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Today's Tidbit... College Football's Memorial Stadiums, Part II
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.
Yesterday’s Tidbit covered the memorial stadiums at Arkansas, Army, California, Clemson, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Memphis, and Missouri. Today, we cover the remaining eight memorial stadiums at FBS schools. For each, the school, original stadium name, opening year, seating capacity, remarks, and stadium images are listed below.
Navy - Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium (1959 | 29,000)
The Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium opened in 1959 with a dedication plaque reading:
This Stadium is dedicated to those who have served and will serve as upholders of the traditions and renown of the Navy and Marine Corps of the United States. May it be a perpetual reminder that the Navy and Marine Corps are organizations of men trained to live nobly and serve courageously in peace, champions of our integrity; in war, defenders of our freedom.
Nebraska - Memorial Stadium (1923 | 31,080)
The genesis of Nebraska's Memorial Stadium arrived with news of the death in France of Roscoe "Dusty" Rhodes, the 1918 football team captain-elect. Plans for a multi-faceted complex to honor the more than 100 students and alums who died in the war emerged before the effort was trimmed to a football stadium-only project.
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New Mexico State - Aggie Memorial Stadium (1978 | 30,343)
Like Indiana, New Mexico State now plays in its second Memorial Stadium. The first opened in 1950 in dedication to students who perished in the Spanish-American War, WWI, and WWII. The current Memorial Stadium opened in 1978 to honor alumni who served in the Korean and Vietnam Wars.
Oklahoma - Memorial Stadium (1923 | 16,000)
Oklahoma initially planned for a grand memorial stadium dedicated to students and personnel who died in WWI, but they soon scaled back their expectations. They first played football on the site of Memorial Stadium in 1923, when it had only 500 bleacher seats. By 1926, the stadium had 16,000 permanent seats.
Southern Cal - Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (1923 | 75,144)
Commissioned in 1921 and opened in 1923, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum was dedicated to the citizens of Los Angeles who lost their lives in WWI. They renovated and expanded it in anticipation of the 1932 Olympics.
Texas - Memorial Stadium (1924 | 27,000)
Built in honor of the 198,520 Texans who fought in WWI and the 5,280 who died in service, Memorial Stadium opened in 1924. The stadium became a horseshoe two years later with the addition of permanent stands at one end.
Troy - Veterans Memorial Stadium (1950 | 5,000)
Troy State Teachers College opened Veterans Memorial Stadium in 1950, naming it in honor of the students and local residents who gave their lives during World War II.
Wyoming - War Memorial Stadium (1950 | 17,953)
Known locally as "The War," Wyoming's War Memorial Stadium is the highest in Division I at 7,220 feet above sea level. Originally dedicated to more than 30,000 World War II veterans from Wyoming, they rededicated it to those who served in any war.
As the nation’s population and enrollment in colleges and universities have grown, so have the nation’s football stadiums. While many of the stadium proponents targeted grander edifices when first announced, they pared them back as practical considerations took hold. Since opening, however, each of the 17 stadiums has expanded and been renovated, and all are far more luxurious today than could have been imagined by those involved in their original planning.
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