November 06, 2010
In addition to the most uniform combinations and the most luxurious locker rooms of any school in the nation, Oregon will soon be able to lay claim to the country's most original basketball floor.
Oregon officials unveiled the floor of newly built Matthew Knight Arena on Friday, and to say the least the design lives up to the school's reputation for cutting-edge panache and flair. The court is framed on all sides by a forest of fir trees, an homage to the school's picturesque Pacific Northwest setting and to Oregon's 1939 national title team nicknamed "The Tall Firs."
Kilkenny Floor is named after Pat Kilkenny, a long-time supporter of Oregon athletics who served as the school's athletic director from 2007 to 2009 and ran the recent coaching search to replace Ernie Kent. In the center of the floor is the slogan "Deep in the Woods," which is meant to intimidate opposing teams. (Yes, seriously)
Considering Oregon's deep-rooted ties to Nike, it shouldn't surprise anyone that Tinker Hatfield is the designer of the floor. Hatfield, a former Oregon track and field star and vice president of design and special projects for Nike, designed many of the shoes from the famed Air Jordan line.
"When I was asked to work on the new floor for Matthew Knight Arena, I really boiled it down to three things," Hatfield said. "I really wanted to pay tribute to Matthew Knight himself, to the Kilkenny family and lastly but maybe not least, I wanted to pay tribute to the Pacific Northwest and the Tall Firs, the original basketball team that won a national championship for the University of Oregon in 1939."
Like the famed blue "Smurf Turf" at Boise State's football stadium, Oregon's forest floor is meant to be an iconic design that will immediately be recognizable to TV viewers nationwide. The design has already created a buzz, generating stories in local and regional papers and coverage from a variety of blogs.
What has been the reaction from Oregon fans? Based on the comments section from a story on this Ducks-themed site, mostly positive thus far.
Wrote one Oregon fan, "In a word, awesome."
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