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Today's Tidbit... College Football's Memorial Stadiums, Part I
Arkansas coach Sam Pittman ended a recent press conference by suggesting that Razorback fans should fill Arkansas' War Memorial Stadium for Saturday's game with Western Carolina, arguing for them to show respect for the service members who gave their lives for their country and for whom the Razorbacks’ stadium is named. Given his argument, reviewing the 17 FBS stadiums dedicated as memorials to the nation’s war dead seemed appropriate.
Today's tour consists of 9 of the 17 stadiums named in honor of military members past, present, and future. (We will cover eight additional schools tomorrow.) The school, original stadium name, opening year, seating capacity, remarks, and stadium images are below.
Arkansas - War Memorial Stadium (1948 | 31,075)
Opened in 1948, Arkansas’ War Memorial Stadium is "dedicated to the men and women of Arkansas who gave their lives in the great wars."
Army - Michie Stadium (1924 | 16,000)
Army's stadium is dedicated to Dennis Michie, Class of 1892, who organized, coached, and played on West Point's first football team in 1890. Michie was killed in action during the Spanish-American War.
California - Memorial Stadium (1923 | 72,609)
Dedicated "in memory of Californians who gave their lives in the World War, 1914-1919," the stadium is built atop the Hayward Fault. The east side of Memorial Stadium is built into the surrounding hills and connects to the freestanding west side via expansion joints.
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Clemson - Memorial Stadium (1942 | 20,500)
Clemson opened its doors in 1893 as a military school and produced more officers during WWII than any school other than Army and Texas A&M. Popularly known as Death Valley and named in honor of Clemson students who made the ultimate sacrifice, the stadium opened in 1942 and was mostly designed and constructed by unpaid student labor.
Illinois - Memorial Stadium (1923 | 55,524)
Illinois' Memorial Stadium is dedicated to the 182 men and 1 woman associated with the university who died in service during WWI. It opened in 1923 and was dedicated before the 1924 Michigan game, during which Red Grange famously ran for five touchdowns.
Indiana - Indiana University Stadium (1960 | 48,344)
Known as Indiana University Stadium upon opening in 1960, the Rock replaced an earlier Memorial Stadium built in 1920. The earlier stadium was home to the "Little 500" bike race seen in the movie Breaking Away. The new stadium later assumed the name of its predecessor.
Kansas - Memorial Stadium (1921 | 22,000)
Kansas Memorial Stadium is the seventh oldest FBS Stadium. Opened in 1921, parts of the stadium sit atop the former McCook Field, which opened in 1892. The stadium is dedicated to "the University of Kansas students who fought and died in World War I." Over $200,000 was pledged for the stadium construction within three days of Kansas, under "Phog" Allen, staging a comeback tie against Nebraska in 1920.
Memphis - Memphis Memorial Stadium (1965 | 50,160)
Constructed on what was then the site of the Mid-South Fairgrounds, the Memphis Memorial Stadium opened in 1965 as a memorial to Memphis citizens who served in WWI, WWII, and the Korean War. The stadium was intended to be the permanent home of the Liberty Bowl and the Memphis Tigers football program.
Missouri - Memorial Stadium (1926 | 25,000)
Often referred to as Faurot Field, Memorial Stadium opened in 1926 and honors the 112 Missouri students and alums who lost their lives during WWI. Like many stadiums of the era, they designed it to expand as demand required. While the artist's rendering shows the stadium in a horseshoe configuration, it started life with both ends open.
College Football's Memorial Stadiums, Part II covers eight additional stadiums -those at Navy, Nebraska, New Mexico State, Oklahoma, Southern Cal, Texas, Troy, and Wyoming. Part II is available here, so check it out.
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