Back to
Columns Magazine
Husky Track

UW’s Derrick Daigre edges Jesse Jorgensen of WSU for the victory in the 800-meter race during the first meet on the Husky Track.

Purple Lane
Twenty years in the making, the new Husky Track debuts to rave reviews

THE UW AND WSU track teams have squared off 97 times in dual meets, but until this spring, the Huskies had never hosted on an oval of their own.

Since 1920, the track encircling the football field at Husky Stadium was the surface upon which 27 Olympians and 36 NCAA champions sweat for UW. The new—and very purple—Husky Track has been more than 20 years in the making, but the wait was well worth it for track coach Greg Metcalf.

“It’s almost like Christmas morning each time I drive around the corner and see this place,” Metcalf said before the opening meet against WSU on April 25. “I went to my first real track practice at the University of Washington the other day. Throwers, jumpers, sprinters and hurdlers all training at the same place!”

Construction of the track, which is located adjacent to the E-1 parking lot just north of Husky Stadium, wasn’t easy. Turner Construction, the same firm that is renovating Husky Stadium, had to cover a landfill adjacent to swampland at the head of Union Bay and install underground pilings beneath the track to reinforce it.

For Athletic Director Scott Woodward, the extra time and expense was necessary. “With the great history our track program has, this is a very important part of our athletic department and our overall program,” he explained. “And this has been built in a way that makes us proud. This is state of the art.”

The project isn’t quite complete, however. Coach Metcalf wants to increase the seating capacity of the new facility to 4,500, which would be enough to allow UW to host the Washington state high school track and field championships as well as other major events.

Husky Track is already making memories, though. “I’ve been to a lot of these dual meets over the years, but this was by far my favorite one,” Metcalf said after the inaugural event, which the Huskies split with the Cougars. “To see so many alums and fans out here today in this new intimate setting, it just feels like a very special place already.”

A New Ball Game

Tune in to UWTV’s A New Ball Game, a discussion presented by the Evans School of Public Affairs and the UWAA on the challenges confronting college sports. The panel features NCAA President Mark Emmert, ’75; Professor J. Patrick Dobel; Vice Provost Ed Taylor, ’93; and coaches Lorenzo Romar and Heather Tarr.

2 Responses to Purple Lane

  1. Greg Crowther says:

    I’m hoping that there will be a clearly articulated policy, posted both online and at the new track, regarding access by other UW faculty/staff/students and the public. With the previous outdoor track, there were no official hours of public access; using it when it was unlocked and unoccupied by other team seemed OK (the coaches were friendly about this), but one never knew whether it would be available until arriving.
    Greg Crowther
    (PhD student, UW Dept. of Physiology & Biophysics, 1995-2002; UW postdoc/faculty, 2003-present; USA 100K national team member, 2005/2007/2008)

  2. Evelyn Ho says:

    Yay! Go Dawgs! And Go Husky Track & Field! It’s so exciting to see the pictures and read the news about the new purple track that’s just for Track. Can’t wait to see it in person.

What Do You Think?

Use the form below to comment on this story. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Personal attacks, insults, profanity, solicitations and spam are prohibited. The UW Alumni Association reserves the right to remove comments. For more information, please read our comment FAQ.