Vanderbilt Stadium

Vanderbilt Stadium is a football stadium located in Nashville, Tennessee. Completed in 1922 (then named Dudley Field) as the first stadium in the South to be used exclusively for college football, it is the home of the Vanderbilt University football team.[4] Vanderbilt Stadium hosted the Tennessee Oilers (now Titans) during the 1998 NFL season and the first Music City Bowl in 1998 and also hosted the Tennessee state high school football championships for many years.

Vanderbilt Stadium is the smallest football stadium in the Southeastern Conference, and was the largest stadium in Nashville until the completion of the Titans' Nissan Stadium in 1999.

Vanderbilt Stadium
at Dudley Field
Vanderbilt Stadium vs. Tennessee 11.26.16
Vandy vs. Tennessee, 2016
Vanderbilt Stadium is located in Nashville
Vanderbilt Stadium
Vanderbilt Stadium
Location in Nashville
Vanderbilt Stadium is located in Tennessee
Vanderbilt Stadium
Vanderbilt Stadium
Location in Tennessee
Vanderbilt Stadium is located in the United States
Vanderbilt Stadium
Vanderbilt Stadium
Location in the United States
Former namesDudley Field (1922–1981)
LocationJess Neely Drive, Nashville, Tennessee
Coordinates36°8′39″N 86°48′32″W / 36.14417°N 86.80889°WCoordinates: 36°8′39″N 86°48′32″W / 36.14417°N 86.80889°W
OwnerVanderbilt University Board of Trust
OperatorVanderbilt University
Capacity40,550[1]
SurfaceGrass (1922–1969, 1999–2011)
Astroturf (1970–1998)
Shaw Sports Legion 46 (2012–present)
Construction
Broke ground1922
OpenedOctober 14, 1922 (rebuilt 1981)
Construction cost$1.5 million
($22.5 million in 2018 dollars[2])
$10.1 million (1981 reconstruction)
($27.8 million in 2018 dollars[2])
ArchitectWalk Jones and Francis Man, Inc.[3]
Michael Baker, Jr. Corp.[3]
General contractorFoster & Creighton[3]
Tenants
Vanderbilt Commodores (NCAA) (1922–present)
Tennessee Oilers (NFL) (1998)
Music City Bowl (NCAA) (1998)
Nashville FC (NPSL) (2014–2016)

History

Old Dudley Field

Vanderbilt football began in 1892, and for 30 years, Commodore football teams played on the northeast corner of campus where Wilson Hall, Kissam Quadrangle, and a portion of the Vanderbilt University Law School now stand, adjacent to today's 21st Avenue South.[5]

The first facility was named for William Dudley, Dean of the Vanderbilt University Medical School from 1885 until his death in 1914. Dudley was responsible for the formation of the SIAA, the predecessor of the Southern Conference and Southeastern Conference, in 1895, and was also instrumental in the formation of the NCAA in 1906.[4]

In 1922, after a 74.2 winning percentage during the 18-year tenure of Coach McGugin, the Commodores had outgrown old Dudley Field.[4] The old field was re-christened Curry Field, in honor of Irby "Rabbit" Curry, a standout football player from 1914–16, who left Vanderbilt to serve in the American Expeditionary Force to Europe in World War I and was killed while flying a combat mission over France in 1918. The football team played two games on the renamed Curry Field before moving to New Dudley Field in 1922.

New Dudley Field

There was not enough room to expand old Dudley Field at its site near Kirkland Hall, so Vanderbilt administrators purchased land adjacent to what is today 25th Avenue South, on the west side of campus, for the new facility.[4] The new stadium, the first in the South built solely for football, was christened "Dudley Field", and its capacity was 20,000. As evidence of Vanderbilt's stature in the sport at the time, it dwarfed rival Tennessee's Shields-Watkins Field (now Neyland Stadium), which had opened a year earlier and seated only 3,200.

Dudley22
Dudley Field in 1922.

The first game played at Dudley Field was between the home-standing Commodores and the powerful Michigan Wolverines. A goal-line stand by the Commodores preserved a 0-0 tie.[4] The following Friday, nearby Hume-Fogg High School played a game at Dudley. Senior Jimmy Armistead returned the opening kick for a touchdown, providing the first touchdown ever recorded in the stadium. Armistead would go on to a successful career at Vanderbilt and was the captain and starting quarterback for the 1928 team.

In 1949, Vanderbilt officials built a modern press box at Dudley Field, replacing a platform that had been used prior to that.[6] Additional seating was also added to the western side of stadium, boosting capacity to 27,901.[6]

On September 25, 1954, Vanderbilt hosted the No. 10-ranked Baylor Bears in the first night game ever played on the Dudley Field surface. The lights had been installed so that Dudley Field would be able to host the Billy Graham Crusade on campus.[6]

In 1960, nearly 7,000 more seats are added to the stadium, with an expansion on the east side of the stadium near Memorial Gym. Capacity jumped to 34,000.[6]

At a price of $250,000 (equal to $1,612,896 today), officials installed what was then a state-of-the-art Astroturf synthetic surface in 1970.[6]

Vanderbilt Stadium

Battleship gray

Over the winter and spring of 1980–81, most of the Dudley Field grandstand was demolished. The 12,088 seats on each sideline—the only vestige of the old stadium—were raised ten feet through the use of 22 hydraulic jacks on each side of the stadium. The "new" venue was rechristened Vanderbilt Stadium. However, the playing surface itself is still called Dudley Field.

The rebuilt stadium and its Fred Russell Press Box (named for Vanderbilt alumnus, former football player, and sports journalist Fred Russell) were designed to resemble a United States naval vessel slicing through the water—a nod to Vanderbilt's naval themed-mascot, the Commodore. Accordingly, the color scheme picked for the exterior of the stadium was battleship gray.

The stadium's maximum capacity after the 1980–81 renovation was 41,000, consisting of a single-decked horseshoe grandstand filled in with wooden bleachers from the 1960 expansion. The project cost $10.1 million, and the Commodores celebrated a sold-out dedication by taking a 23–17 comeback win over Maryland on September 12, 1981.

To enhance the gameday experience, officials increased capacity to 41,448 and added a Jumbotron video screen in the north end zone, adjacent to Kensington Place, in advance of the Tennessee Oilers playing their 1998 home games in the facility.

After the Oilers—now the Titans—left in 1999, the playing surface was returned to grass. In 2002 and 2003, the school removed the aging bleachers from the 1960 renovation from the north end zone, lowering capacity to 41,221 in 2002 and to 39,773 in 2003. The bleachers from the north end zone were replaced with a visitors' concourse that affords any fan in the stadium a field-level, up-close experience with the playing surface. The metal frames for the bleachers were relocated to Mt. Juliet Christian School's football facility in suburban Nashville.

Brick-and-iron

After nearby Hawkins Field, Vanderbilt's baseball stadium, was constructed in a classic brick-and-iron style in 2002, Vanderbilt administrators began to look at giving Vanderbilt Stadium a similar flavor. They also began to consider the construction of a football facility in place of the present concourse and JumboTron in the north end zone.[7]

On July 24, 2007, Vanderbilt officials announced they were in the preliminary stages of a stadium renovation plan, with financing, design concept, and date of completion yet to be determined.[7]

Nine months later, on May 20, 2008, Vice Chancellor David Williams II announced, in a McGugin Center press conference, that the University was beginning a five-phased, multimillion-dollar program of renovations to Vanderbilt athletics facilities, including extensive renovations and additions to Vanderbilt Stadium.[7]

Under the plan announced by Williams, Vanderbilt Stadium was modified (in the first four phases) as follows:

Phase Date completed Estimated cost Renovation and construction
I
August 2008 $12 million Brick-and-iron fences, new ticketing facility, renovation of east concourse, new paint scheme throughout interior, exterior of stadium painted gold, "VANDERBILT" and Star-V logos added to exterior of press box
II
August 2009 $12 million Renovation of west concourse, brick-and-iron fences added to west concourse, addition of brick to exterior of Natchez Trace (west) façade of stadium, construction of new entry plazas at Gates 2 and 3 on Jess Neely Drive
III
August 2010 $8 million Renovation of north concourse, brick-and-iron fences added to north concourse, completion of bricking of exterior of entire stadium, construction of new entry plazas at Gates 1 and 4 on Kensington Avenue
IV
August 2011 $18 million Construction of additional seating, football offices, locker rooms, recruiting facilities, hospitality facilities, and indoor/outdoor luxury suites in north endzone, with relocation of JumboTron, addition of high-quality synthetic playing surface on Dudley Field
Source: Vanderbilt Athletics Facility Upgrade Central

On February 6, 2012, Williams announced Vanderbilt would be adding new FieldTurf and a new JumboTron. A large berm was constructed in the open end of Vanderbilt Stadium as a place for fans to watch games starting fall 2012. The project, in addition to other renovations, began after the Black & Gold scrimmage on April 14, 2012.

With only 500 seats are available, the hillside is a first-come, first-served area in terms of picking a spot to sit. The berm does not reach the permanent seating on the sidelines to leave space in the corners of the end zone for fans to enter.

The fourth major project set for the stadium was improved lighting. Renovations were also completed at McGugin Center, with new meeting rooms and Olympic sport locker rooms built. The work was completed in the summer of 2014.

Since the 2007 season, midshipmen of the Vanderbilt Naval ROTC sound a foghorn, nicknamed "The Admiral", whenever the Commodores take the field, as well as after every score and win. It is also sounded at intervals prior to the scheduled kickoff to encourage fans to go ahead and enter the stadium. After wins the Commodores raise a victory flag sporting the "Star V" emblem.

Stadium panoramic during a Vanderbilt football game in the 2010 season.
Stadium panoramic during a Vanderbilt football game in the 2010 season.

[8]

Other team use

On September 15, 2018, while Vanderbilt was away playing Notre Dame, the Virginia Cavaliers played the Ohio Bobcats in Vanderbilt Stadium. The game was relocated from Charlottesville, Virginia due to the threat of Hurricane Florence.[9]

NFL use

Upon moving to Nashville, the Oilers/Titans franchise initially played at the larger Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis while Nissan Stadium (then called Adelphia Coliseum) was under construction in Nashville. Initially, the Oilers were unwilling to play at Vanderbilt Stadium while Nissan Stadium was being built. Not only was it thought to be too small even for temporary use, but university officials were unwilling to allow the sale of alcohol.

However, dismal attendance during the 1997 season, due in part to both the unwillingness of many Nashville fans to make the trip to Memphis and Memphis fans' indifference to NFL football in general after years of failing to secure their own NFL franchise, led the Oilers to play their last season under that name in Nashville at Vanderbilt Stadium, although the university forbade the franchise from selling alcohol at home games.[10]

Vanderbilt Stadium thus became the smallest home venue in the NFL since several similar-size stadiums were used in 1970. (The merger agreement with the American Football League led the NFL to declare stadiums seating fewer than 50,000, such as Fenway Park, to be inadequate for league play and after the 1970 NFL season none were used for NFL games on a long-term basis.) The Los Angeles Chargers are using a smaller venue, the 27,000-seat Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California, as their home for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 NFL seasons while a new stadium in the Los Angeles area is being built for the Chargers and Los Angeles Rams, who are currently playing in the far larger Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, with opening scheduled in 2020.

Non-sporting events

Over its history, Vanderbilt Stadium has occasionally been used for concerts and major speakers.[11]

Concerts

Date Artist Opening act(s) Tour / Concert name Attendance Revenue Notes
May 8, 1994 Pink Floyd The Division Bell Tour 41,169 / 41,169 $1,348,505
October 26, 1997 The Rolling Stones Sheryl Crow Bridges to Babylon Tour 45,193 / 45,193 $2,551,578
April 25, 2009 Dave Matthews Band Robert Earl Keen
Jason Mraz
[12]
July 2, 2011 U2 Florence and the Machine U2 360° Tour 46,857 / 46,857 $4,269,125
July 11, 2015 Luke Bryan Florida Georgia Line
Randy Houser
Thomas Rhett
Dustin Lynch
DJ Rock
Kick the Dust Up Tour 31,907 / 31,907 $2,705,682
August 23, 2018 Beyoncé
Jay-Z
Chloe X Halle and DJ Khaled On the Run II Tour 35,353 / 35,353 $4,058,910 [13]

Major speakers

See also

References

  1. ^ https://vucommodores.com/sports/2018/7/10/facilities-vand-stadium-html.aspx
  2. ^ a b Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c Institute, Prestressed Concrete (1983). "PCI journal".
  4. ^ a b c d e "Vanderbilt Stadium". Vanderbilt Athletics. Retrieved September 8, 2007.
  5. ^ See VUcommodores.com, "History of Vanderbilt Stadium", ¶ 7. Online at http://vucommodores.cstv.com/facilities/vand-stadium.html.
  6. ^ a b c d e See "Key Dates in the History of Vanderbilt Stadium", VUcommodores.com. Online at http://vucommodores.cstv.com/facilities/vand-renovation-history-timeline.html.
  7. ^ a b c See "Facilities Upgrade Central", VUcommodores.com. Online at http://vucommodores.cstv.com/facilities/vand-renovation.html.
  8. ^ "Vanderbilt Official Athletic Site". Vanderbilt Athletics. May 20, 2008. Retrieved October 3, 2012.
  9. ^ 981-3129, Doug Doughty doug.doughty@roanoke.com. "UVa football: Cavaliers run over Ohio 45-31 in relocated football game". Roanoke Times. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  10. ^ Walker, Teresa M. (March 4, 1998). "Oilers to play at Vanderbilt". Times Daily. Florence, Ala. Associated Press. p. 6D. Retrieved February 15, 2016.
  11. ^ "JFK, The Stones...U2". Vanderbilt Athletics. Retrieved October 3, 2012.
  12. ^ http://www.dmbalmanac.com/TourShowSet.aspx?id=453056619&tid=103&where=2009
  13. ^ https://www.tennessean.com/story/entertainment/music/2018/03/12/beyonce-and-jay-z-play-nashville-concert-otr-ii-tour/416254002/
Preceded by
Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium
Home of the
Tennessee Oilers

1998
Succeeded by
Adelphia Coliseum
1983 Vanderbilt Commodores football team

The 1983 Vanderbilt Commodores football team represented Vanderbilt University in the 1983 NCAA Division I-A football season. The Commodores were led by head coach George MacIntyre in his fifth season and finished the season with a record of two wins and nine losses (2–9 overall, 0–6 in the SEC).

1984 Vanderbilt Commodores football team

The 1984 Vanderbilt Commodores football team represented Vanderbilt University in the 1984 NCAA Division I-A football season. The Commodores were led by head coach George MacIntyre in his sixth season and finished the season with a record of five wins and six losses (5–6 overall, 2–4 in the SEC). As of 2018, this season represents the last time Vanderbilt beat Alabama.

1985 Vanderbilt Commodores football team

The 1985 Vanderbilt Commodores football team represented Vanderbilt University in the 1985 NCAA Division I-A football season. The Commodores were led by head coach George MacIntyre in his seventh season and finished the season with a record of three wins, seven losses and one tie (3–7–1 overall, 0–6 in the SEC).

1986 Vanderbilt Commodores football team

The 1986 Vanderbilt Commodores football team represented Vanderbilt University in the 1986 NCAA Division I-A football season as a member of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). The Commodores were led by head coach Watson Brown in his first season and finished with a record of one win and ten losses (1–10 overall, 0–6 in the SEC).

1987 Vanderbilt Commodores football team

The 1987 Vanderbilt Commodores football team represented Vanderbilt University in the 1987 NCAA Division I-A football season as a member of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). The Commodores were led by head coach Watson Brown in his second season and finished with a record of four wins and seven losses (4–7 overall, 1–5 in the SEC).

1994 Vanderbilt Commodores football team

The 1994 Vanderbilt Commodores football team represented Vanderbilt University in the 1994 NCAA Division I-A football season as a member of the Eastern Division of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). The Commodores were led by head coach Gerry DiNardo in his fourth season and finished with a record of five wins and six losses (5–6 overall, 2–6 in the SEC).

1995 Vanderbilt Commodores football team

The 1995 Vanderbilt Commodores football team represented Vanderbilt University in the 1995 NCAA Division I-A football season as a member of the Eastern Division of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). The Commodores were led by head coach Rod Dowhower in his first season and finished with a record of two wins and nine losses (2–9 overall, 1–7 in the SEC).

1996 Vanderbilt Commodores football team

The 1996 Vanderbilt Commodores football team represented Vanderbilt University in the 1996 NCAA Division I-A football season. The team played their home games at Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee.

1997 Vanderbilt Commodores football team

The 1997 Vanderbilt Commodores football team represented Vanderbilt University in the 1997 NCAA Division I-A football season. The team played their home games at Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee.

1998 Vanderbilt Commodores football team

The 1998 Vanderbilt Commodores football team represented Vanderbilt University in the 1998 NCAA Division I-A football season. The team played their home games at Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee and finished the season with a record of two wins and nine losses (2–9, 1–7 in the SEC).

2004 Vanderbilt Commodores football team

The 2004 Vanderbilt Commodores football team represented the Vanderbilt University in the 2004 NCAA Division I-A football season. The Commodores offense scored 212 points while the defense allowed 268 points. Led by head coach Bobby Johnson in his third year as the head coach, the Commodores finished with a 2–9 record.

2006 Vanderbilt Commodores football team

The 2006 Vanderbilt Commodores football team represented Vanderbilt University during the 2006 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The team's head coach was Bobby Johnson, who served his fifth year as the Commodores' head coach. Members of the Southeastern Conference (SEC), the Commodores played their home games at Vanderbilt Stadium at Dudley Field in Nashville, Tennessee. In 2006, Vanderbilt went 4–8 with a record of 1–7 in the SEC.

2007 Vanderbilt Commodores football team

The 2007 Vanderbilt Commodores football team represented Vanderbilt University during the 2007 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The team's head coach was Bobby Johnson, who served his sixth year as the Commodores' head coach. Members of the Southeastern Conference (SEC), the Commodores played their home games at Vanderbilt Stadium at Dudley Field in Nashville, Tennessee. In 2006, Vanderbilt went 5–7 with a record of 2–6 in the SEC.

2008 Vanderbilt Commodores football team

The 2008 Vanderbilt Commodores football team represented Vanderbilt University during the 2008–09 college football season. The team's head coach was Bobby Johnson, who served his seventh season in the position. The Commodores played their six home games at Vanderbilt Stadium at Dudley Field in Nashville, Tennessee. This was Vanderbilt's first 5-0 start since 1943. The season saw Vandy reach a bowl game for the first time since 1982, and also end a streak of 26 straight losing seasons.

2009 Vanderbilt Commodores football team

The 2009 Vanderbilt Commodores football team represented Vanderbilt University during the 2009–10 college football season. The team's head coach was Bobby Johnson, who served his eighth season as the Commodores' head coach. Vanderbilt has been a member of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) since the league's inception in 1932, and has participated in that conference's Eastern Division since its formation in 1992. The Commodores played their six home games at Vanderbilt Stadium at Dudley Field in Nashville, Tennessee, which has been Vanderbilt football's home stadium since 1922. The Commodores finished the season 2–10 and 0–8 in SEC play.

2010 Vanderbilt Commodores football team

The 2010 Vanderbilt Commodores football team represented Vanderbilt University during the 2010 college football season. The team's head coach was Robbie Caldwell, who had been serving as interim head coach following the unexpected retirement of previous head coach Bobby Johnson in July 2010. Vanderbilt has been a member of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) since the league's inception in 1932, and has participated in that conference's Eastern Division since its formation in 1992. The Commodores played their seven home games at Vanderbilt Stadium at Dudley Field in Nashville, Tennessee, which has been Vanderbilt football's home stadium since 1922. The Commodores finished the season 2–10, 1–7 in SEC play. Caldwell resigned at the end of the season.

2015 Vanderbilt Commodores football team

The 2015 Vanderbilt Commodores football team represented Vanderbilt University during the 2015 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The Commodores played their home games at Vanderbilt Stadium at Dudley Field in Nashville, Tennessee, which has been Vanderbilt football's home stadium since 1922. Derek Mason coached the Commodores for his second year. They are members of the Eastern Division of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). The Commodores finished with a losing record for the second year in a row with an overall record of 4–8 and 2–6 in SEC play.

2017 Vanderbilt Commodores football team

The 2017 Vanderbilt Commodores football team represented Vanderbilt University in the 2017 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The Commodores played their home games at Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee and compete in the Eastern Division of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). They were led by fourth-year head coach Derek Mason. The team earned a final record of 5–7 (1–7 SEC) in a season notable for wins against Kansas State, then in the top 20, and Tennessee, but also for sizeable losses against SEC opponents Alabama (by 59 points), Georgia (by 31), and Missouri (by 28). The Tennessee win at Neyland Stadium was the Commodores' fourth in six games, a feat unequaled by VU in that rivalry since 1926.

2019 Vanderbilt Commodores football team

The 2019 Vanderbilt Commodores football team represents Vanderbilt University in the 2019 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The Commodores play their home games at Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee and compete in the Eastern Division of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). They are led by sixth-year head coach Derek Mason.

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