Sept. 4, 2011 | WMU News
Immediately following the Sept. 11 attacks, all intercollegiate athletic contests throughout the country were canceled through Sunday, Sept. 16.
Western Michigan University's athletic director Kathy Beauregard remembers well the monumental effort that was mounted to restore athletic events to some sense of normalcy, including rescheduling that weekend's football game against the University of Michigan.
Beauregard, who was stranded in Philadelphia after flights were grounded nationwide, spent most of a long car trip home trying to pick up the pieces. "It was unbelievable the amount of time it took just to reschedule that game," she says. "I spent the entire time driving back over 16 hours in constant communication with athletic directors at Michigan and at other MAC schools."
In the end, the Broncos' game with Ball State University was moved to the end of the season, and Michigan's contest with the University of Illinois was rescheduled to allow WMU to play one week later in Ann Arbor.
A huge concern in September 2001 was protecting against another attack. The rescheduled game at Michigan Stadium—the largest football stadium in the nation—could have been the next terrorist target.
"There wasn't a dry eye in the house." —Kathy Beauregard
It turned out to be a memorable and safe event, with the Bronco and Michigan marching bands joining in the playing of "God Bless America."
"It was one of the most emotional days I can remember," Beauregard says. "We had to show that we can move forward, and we are strong and can overcome this. It was more than just a football game. There wasn't a dry eye in the house."
Though it's been 10 years, the impact of Sept. 11, 2001, lingers to this day. "Security definitely changed at events at large venues," Beauregard says. "Many of those practices are still being used today."