At the west end of Rice-Eccles Stadium sits a nondescript brick building with few windows. Above the door, etched into the south wall, reads “Fountain of Ute.”
Originally built in 1931 to be a culinary well for campus, the site was acquired by the U in 1950, after which some of the U’s brightest biochem and geology students began using the building as a research lab. This same group of students — the “Rad Scientists” — went on an intramural sports run that has yet to be rivaled at the U, winning four consecutive titles in basketball, flag football, and gelande ski jumping.
Some of the old-timers that still remember the intramural reign by the Rad Scientists recall the team always bringing its own water cooler to every event.
After the students graduated, they moved on to different parts of the country and left the lab empty. But, before they left they hung a sign, the “Fountain of Ute,” that we see today, and they left a key to the building in a hidden spot somewhere on campus.
It is believed that basketball coach Jack Gardner knew of the Rad Scientists and their research lab and directed some of the lackeys in the athletic department to find that key. No one knows if they found anything, but Gardner’s clubs did make it to the Final Four twice during the ’60s. However, years later, one of the Rad Scientists, Adam B. Split, told The Salt Lake Tribune, “No way Gardner found the key to (the Fountain of Ute). Otherwise they wouldn’t have lost a game.”
Split would not comment on what was in the Fountain of Ute or what made it so magical.
Word is, Urban Meyer and a group of assistants caught wind of the the Fountain of Ute story when he first arrived on campus and began a search for the key. For the entire summer of ’04, men in red and black track suits could be seen scouring campus.
Whether Meyer and the Utah football program found the key to the Fountain of Ute is still unknown, but the coach did leave a receipt to Doc’s Key Shop in his desk. Whether he made a copy of the key to the Fountain of Ute to take with him to Gainesville, is pure speculation. It is also rumored that Meyer taped a copy of the key to the bottom of his desk for Coach Whittingham.
The mainstream media credits the championship success merely to talented programs. Some attribute the success to the Artesian well and the cold canyon stream water. Others say the well draws from a molten sample of tectonic plates boiling and stirring in the fault line’s asthenosphere. And, that this unique combination of magnesium, iron, silica, and Wasatch mountain water heightens the senses and sets off a hidden neuron in the brain that just wants to win — dubbed the ‘Win Switch’ by The New England Journal for Pseudoscience.
A University spokesperson will neither confirm nor deny the story.