Ryan Field (stadium)

Ryan Field is a stadium in the central United States, located in Evanston, Illinois, a suburb north of Chicago. Near the campus of Northwestern University, it is primarily used for American football, and is the home field of the Northwestern Wildcats of the Big Ten Conference. It is the only FBS stadium without permanent lighting. Its current seating capacity is 47,130.

Opened 93 years ago in 1926, it was named Dyche Stadium for William Dyche, class of 1882, a former Evanston mayor and overseer of the building project. The stadium was renamed Ryan Field in 1997 in honor of the family of Aon Corporation founder Patrick G. Ryan, who was then the chairman of Northwestern's board of trustees. The renaming was made by the other members of the board in recognition of the Ryan family's leadership and numerous contributions to Northwestern, including the lead gift to the Campaign for Athletic Excellence, Northwestern's fundraising drive for athletic facilities.

Ryan Field
Ryan Field
View from northeast corner in 2006
Ryan Field is located in Illinois
Ryan Field
Ryan Field
Location in Illinois
Ryan Field is located in the United States
Ryan Field
Ryan Field
Location in the United States
Former namesDyche Stadium
Location1501 Central Street
Evanston, Illinois, U.S.[1]
Coordinates42°3′56″N 87°41′33″W / 42.06556°N 87.69250°WCoordinates: 42°3′56″N 87°41′33″W / 42.06556°N 87.69250°W
OwnerNorthwestern University
OperatorNorthwestern University
Capacity47,130 (1997–present)
48,187 (1996)
49,256 (1982–1995)
48,500 (1975–1981)
55,000 (1954–1974)
52,000 (1949–1953)
47,000 (1927–1934)
25,000 (1926)
SurfaceGrass: 1997–present
Astroturf: 1973–1996
Grass: 1926–1972
Broke groundApril 8, 1926[2]
OpenedOctober 2, 1926[5]
93 years ago
Expanded1949, 1952
Construction cost$2.6 million (original)[3]
($36.8 million in 2018[4])
1996 renovation:
$20 million
ArchitectJames Gamble Rogers[1]
General contractorJ. B. French Construction Company[1]
Northwestern Wildcats (NCAA)


At the time it was constructed, Dyche Stadium was considered one of the finest college football stadiums in the country.[6] The stadium originally consisted of two semi circular grandstands on either sideline, with the west (home) sideline having a small, curved upper deck whose 2 ends abut in matching concrete towers. The purpose of the curved grandstands was to maximize the number of fans sitting close to the action.[6] End zone seating was later added in the south, and in 1952 McGaw Memorial Hall was built beyond the north end zone.

The stadium had a natural grass surface when it opened. It switched to artificial turf in 1973 and was used until 1996. Prior to the 1997 season, the natural grass surface was restored and the playing surface was lowered approximately five feet (1.5 m) to improve sight lines from the lowest rows of the stadium. As of 2017, Ryan Field is the only stadium in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) without permanent lights.

The Chicago Bears played their first home game of the 1970 season at Dyche Stadium on September 28 as an experiment; the NFL had required that the Bears move out of Wrigley Field because its seating capacity was under 50,000, which was below the minimum set out by the newly constituted post-merger NFL. Also, the Chicago Cubs were in a September pennant race with the Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Mets in the National League East.[7] If Wrigley Field was needed for postseason baseball games, the temporary grandstand for football along the east sideline (in right and center field) would not be available until late October. After Evanston residents petitioned city officials to block the team from moving there permanently, the Bears ended up moving to Chicago's Soldier Field the following year.

The stadium hosted the 1932 Women's (July 16) and 1948 Men's (July 9–10) US Olympic Trials for track and field. The venue also hosted the NCAA track and field championships in 1943.

It also hosted the summer College All-Star Game in 1943 and 1944, which had usually been instead held at Chicago's Soldier Field. Both games were played at night with the use of temporary lights.[8] The college all-stars held their practices for the game at Ryan Field in years such as 1934 and 1935.[9]

Ryan Field in November 2006
Ryan Field in November 2006

Renaming controversy

Northwestern's decision to rename Dyche Stadium to Ryan Field defied the university's own 1926 resolution that forbade such a change. School officials said that a private institution can override previous boards' decisions, and dismissed the earlier resolution as a "show of appreciation." But NU did not explain why a mere gesture of appreciation would expressly state that any football stadium at any location would retain the name Dyche, as indeed the 1926 resolution does. The Dyche family wasn't notified of the change; NU claimed that the only descendant they found was a grandniece, despite other family members living in Chicago and being listed in the phone book. After the family protested, NU said it was willing to install an informational plaque at the stadium, noting its former name.[10]


The closest transit stations are Metra commuter railroad's Central Street station and Chicago Transit Authority's Central station on the Purple Line.

In popular culture

Parts of The Express: The Ernie Davis Story, a 2008 film about Syracuse University Heisman Trophy winner Ernie Davis starring Rob Brown as Davis, and Dennis Quaid as Davis' Syracuse coach, Ben Schwartzwalder, were filmed at Ryan Field.[11]

Parts of Four Friends, a 1981 film directed by Arthur Penn, were filmed at Dyche Stadium.

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Ryan Field". Ballparks.com. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
  2. ^ "Northwestern Starts Work on New $1,000,000 Stadium". Chicago Daily Tribune. April 8, 1926. p. 26. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
  3. ^ "Northwestern's New Field Named Dyche Stadium". Chicago Tribune. October 28, 1926. Retrieved September 28, 2011.
  4. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  5. ^ LaTourette, Larry. Northwestern Wildcat Football. Chicago: Arcadia Publishing. p. 35. ISBN 0-7385-3433-1. Retrieved September 28, 2011.
  6. ^ a b Pridmore, Jay (2000). Northwestern University: Celebrating 150 Years. Northwestern University Press. p. 126.
  7. ^ "Pennant race at a glance". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). September 16, 1970. p. 16.
  8. ^ http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1988-08-31/sports/8801270026_1_northwestern-dyche-stadium-all-star
  9. ^ Schmidt, Raymond (2001). Football's Stars of Summer: A History of the College All-Star Football Game Series of 1934-1976. Lanham, Maryland; London, England: Scarecrow Press. ISBN 9780810840270. Retrieved April 21, 2015.
  10. ^ Morrissey, Rick (September 19, 1997). "For Dyche Clan, Perpetuity Didn't Last Long". Chicago Tribune. Chicago, Illinois. Retrieved July 10, 2016.
  11. ^ Bhattarai, Abha (May 1, 2007). "Bringing Hollywood to NU". Daily Northwestern. Northwestern University. Archived from the original on May 3, 2007. Retrieved May 6, 2007.

External links

2011 Big Ten Conference football season

The 2011 Big Ten Conference football season is the 116th for the Big Ten. The conference started its season on Saturday, September 3, as each of the conference’s teams began their respective 2011 season of NCAA Division I FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) competition. This season is Nebraska's first season as a member of the Big Ten, and also marks the creation of conference divisions (named Leaders and Legends), and a championship game. The season was also notable for the Penn State child sex abuse scandal.

For the season, Leaders Division champion Wisconsin finished as conference champion by defeating Legends Division champion Michigan State in the 2011 Big Ten Football Championship Game. Penn State was Leaders Division co-Champion, while Legends Division runner-up Michigan finished with the conference's best record. The conference earned two BCS bowl invitations and compiled a 4–6 overall record in 2011–12 NCAA football bowl games.

The Conference had six 2011 College Football All-America Team consensus selections: Montee Ball, Kevin Zeitler, David Molk, Whitney Mercilus (unanimous), Devon Still, and Jerel Worthy, with the Rimington Trophy going to Molk and the Ted Hendricks Award going to Mercilus. Ball won the Chicago Tribune Silver Football and the conference's players won four national statistical championships: Russell Wilson (passing efficiency), Raheem Mostert (kickoff return average), Ball (scoring), and Mercilus (quarterback sacks).

Following the season the conference contributed 41 to the 2012 NFL Draft, including 4 in the first round: Riley Reiff (23rd), Mercilus (26th), Zeitler (27th), and A. J. Jenkins (30th).

2012 Nebraska Cornhuskers football team

The 2012 Nebraska Cornhuskers football team represented the University of Nebraska in the 2012 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The team was coached by Bo Pelini and played their home games at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska. The Cornhuskers finished with 10–4 overall, 7–1 Legends, to become Big Ten Legends Division champions. In the postseason, the team was invited to their first 2012 Big Ten Football Championship Game, where they lost to Wisconsin, and lost to Georgia in the 2013 Capital One Bowl.

The Cornhuskers became known for their comebacks this year, as they came back after trailing by double digits during four conference games. These wins included a 30–27 victory over Wisconsin (Nebraska down 27–10 early in 3rd quarter), Northwestern (down 28–16 with 5 minutes to go), Michigan State (down 24–14 early in 4th quarter), and Penn State (down 20–6 at halftime).

No spring scrimmage game was played prior to the season, cancelled due to weather concerns and player conflicts. It was the first year that Nebraska did not hold a spring scrimmage since they started playing them in 1950.

Purple Line (CTA)

The Purple Line (or the Evanston Line) of the Chicago Transit Authority is a 3.9-mile (6.3 km) route on the northernmost section of the Chicago "L" rapid transit system. Normally, it extends south from Linden Avenue in Wilmette, passing through Evanston to Howard Street, on Chicago's north side. In 2016, the average weekday boardings on the Purple Line was 10,187.

During weekday rush hours, the Purple Line extends another 10.3 miles (16.6 km) south from Howard Street to downtown Chicago running express from Howard Street to Belmont Avenue, with a single stop at Wilson Avenue, and then making all local stops to the Loop. The express service is known as the Purple Line Express.

Prior to the color-coding of CTA rail lines in 1993, the Purple Line was known as the Evanston Line, Evanston Service or Evanston Shuttle, and the Purple Line Express was called the Evanston Express.The Purple Line is useful for reaching Northwestern University (Foster and Noyes stops in Evanston), including the sports facilities Ryan Field (stadium), Rocky Miller Park, Welsh-Ryan Arena, and Canal Shores Golf Course all at the Central Street stop and the Bahá'í House of Worship at the Linden stop. The selection of purple as the line's color was likely from Northwestern's official school color being purple.

Ryan Field

Ryan Field may refer to:

Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport, also known as Ryan Field, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, United States

Ryan Field (airport), also known as Ryan Airfield, in Tucson, Arizona, United States

Ryan Field (sportscaster)

Ryan Field (stadium) the football stadium at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, United States

Bowls & rivalries
Culture & lore
Football stadiums of the Big Ten Conference
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Division I
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