Feb. 10, 2009

 

By Greg Johnson

While college sports are anchored in the athletics excellence of those who play the games, much of their color and pageantry comes from where those games are played.

From "The Barn" to "The House That Rockne Built," today's student-athletes have a chance to play where Red Grange galloped, John Wooden coached and Jesse Owens leaped.

 

 

 

 

 

 

These courts and fields are more than a backdrop for student-athlete success - they're part of the story. Following are a few of these venerable venues.

Franklin Field

Opened: 1895; rebuilt in 1922 (upper tier added in 1925).

Location: Philadelphia.

Capacity: 52,593.

First Event: Penn Relay Carnival, Spring 1895.

First football game: Pennsylvania 40, Swarthmore 0, October 1, 1895.

Tenants: Pennsylvania football, men's and women's track and field, and men's and women's lacrosse.

Student-athlete stars: The legendary Red Grange of Illinois, who ran for a then-record 237 yards against Pennsylvania at Franklin field on October 31, 1925, was among the many football and track and field All-Americans to compete here.

Did you know: Franklin Field was home to the first scoreboard (1895); site of the first neutral-field Army-Navy football game (Army 17, Navy 5, December 2, 1899); site of the first college football radio broadcast (Cornell 9, Penn 0 on WIP-AM, November 30, 1922); and the first two-tiered stadium (1925).

Still going strong after 113 years, Philadelphia's Franklin Field has been the site of many of the nation's top football and track events. The photo was taken in 1926. The building at the end of the field is Weightman Hall. It houses all of the athletics department (coaches offices, AD, SID) today. In the past, it featured a pool in the basement and a gymnasium in the upper floor.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Notre Dame Stadium

Opened: 1930.

Capacity: 80,795.

Location: South Bend, Indiana.

First football game: Notre Dame 20, Southern Methodist 14, October 4, 1930.

Tenant: Notre Dame football.

Student-athlete stars: Heisman Trophy winners Angelo Bertelli, John Lujack, Leon Hart, John Lattner, Paul Hornung, John Huarte and Tim Brown.

Did you know: Legendary Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne helped design the stadium. It was his idea that the area between the field and the stands be reduced to keep sideline guests to a minimum. He also personally supervised the parking and traffic system that remained much the same until a 21,150-seat addition in 1997.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Clemens Stadium

Opened: 1908.

Capacity: 7,482.

Location: Collegeville, Minnesota.

First football game: St. John's (Minnesota) 33, St. Cloud High School 0, October 10, 1908.

Tenant: St. John's football.

Student-athlete stars: More than 100 all-Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference players have called Clemens Stadium home. John Gagliardi is the all-time winningest coach in college football history with a record of 453-122-11.

Did you know: St. John's is 281-82-13 (.747) at Clemens Stadium since 1908.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mount Union Stadium

Opened: 1915.

Capacity: 5,529.

Location: Alliance, Ohio.

First football game: Mount Union 44, Canton High School 19, September 25, 1915.

Tenants: Mount Union football.

Student-athlete stars: Seventy-eight Division III All-Americans have called the stadium home.

Did you know: Mount Union Stadium is the oldest NCAA college football stadium in Ohio. The atmosphere at Mount Union Stadium is much different today than it was November 17, 1917, when spectators pulled their cars up to the field to watch the game against Case Western Reserve.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Drake Stadium

Opened: 1925.

Capacity: 14,557.

Location: Des Moines, Iowa.

Tenants: Drake men's and women's track and field, football.

Student-athlete stars: Jesse Owens, Bob Hayes, Jim Hines, Bruce Jenner, Michael Johnson, Carl Lewis, Ralph Metcalfe, Bobby Morrow, Rodney Milburn, Al Oerter, Wilma Rudolph, Calvin Smith, Frank Shorter, Gwen Torrence, Jeremy Wariner, Mac Wilkins and Dave Wottle.

Did you know: Drake Relay fans have seen 14 world records, 49 American records and 56 national collegiate records set at this venue through the years.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Scarlet Golf Course

Opened: 1938.

Location: Columbus, Ohio.

Tenants: Ohio State men's and women's golf.

Length: 7,455 yards, par-71 from championship tees (6,228 yards, par-72 otherwise).

Student-athlete stars: Jack Nicklaus Joey Sindelar, John Cook, Ted Tryba,Tom Weiskopf, Rosie Jones, Allison Hanna-Williams, Cathy Kratzert Gerring, Meg Mallon, Lisa Fernandes.

Did you know: Jack Nicklaus, the 1961 NCAA individual champion, renovated the course in 2006. He also aced the 13th hole (left) with an 8-iron as a member of the Ohio State golf team.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Perkins Natatorium

Opened: 1959.

Capacity: 2,500.

Location: Dallas.

Tenants: Southern Methodist men's and women's swimming and diving teams.

Student-athlete stars: SMU individual national champions Steve Lundquist, Lars Frolander, Ricardo Prado, Flavia Rigamonti, Krista Wilson.

Did you know: The women's team has packed the natatorium for decades for an annual invitational in November, while the men's team hosts a meet each January in which top teams compete in sprint events.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Leeman-Turner Arena at Grace Hall

Opened: 1942.

Capacity: 2,775 (original); 2,000 (current).

Location: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Tenants: Lehigh wrestling, women's volleyball.

Student-athlete stars: Fifteen individual Lehigh national champions have wrestled here, including four-time All-American Darryl Burley (1979-83) and three-time 123-pound national champion Mike Caruso (1965-67).

Did you know: Grace Hall was nicknamed "The Snake Pit" in the 1940s by archrival Penn State fans. The proximity of the partisan crowd to the mats made life miserable for the visitors until a rules change moved fans back to the bleachers.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hinkle Fieldhouse

Opened: 1928

Capacity: 15,000 (original); 10,000 (current).

Location: Indianapolis.

First men's basketball game: Butler 21, Notre Dame 13 (overtime) March 7, 1928.

Tenants: Butler men's basketball, women's basketball, women's volleyball.

Student-athlete stars: The 1929 Butler men's basketball team went 17-2 and was declared national champions.

Did you know: The facility was originally named Butler Fieldhouse, but was changed to Hinkle Fieldhouse to honor Paul D. "Tony" Hinkle, who won 560 games in 41 years as head basketball coach. Hinkle, who is credited with originating the orange basketball in the 1950s, also coached the football and baseball teams. Hinkle Fieldhouse also was where Bobby Plump (later portrayed as Jimmy Chitwood in the movie "Hoosiers") made his game-winning shot in the state high school basketball final.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Municipal Auditorium, Kansas City

Opened: 1936.

Capacity: 9,827.

Location: Kansas City, Missouri.

Tenant: UMKC men's basketball.

Student-athlete stars: Tom Gola, Bill Russell, K.C. Jones, Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry Lucas, John Havlicek, Gail Goodrich.

Did you know: Municipal Auditorium has hosted more men's NCAA tournament games (83), regional championship games (13) and national championship games (nine) than any other arena.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

McLendon-McDougald Gymnasium

Opened: 1955.

Capacity: 3,056.

Location: Durham, North Carolina.

Tenants: North Carolina Central men's basketball, women's basketball, women's volleyball.

Student-athlete stars: Sam Jones, Ted Manning, Tex Williams, Earl Monroe, Bob Dandridge.

Did you know: Arena namesake John McLendon helped organize "The Secret Game" between North Carolina College and Duke University Medical School in 1944, which was the first fully integrated college basketball game.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Rosenblatt Stadium

Opened: 1948.

Capacity: 23,100.

Location: Omaha, Nebraska.

Tenant: Home of the NCAA College World Series since 1950.

Student-athlete stars: Dave Winfield, Fred Lynn, Will Clark, Robin Ventura, Terry Francona.

Did you know: Johnny Rosenblatt, whom the stadium was named after in 1964, was the mayor of Omaha from 1954-61.