September 11, 2008

Bulldog Sports Facilities Worth Singing About

Sept. 11, 2008

A football player in the 1970s, now a Butler team physician, Dr. Tom Fischer loves being in Butler Bowl on game day.

With Butler's first 2008 home game on Sept. 13 against Franklin College, Fischer looks forward to the continuation of a tradition started by his former coach Bill Sylvester.

After games, Sylvester, head football coach from 1970-1985, would rally players in front of the Bowl grandstands to lead them and fans in the Butler War song.

"Bill Sylvester could never sing it very well, but he always sang it with a lot of energy," said Fischer, a surgeon with the Indiana Hand Center of Indianapolis. Interviewed for the DVD "The Butler Way: Past, Present and Future" recorded this spring, Fischer said he was pleased when Coach Jeff Voris revived the singing tradition last year.

Reinstating some of the Butler Bowl's physical past glory is a priority of ButlerRising. The campaign set a goal of raising $2.85 million for athletic facility improvements by May 2009. Tentative plans call for expanding the Bowl's grandstands and adding a new press box.

This summer, gifts to the athletic priority covered a major upgrade of 80-year-old locker rooms on the west lower level of Hinkle Fieldhouse Used by women's track, soccer and softball teams, as well as visiting players, the previous locker rooms suffered from outdated equipment, heating and ventilation.

Softball head coach Jeanne Rayman said the facilities had seen better days when she was a Butler student-athlete in the late 1980s. Her recent players went into the old locker rooms only to pick up or drop off uniforms. "They never used them to shower after a workout, due to the age and condition that they were in," Rayman said.

The renovated space (pictured above) features 94 new lockers, a separate coaches' area, climate control and secure keyless entry. A donated television with DVR allows teams to record and review games.

"Our players could not believe it was the same area that they left last spring," Rayman said. "The administration has done a great job making updates to Hinkle without losing any of the history it represents."

Fischer believes ButlerRising can have equally good results for the football stadium. "We've got a chance to finish the Bowl and finish it into the type of facility we need at Butler to match the quality of our academics," he said.

Visit http://www.butlerrising.com/ to learn more about the ButlerRising campaign.