The Oakland Post

OU’s history with the Pontiac Silverdome

Sadie Layher, Staff Reporter

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Recently, the famous Pontiac Silverdome came to a crashing end after having been a part of Pontiac’s community since Sept. 19, 1973. The building itself was closed in February, but it once was an icon for those from Southern Michigan and was the home of the Lions.

Before that, it had been the home of the Detroit Express that started in 1978.

The Detroit Express was a soccer team that consisted of men recruited from around the world. Two such men were later assistant coaches for Oakland University’s soccer program. Stephen Seargeant was the assistant coach for roughly 21 years and Brian Tinnion was assistant coach from 1985-1986. Both of these men were recruited not from the States, but from England. Currently Tinnion’s son, Paul Tinnion, is a grad assistant for the soccer program.

Seargeant and Tinnion’s team brought around 12,000 people on average to the Silverdome stadium. It was built for roughly 60,000, but the most either of them saw at a single game was 30,000.

Then, in 1994, the Pontiac Silverdome hosted one of the FIFA World Cup Championship games. The event was so huge that the sports teams who typically practiced in the Silverdome were relocated and practiced on Oakland’s soccer fields. The championship game brought another predicament, – they did not have a commentator. They needed someone from the area who knew the game, and that is where Seargeant stepped in.

Seargeant was writing articles for USA Today alongside Michigan State University’s former assistant soccer coach, Joe Baum.

The Silverdome, explained Seargeant, “was chosen because of its geography” since it was near Metro Detroit and quite close to the freeway.

After their run on the Detroit Express soccer team, both coaches resided near Rochester, Mich. In turn, both eventually got recruited again, but for coaching Oakland men’s soccer instead.

Both former coaches expressed the sentiment that the Silverdome “was home and I grew up with the Silverdome.”

Having the dome built in Pontiac gave new revival to the city and it significantly helped the local economy. There were concerts of all different kinds, such as hairband rock among the likes of Metallica and Aerosmith and acts like Elvis Presley.

“It had a huge impact on Pontiac and for 20 years it was the place to be,” Tinnion said.

However, progress becomes a recurring theme. Much like today, with Little Caesars Arena taking the place of the well-known Palace of Auburn Hills, the Silverdome became disposable.

Ford Field and the Palace took over event duties from the Silverdome but now Little Caesar’s Arena holds all the concerts and is the place to be.

Nearly all of the college students now at Oakland are from a generation unfamiliar with the Silverdome’s impressive qualities and its home-like atmosphere. It was a feat of architecture and was one of the many homes of the Lions.

This generation did care for the Silverdome, as many of their parents had partaken in different events there by creating various Facebook events such as “Blow fans at Silverdome to help knock it down” or “Yell encouragement at Silverdome.”

We may not personally understand the Silverdome’s influence but we can honor it by thinking about the accords given by those who had an emotional connection to the dome.

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