Robertson Stadium

John O'Quinn Field at Corbin J. Robertson Stadium (often referred to as simply Robertson Stadium) was a multi-purpose stadium in Houston, located on the campus of the University of Houston. It was the home of the Houston Cougars football and women's soccer teams. The stadium was the first home for the Houston Dynamo of Major League Soccer from 2006 to 2011, as well as the first home of the American Football League's Houston Oilers from 1960 to 1964.

On January 1, 1961, it hosted the American Football League Championship Game (for the 1960 title). The Oilers defeated the Los Angeles Chargers (24–16) to become the league's first champions. It was also the site for pro football's first ever double-overtime game on December 23, 1962. The Oilers lost to the Dallas Texans (20–17) in that year's AFL title game. This was the only overtime game in the 10-year history of the AFL.

The stadium's capacity was 32,000. The stadium's record attendance in its final configuration was set at 32,413, when Houston hosted the 2011 Conference USA Championship Game on December 3.

In June 2010, the University of Houston announced its intention to raze Robertson Stadium, and build a new stadium at the same site. The stadium was closed and demolished upon the conclusion of the Houston Cougars' 2012 football season. The replacement venue is TDECU Stadium.

Robertson Stadium
The Rob
Robertson Stadium
Former namesPublic School Stadium (1942–1958)
Jeppesen Stadium (1958–1980)
Robertson Stadium (1980–2012)
Address3874 Holman Street
LocationHouston, Texas
Coordinates29°43′19″N 95°20′57″W / 29.72194°N 95.34917°WCoordinates: 29°43′19″N 95°20′57″W / 29.72194°N 95.34917°W
OwnerUniversity of Houston System
OperatorUniversity of Houston
Capacity32,000 (1998–2012)
22,500 (1970–1997)
36,000 (1960–1969)
14,500 (1942–1959)
Record attendance37,981
32,413 (with final capacity)
SurfaceGrass
ScoreboardPhilips Vidiwall
Construction
Broke ground1941
OpenedSeptember 18, 1942
Renovated1960, 1970, 1999, 2006
ClosedNovember 24, 2012
DemolishedDecember 2012
Construction costUS$650,000
($9.97 million in 2018 dollars[1])
ArchitectHarry D. Payne
General contractorFretz Construction Company
Tenants
Houston Cougars (NCAA) (1946–1950; 1998–2012)
Houston Oilers (AFL) (1960–1964)
Houston Dynamo (MLS) (2006–2011)

History

Planning and construction

Robertson Stadium Construction on October 30, 1941
Construction of Robertson Stadium along with Jeppesen Gymnasium in 1941

Houston Independent School District (HISD) had purchased West End Park from the Houston Buffaloes when they moved into Buffalo Stadium in 1928. The ballpark, which was also used for football and other athletic events, had originally been constructed in 1904, and was in need of replacement. It was because of this that a larger, modern venue began being planned by school board officials.

Prior to the construction of Robertson Stadium, the University of Houston campus had been built nearby in 1939. In March 1940 the HISD, who were in control of the university at the time, purchased the undeveloped site for a stadium from the Settegast Estate for $75,550.16.[2] Another 7 acres (28,000 m2) was acquired soon thereafter to bring the original site total to 59.7939 acres (241,977 m2). The area of land is now bound by Holman Street, Wheeler Street, Scott Street, and Cullen Boulevard.

The stadium was then constructed as a joint project between HISD and the Works Progress Administration by the Fretz Construction Company.[3] Named the "Public School Stadium", it was completed in 1942, and had a seating capacity of 14,500. Public School Fieldhouse (later known as Jeppesen Gymnasium), a multi-purpose indoor arena which was constructed simultaneously, stood alongside. The stadium's first game was held before a crowd of 14,500 on September 18, 1942, when Houston's Lamar High School defeated Dallas' W. H. Adamson High School 26–7.[4][5]

Early years

HISD football games continued to be played at the stadium when the Houston Cougars football team played their inaugural game in front of a crowd of 11,000 with Southwestern Louisiana (now known as Louisiana).[6] The University of Houston continued to host home football games there from 1946 to 1950 before moving to Houston Stadium in 1951 and then to the Astrodome in 1965. Prior to the 1957 football season, HISD changed policy at the stadium to disallow any teams with black students to play there despite this being previously allowed without issue.[7] In 1958, the school district renamed the stadium "Jeppesen Stadium" for school board member Holger Jeppesen, who had vigorously lobbied for its construction.

Aerial view of Robertson Stadium, 1950
1950 view of Robertson Stadium

In 1960, the Houston Oilers began play as a charter member of the American Football League, and arranged to lease the stadium from HISD as their home stadium. The team was owned by Bud Adams, a wealthy Houston oilman who upgraded Jeppesen Stadium for professional football use. Part of Adams' upgrades were expanding the seating capacity to 36,000. This allowed for the largest attendance for the stadium ever of 37,981 when the Dallas Texans competed against the Oilers on December 23, 1962 for that year's AFL title game.[8] At this time HISD continued its use of the stadium with an average of ten games per week.[9] Making national headlines, the NAACP protested HISD's segregation policy in 1961, and formally asked players from the Oakland Raiders to refuse to play the Houston Oilers at Jeppesen Stadium in a regular-season game.[10] The Oilers remained at Jeppesen until 1964, when they moved into Rice Stadium.

In 1966, the University of Houston developed a master plan that emphasized the acquisition of the stadium.[2]

Renovations and regular use

Corbin J. Robertson, former UH Board of Regents member and Athletics Committee Chairman, funded its renovation in 1970, and the stadium was bought for US$6.8 million by the University of Houston.[11] In 1980, it was renamed "Robertson Stadium" in his honor.

Robertson Stadium south end zone
The Philips Vidiwall with scoreboard was part of the South end zone at Robertson Stadium from 2006 until its demolition in 2012

Beginning with the 1994 season, the Houston Cougars football team began splitting their home schedule with the Astrodome and Robertson Stadium. The University of Houston ended its lease agreement to hold home football games at the Astrodome before the 1998 season, moving the entire home slate of games back to Robertson Stadium on campus for the first time since 1949. In 1996, adjacent Jeppesen Gymnasium, in need of heavy renovations, was demolished to make way for a new scoreboard. The stadium was heavily renovated in 1999 to bring it up to NCAA Division I-A (now Division I FBS) standards for football venues. The playing surface was lowered nine feet and the running track eliminated to facilitate the addition of new seating on the sidelines and end zones. A total of twenty luxury suites were also constructed above both sides of the stadium. The playing field itself was named in honor of Houston attorney John O'Quinn, a donor to the project, thus modifying its official name to "John O'Quinn Field at Robertson Stadium". Rodney Griffin was the first official groundskeeper of the facility.[12]

2011 Houston Cougars vs UCLA Bruins, stadium view
West side stands and field at Robertson Stadium during gameplay in 2011

On August 2, 2002, the NFL's Houston Texans and Dallas Cowboys competed against each other in a scrimmage at Robertson Stadium.[13] It was the first public game for the Texans, which were an expansion team to the league.

Several improvements were made in 2006 thanks in part to a $1.7 million donation from the Houston Dynamo. The lighting system was upgraded and a new scoreboard and a Philips Vidiwall video screen was added. This was completed in August 2006. The Dynamo used the stadium for its first six seasons, leaving after 2011 for a new soccer-specific stadium in downtown Houston, BBVA Compass Stadium.

With its final seating, the largest attendance for a single game at Robertson Stadium was set at 32,413, when Houston was defeated by Southern Miss on December 3, 2011 in the 2011 C-USA Championship Game in Houston. Prior to this, it was 32,207 when Houston defeated SMU on November 19, 2011. It was also the first time ESPN came to Houston to host College GameDay.

Robertson Stadium during the 2009 Bayou Bucket Classic
Robertson Stadium during the 2009 Bayou Bucket Classic

Demolition

The university hired the architecture firm of Leo A. Daly to assess the stadium and develop a plan for the long-term improvement of the facility. Plans were proposed to replace the end zone sections with an integrated bowl and add an upper deck that would increase capacity to 50,000, but with the athletic department changing leadership from Dave Maggard to Mack Rhoades, a new feasibility study was conducted instead. This study, conducted by AECOM for four months, was concluded in June 2010 with an announcement by the university to raze Robertson Stadium, and rebuild a new stadium at the location.[14] On February 1, 2012, Athletic Director Mack Rhoades announced that demolition work would begin at the conclusion of the 2012 season. Robertson Stadium hosted its final event, the Cougars' season finale against Tulane, on November 24. The Cougars defeated the Green Waves 40-17 to finish their run at Robertson with a final record of 72-44-1. Official demolition of the stadium began on December 2, 2012, and major demolition began on December 10, 2012. Demolition continued through the end of 2012 when the last remaining structures were taken down and all major demolition/cleanup activities were completed by the end of January 2013. Groundbreaking ceremonies for the new stadium took place in early February, 2013.

Robertson Stadium under demolition on December 19, 2012
Robertson Stadium under demolition on December 19, 2012

Events hosted

Robertson Stadium aerial
An aerial view of Robertson Stadium in 2002

Football

Prior to its demolition, Robertson Stadium had hosted many football games. The 1960 AFL Championship game and 1962 AFL Championship game were played at Robertson Stadium by the Oilers against the Los Angeles Chargers and Dallas Texans respectively.[15] On January 16, 1965, the 1964 AFL All-Star game was also held there. On December 1, 2006, the stadium was host to the Conference USA Football Championship. On March 8, 2008, the stadium hosted the inaugural Space City Classic, a Houston-area high school all-star game. In January 2008 and 2009, the 83rd and 84th annual East–West Shrine Games were played at Robertson Stadium.[16][17][18]

Other Sports

The stadium hosted a variety of other sports events. The 1983 NCAA Track & Field Championship was held at Robertson Stadium prior to the removal of the track.[19] On November 10, 2007, the Dynamo defeated the Kansas City Wizards in the 2007 MLS Western Conference final. The stadium also hosted international rugby games, with 13,000 fans turning out in December 2001 to watch the USA play South Africa.[20]

Concerts

Robertson Stadium was the venue for several concerts. In 1972, ZZ Top, The Doobie Brothers, Wishbone Ash, & Willie Nelson performed at Robertson Stadium, in addition to The Beach Boys, Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young & The Allman Brothers in 1974. Other concerts held at the stadium include Pink Floyd during their In The Flesh Tour & Alice Cooper in 1980.[21]

Transportation

Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) operates the METRORail Purple Line Robertson Stadium/UH/TSU station, which served Robertson Stadium and now serves TDECU Stadium.

See also

References

  1. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Nicholson, Patrick (1977). In Time: An Anecdotal History of the First Fifty Years of the University of Houston. Houston, Texas: Pacesetter Press. p. 250. ISBN 0-88415-371-1.
  3. ^ "1941: Robertson Stadium". Fretz Construction Company. Archived from the original on July 11, 2011. Retrieved October 5, 2009.
  4. ^ Facilities: Robertson Stadium. UH Cougars Official Athletic Site. Retrieved 2015-11-07.
  5. ^ Davis, Victor. "1941 Champs Tough Again; Sandies, Wildcats Strong". The Dallas Morning News, 20 Sep 1942, p. 7. Retrieved 2015-11-07.
  6. ^ "2009 Houston Cougars Media Guide: All-Time Series Game-By-Game" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-09-13.
  7. ^ "Sports Shorts". The Daily Courier. Prescott, Arizona. September 25, 1957. Retrieved October 5, 2009.
  8. ^ "There's No Explaining Call". Toledo Blade. December 24, 1962. Retrieved October 5, 2009.
  9. ^ Fink, David (November 29, 1974). "In The Beginning...And On and On Go Oilers". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved August 10, 2009.
  10. ^ "NAACP Asks Oakland to Honor Lines". Lawrence Journal-World. September 9, 1961. Retrieved March 28, 2010.
  11. ^ Nicholson, Patrick (1977). In Time: An Anecdotal History of the First Fifty Years of the University of Houston. Houston, Texas: Pacesetter Press. p. 458. ISBN 0-88415-371-1.
  12. ^ "John O'Quinn Field at Robertson Stadium". University of Houston Athletics. Retrieved August 10, 2009.
  13. ^ "Texas Tangle". Sports Illustrated. August 3, 2002. Retrieved August 10, 2009.
  14. ^ Campbell, Steve (June 11, 2010). "UH Ups the Sports Ante — by $160 Million". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved June 13, 2010.
  15. ^ "Tennessee Titans - History: 1959-1969". Tennessee Titans. Retrieved October 29, 2013.
  16. ^ "Utah State's Robinson shines in Shrine Game". Visalia Times-Delta. Visalia, California. Associated Press. January 21, 2008. Retrieved December 25, 2017 – via newspapers.com.
  17. ^ "Football's Finest Hour Returns to the Bayou City" (PDF). East–West Shrine Game. October 21, 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 27, 2009. Retrieved December 14, 2008.
  18. ^ Duncan, Chris (January 19, 2009). "Shrine game a 'job interview' for aspiring pros". The News Journal. Wilmington, Delaware. Associated Press. Retrieved December 25, 2017 – via newspapers.com.
  19. ^ Blanchette, John (June 2, 1983). "Cougs, 19 Strong Go for NCAA Title". The Spokesman-Review. Spokane. Retrieved December 14, 2009.
  20. ^ "Record Crowd a Good Thing". Rugby Mag. June 25, 2012. Archived from the original on June 29, 2012. Retrieved June 25, 2012.
  21. ^ "In The Flesh Animals Tour 1977". Brain Damage: Pink Floyd News Resource. Retrieved June 13, 2009.

External links

1983 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships

The 1983 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships were contested May 30−June 4, 1983 at Robertson Stadium at the University of Houston in Houston, Texas in order to determine the individual and team national champions of men's and women's collegiate Division I outdoor track and field events in the United States.

These were the 61st annual men's championships and the second annual women's championships. This was Houston's first time hosting the event.SMU and UCLA topped the men's and women's team standings, respectively; the Mustangs claimed their first team title while the Bruins' took home their second consecutive and second overall.

1994 Houston Cougars football team

The 1994 Houston Cougars football team, also known as the Houston Cougars, Houston, or UH represented the University of Houston in the 1994 NCAA Division I-A football season. It was the 49th year of season play for Houston. The team was coached by Kim Helton. The team split its home games between the Houston Astrodome and Robertson Stadium.

1997 Houston Cougars football team

The 1997 Houston Cougars football team, also known as the Houston Cougars, Houston, or UH represented the University of Houston in the 1997 NCAA Division I-A football season. It was the 52nd year of season play for Houston. The team was coached by Kim Helton. The team split its home games between the Houston Astrodome and Robertson Stadium for the last season before moving its games exclusively to Robertson Stadium, the 32,000-person capacity stadium on-campus in Houston.

1998 Houston Cougars football team

The 1998 Houston Cougars football team, also known as the Houston Cougars, Houston, or UH represented the University of Houston in the 1998 NCAA Division I-A football season. It was the 53rd year of season play for Houston. The team was coached by Kim Helton. The team played all its home games at Robertson Stadium, a 32,000-person capacity stadium on-campus in Houston, for the first time since 1950.

1999 Houston Cougars football team

The 1999 Houston Cougars football team, also known as the Houston Cougars, Houston, or UH represented the University of Houston in the 1999 NCAA Division I-A football season. It was the 54th year of season play for Houston. The team was coached by Kim Helton. The team played its home games at Robertson Stadium, a 32,000-person capacity stadium on-campus in Houston.

2000 Houston Cougars football team

The 2000 Houston Cougars football team, also known as the Houston Cougars, Houston, or UH represented the University of Houston in the 2000 NCAA Division I-A football season. It was the 55th year of season play for Houston. The team was coached by Dana Dimel. The team played its home games at Robertson Stadium, a 32,000-person capacity stadium on-campus in Houston.

2001 Houston Cougars football team

The 2001 Houston Cougars football team, also known as the Houston Cougars, Houston, or UH represented the University of Houston in the 2001 NCAA Division I-A football season. It was the 56th year of season play for Houston, and the only winless season in the school's history. The team was coached by Dana Dimel. The team played its home games at Robertson Stadium, a 32,000-person capacity stadium on-campus in Houston.

2002 Houston Cougars football team

The 2002 Houston Cougars football team, also known as the Houston Cougars, Houston, or UH represented the University of Houston in the 2002 NCAA Division I-A football season. It was the 57th year of season play for Houston. The team was coached by Dana Dimel, who was fired after the season. The team played its home games at Robertson Stadium, a 32,000-person capacity stadium on-campus in Houston.

2003 Houston Cougars football team

The 2003 Houston Cougars football team, also known as the Houston Cougars, Houston, or UH represented the University of Houston in the 2003 NCAA Division I-A football season. It was the 58th year of season play for Houston. The team was coached by first year head football coach, Art Briles. The team played its home games at Robertson Stadium, a 32,000-person capacity stadium on-campus in Houston.

2004 Houston Cougars football team

The 2004 Houston Cougars football team, also known as the Houston Cougars, Houston, or UH represented the University of Houston in the 2003 NCAA Division I-A football season. It was the 59th year of season play for Houston. The team was coached by second year head football coach, Art Briles. The team played its home games at Robertson Stadium, a 32,000-person capacity stadium on-campus in Houston.

2005 Houston Cougars football team

The 2005 Houston Cougars football team, also known as the Houston Cougars, Houston, or UH represented the University of Houston in the 2005 NCAA Division I-A football season. It was the 60th year of season play for Houston. The team was coached by third year head football coach, Art Briles. The team played its home games at Robertson Stadium, a 32,000-person capacity stadium on-campus in Houston.

2006 Houston Cougars football team

The 2006 Houston Cougars football team, also known as the Houston Cougars, Houston, or UH represented the University of Houston in the 2006 NCAA Division I FBS football season. It was the 61st year of season play for Houston. The team was coached by fourth year head football coach, Art Briles. The team played its home games at Robertson Stadium, a 32,000-person capacity stadium on-campus in Houston. After regular season play where Houston won the C-USA West division, the Cougars defeated the Southern Miss Golden Eagles in the Conference USA Football Championship to become conference champions for the first time since 1996.

2007 Houston Cougars football team

The 2007 Houston Cougars football team, also known as the Houston Cougars, Houston, or UH, represented the University of Houston in the 2007 NCAA Division I FBS football season. It was the 62nd year of season play for Houston. The team was coached by fifth-year head football coach, Art Briles. The team played its home games at Robertson Stadium, a 32,000-person capacity stadium on-campus in Houston. Competing against the TCU Horned Frogs in the 2007 Texas Bowl, the Cougars fell short, 20–13.

2009 Houston Dynamo season

The 2009 Houston Dynamo season was the fourth season of the Houston club franchise. It began on March 21, 2009 with a 1-1 draw against the Columbus Crew and ended with a 2-0 loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy in the Western Conference final on November 13, 2009 at the Home Depot Center.

2010 Houston Dynamo season

The 2010 Houston Dynamo season was the fifth season of the team's existence. This year was the first season that the team failed to qualify for the playoffs.

2010 North American SuperLiga

The 2010 SuperLiga was the fourth edition of the SuperLiga. The top four overall Major League Soccer teams from the 2009 season not already qualified for the 2010–11 CONCACAF Champions League earned qualification as well as four clubs from the Primera División de México.

Bayou Bucket Classic

The Bayou Bucket Classic is the name given to the Houston–Rice football rivalry. It is an annual college football game between rivals, the Houston Cougars and the Rice Owls, as a part of the Houston–Rice rivalry. The name of the game is a reference to one of Houston's popular nicknames as the Bayou City. Although a series between the two teams has existed since 1971, an award for the winner of each meeting was not official until 1974. The series signifies a college and crosstown rivalry.

From 1999 to 2001 Southwestern Bell was the title sponsor for the series, and it was branded as the Southwestern Bell Bayou Bucket Classic. From 2002 to 2005, Houston-based Administaff sponsored the series, and it was branded as the Administaff Bayou Bucket Classic. During the 1996 to 1998 football seasons, the series was on hiatus while the teams realigned themselves with other conferences after the demise of the Southwest Conference. The game for the Bayou Bucket in 1995 was the final game in the history of Southwest Conference football.

TSU/UH Athletics District station

TSU/UH Athletics District is a light rail station in Houston, Texas on the METRORail system. It is served by the Purple Line and is located on Scott Street near Alabama Avenue. The station is named for the University of Houston, Texas Southern University, and the TDECU Stadium. The station serves both universities.

Robertson Stadium/UH/TSU station opened on May 23, 2015. It was renamed from Robertson Stadium/UH/TSU to TSU/UH Athletics District in August 2017, after Metro received a request from the University of Houston.The station is proposed as a transfer station for the University Line.

Texas Derby

The Texas Derby is a soccer rivalry (derby) between the Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas, recognizing the best club in the state for the season. The two squads play a series of games with the series winner taking home El Capitán, a replica 18th century mountain howitzer cannon. Houston currently leads the all-time series, 7–6.

The Houston Dynamo clinched the 2006 series with a win on August 12, 2006 and the 2007 series with a win on August 19, 2007. FC Dallas claimed the 2008 series on the away goals rule, after having tied with Dynamo in all three games played that season. The away goals rule is no longer used as a tiebreaker.

Both the 2016 and 2017 series were tied, the first since 2008 and the first since the tiebreaker rules were changed. Houston won the 2016 series on goal differential. The tiebreakers couldn't separate the teams in 2017 so Houston retained El Capitán.

Since the beginning of 2013, the teams have met 18 times. During this 7-year period (2013–2019), Houston has won only two of these matches while Dallas was victorious 10 times, including a 7-match win streak.

Events and tenants
Preceded by
first stadium
Home of the Houston Dynamo
2006–2011
Succeeded by
BBVA Compass Stadium
Preceded by
first stadium
Home of the Houston Oilers
1960–1964
Succeeded by
Rice Stadium
Preceded by
Reliant Stadium
Site of the East–West Shrine Game
2008–2009
Succeeded by
Citrus Bowl
Venues
Bowls and rivalries
Culture & lore
People
Seasons
Academics
Athletics
Broadcasting
Campus
Student life
Traditions

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