
"It was a goodwill gesture by the University,"
Associate Director for Facilities and Operations Jeff Davis said.
"They were welcome to use it as long as
they liked," Gladchuk said. "We're very grateful we caught a break."
Even with a floor to play on, the Center
still wasn't ready to take on fans. The Comets returned the floor to UH
on June 18 and were playing on their brand
new court in time for the 69-65 postponed
victory over the Sparks on Thursday.
Until the University's academic facilities
are cleaned out and refurbished, the Lewis court will remain stacked on
the side while an impromptu computer
station sets up shop in the middle of
Hofheinz's hard rubber floor.
As for the private boxes that are now temporary
department offices: "We didn't quite envision their use, today, but we're
pleased with their being used the way
they are," Gladchuk said.