Memorial Stadium (Clemson)

Last updated
Memorial Stadium
"Death Valley"
MemorialStadiumSept2006.jpg
A view of the West End Zone and Lake Hartwell from the upper deck of the North stands (September 2006)
USA South Carolina location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Memorial Stadium
Location in South Carolina
Usa edcp relief location map.png
Red pog.svg
Memorial Stadium
Location in the United States
AddressAvenue of Champions
Location Clemson, South Carolina
Coordinates 34°40′43″N82°50′35″W / 34.67861°N 82.84306°W / 34.67861; -82.84306 Coordinates: 34°40′43″N82°50′35″W / 34.67861°N 82.84306°W / 34.67861; -82.84306
Owner Clemson University
Operator Clemson University
Capacity 81,500 (2007–present)
81,473 (1991–2006)
79,575 (1988–1990)
79,854 (1986–1987)
74,724 (1985)
73,915 (1983–1984)
57,307 (1982)
53,306 (1978–1981)
43,451 (1963–1977)
43,309 (1960–1962)
40,000 (1958–1959)
20,500 (1942–1957)
Record attendance86,092 (Clemson Tigers v Florida State) (1999)
SurfaceTifway 419 Bermuda Grass
Construction
Broke groundOctober 6, 1941 [1]
OpenedSeptember 19, 1942
Expanded1958, 1960, 1978, 1982, 1983, 2006
Construction cost$125,000 (original stadium)
($2.3 million in 2018 dollars [2] )
ArchitectCarl Lee and Professor H.E. Glenn
General contractorA.N. Cameron and Hugh Webb [3]
Tenants
Clemson Tigers (NCAA) (1942–present)
Carolina Panthers (NFL) (1995)

Frank Howard Field at Clemson Memorial Stadium, popularly known as "Death Valley", is home to the Clemson Tigers, an NCAA Division I FBS football team located in Clemson, South Carolina. Built in 1941–1942, the stadium has seen expansions throughout the years with the most recent being the WestZone with Phase 1 construction beginning in 2004 and completing in 2015 with the addition of the Oculus, the final piece of Phase 3. Phase 1 of the EastZone project is scheduled to begin in 2020.

Contents

Prior to the completion of Bank of America Stadium, in Charlotte, Memorial Stadium served as the home venue for the National Football League (NFL)'s Carolina Panthers during the team's inaugural 1995 season.

Currently, the stadium is the largest in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).

History

Construction

The stadium was constructed against the wishes of the late and former Clemson Head Coach Jess Neely. Just before leaving for Rice University after the 1939 season, he told Frank Howard, "Don't ever let them talk you into building a big stadium. Put about 10,000 seats behind the YMCA. That's all you'll ever need." [4] Despite this, the University decided it was time to build a stadium. [5] They chose to build in the valley in the western part of campus. On April 3, 1941, the South Carolina General Assembly ratified an act authorizing a $150,000 bond issue for the new stadium, and the bill went to Governor Burnet R. Maybank for signature. [1] The original 20,500 seat stadium—the lower half of the current facility's south grandstand—was constructed for $125,000 or $6.25 a seat. [1] The stadium was designed by Carl Lee of Charlotte, N.C., a Clemson graduate, Class of 1908, and Professor H. E. Glenn of the engineering faculty. [1] On September 19, 1942, Memorial Stadium was opened with a 32-13 victory over Presbyterian College. [6] Much of the early construction of the stadium was done by scholarship athletes. In fact, the first staking out of the stadium was done by A. N. Cameron and Hugh Webb, two members of the football team.

In 1958, 18,000 sideline seats were added [1] and in 1960, 5,658 west end zone seats were added in response to increasing attendance. [1] The original cedar wood seating was replaced in 1972 by aluminum seats. As attendance continued to skyrocket, an upper deck was added to each side of the stadium. The south upper deck (Top Deck South) was added in 1978 [1] and the north upper deck (Top Deck North) in 1983. This put the total capacity over 80,000, [1] which made it one of the largest on campus stadiums in the United States. The most recent expansion started in 2004 and continued through 2009. The first phase of the "WestZone" project closed in the west endzone of Death Valley, added new luxury box and club seating, and completely renovated the locker rooms. The second phase, which was completed prior to the 2009 football season, brought all football offices and team meeting rooms to the WestZone from the McFadden Building and also added dedicated football training and strength conditioning facilities. The stadium's maximum capacity is 81,500 but has seated crowds as large as 86,092.

On January 14, 2011, Clemson announced a new $50 million athletic building plan. Facility improvements for football will include building an indoor practice facility and finishing the WestZone project. The indoor practice facility, which will be located where the current practice fields are, will feature a regulation-size artificial turf football field, a coach’s tower and video platforms. The building will have large garage-style doors, which can be raised to create an open-air space. The estimated cost of the project is $10 million. “The indoor practice facility will be a highly significant addition for Clemson, not only for football but also for other sports to use,” Phillips said. The $15.3 million WestZone project will feature the oculus, which is the main entrance to the WestZone, a four-level museum and an expansion of the northwest concourse. Construction on the northwest concourse expansion started in April and was completed by the start of the 2011 season. [7]

Scroll of Honor

A memorial to the 493 Clemson service personnel killed while on military duty was dedicated outside Gate 1 on April 22, 2010. A flypast of two T-34B Mentors concluded the ceremonies. [8]

Death Valley

The nickname "Death Valley" for Memorial Stadium, derives both from Death Valley National Park in California as well as the location of the Clemson University cemetery on a hill that once overlooked the field—before the upper decks were constructed.

The late Lonnie McMillian, former football coach at Presbyterian College told sports writers in 1948 that he had "to take his team up to Clemson and play in Death Valley" where they rarely scored or gained a victory. [5]

Clemson Head Coach Frank Howard began using the nickname "Death Valley" for the stadium in the 1950s. [ citation needed ]

Death Valley facts

Memorial Stadium hosted The Rolling Stones with Living Colour in 1989 for the Steel Wheels/Urban Jungle Tour. It hosted Pink Floyd in 1994 for The Division Bell Tour. It hosted Elton John with Billy Joel in 1995 for Face to Face 1995 tour, and The Eagles in 1996. In 1997, it hosted U2 with Rage Against the Machine for the PopMart Tour.

Clemson University's Memorial Stadium Clemson's Memorial Stadium.jpg
Clemson University's Memorial Stadium

Notable games

Clemson Top Single GameAttendance Figures [11]

YearOpponentAttendance
1999 Florida State 86,092
1994 South Carolina 85,872
2015 Florida State 85,573
2000 South Carolina 85,187
2001 Florida State 85,036
2014 South Carolina 85,024
2015 Notre Dame 84,892
2001 North Carolina 84,869
1988 South Carolina 84,867
1988 Florida State 84,576

Traditions

Howard's Rock

In the early 1960s, the rock was given to then head coach Frank Howard by a friend, Samuel Columbus Jones (Clemson Class of 1919). [12] It was presented to Howard by Jones, saying "Here's a rock from Death Valley, California, to Death Valley, South Carolina." [4] Howard didn't think anything else about the rock and it was used as a door stop in his office for several years. In September 1966, while cleaning out his office, Howard noticed the rock and told IPTAY executive director Gene Willimon, "Take this rock and throw it over the fence or out in the ditch...do something with it, but get it out of my office." [4] Willimon had the rock placed on a pedestal at the top of the east endzone hill that the team ran down to enter the field for games. [5] On September 24, 1966, the first time Clemson players ran by the rock, they beat conference rival Virginia, 40-35. [13] Howard, seizing on the motivational potential of "The Rock", told his players, "Give me 110% or keep your filthy hands off of my rock." [5] The team started rubbing the Rock for the first game of 1967, in which they beat ACC foe Wake Forest, 23-6. [14]

It is now a tradition for the Clemson Ranger Club to "protect" the Rock during the 24 hours preceding the Clemson-South Carolina game, when held in Death Valley. ROTC cadets keep a steady drum cadence around the Rock prior to the game, which can be heard across the campus. Part of the tradition began after unknown parties vandalized the Rock prior to the 1992 South Carolina-Clemson game. [15]

In 2013, the rock was vandalized and re-installed under a protective case. [16]

Running Down the Hill

Probably the most highly publicized tradition of Clemson football is its dramatic entrance scene. The tradition of Running Down the Hill started when the football locker rooms were located in Fike Field House (located up the hill northeast of the stadium). Clemson players would literally run down the hill all the way from Fike into the stadium to intimidate opposing teams.

Today, after exiting the stadium on the west side, the players load into buses, escorted by police officers. They make their way around the stadium to the east side where The Hill is located. This scene has been shown on the JumboTron ever since it was installed in the stadium. When the buses arrive at the east side, the players get out and gather at the top of the hill and stand around Howard's Rock. Once most of the players are out of the buses and ready to go, a cannon sounds, the band launches into Tiger Rag, and the players run down the hill. In 1985, Brent Musburger referred to it as "the most exciting 25 seconds in college football." [4]

After the end of the 2018 season the Tigers had made the run down the hill 402 times.

See also

Related Research Articles

Scott Stadium American football stadium on the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville, VA, US

Scott Stadium located in Charlottesville, Virginia, is the home of the Virginia Cavaliers football team. It sits on the University of Virginia's Grounds, east of Hereford College and first-year dorms on Alderman Road but west of Brown College and the Lawn. Constructed in 1931, it is the oldest active football stadium in Virginia.

2006 Florida State Seminoles football team

The 2006 Florida State Seminoles football team represented Florida State University during the 2006 NCAA Division I-A football season. The team was coached by Bobby Bowden and played their home games at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Florida. They were members of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and the Atlantic Division.

Florida State Seminoles football College Football Bowl Subdivision team; member of Atlantic Coast Conference

The Florida State Seminoles football team represents Florida State University in the sport of American football. The Seminoles compete in the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Atlantic Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). The team is known for its storied history, distinctive helmet, fight song and colors as well as the many traditions associated with the school.

Clemson Tigers football College Football Bowl Subdivision team; member of Atlantic Coast Conference

The Clemson Tigers, known traditionally as the "Clemson University Fighting Tigers,” represent Clemson University in the sport of American football. The Tigers compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Atlantic Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). Consistently ranked among the most elite college football programs in the United States, the team is known for its storied history, distinctive helmet, fight song and colors as well as the many traditions associated with the school.

Florida–Florida State football rivalry

The Florida–Florida State football rivalry, occasionally called the Sunshine Showdown, is an American college football rivalry between the teams of the two oldest public universities of the U.S. state of Florida: the University of Florida Gators and Florida State University Seminoles. Both universities participate in a range of intercollegiate sports, and for the last several years, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has sponsored a "Sunshine Showdown" promotion that tallies the total number of wins for each school in head to head sports competition. However, the annual football game between the Gators and Seminoles has consistently been the most intense and notable competition between the in-state rivals.

2007 Clemson Tigers football team

The 2007 Clemson football team represented Clemson University in the 2007 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The Tigers were led by head coach Tommy Bowden and played their home games in Memorial Stadium.

2007 Florida State Seminoles football team

The 2007 Florida State Seminoles football team represented Florida State University during the 2007 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The team was coached by Bobby Bowden and played their home games at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Florida. They were members of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and the Atlantic Division.

Florida State–Miami football rivalry

The Florida State–Miami football rivalry is an American college football rivalry between the Florida State Seminoles football team of Florida State University and Miami Hurricanes football team of the University of Miami. Miami leads the series 34-30. Since the late 1980s, one or both squads have been highly ranked entering the game, adding national championship implications to an already heated rivalry. Kicks have played an important role in the series with many wide right, wide left, blocks and other mistakes occurring with the game in the balance.

Clemson–Florida State football rivalry

The Clemson–Florida State football rivalry is an American college football rivalry between the Clemson Tigers football team of Clemson University and Florida State Seminoles football team of Florida State University. The schools have played each other annually since 1992. Both universities are members of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), and since the ACC initiated divisional play in 2005, both teams have competed in the ACC's Atlantic Division. For several years in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the matchup was known alternatively as the Bowden Bowl for the father, former head coach Bobby Bowden of the Seminoles, and the son, Tommy Bowden, formerly head coach of the Tigers.

2009 Florida State Seminoles football team

The 2009 Florida State Seminoles football team represented Florida State University during the 2009 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The team played their home games at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Florida. They were members of the Atlantic Coast Conference ACC).

2009 Clemson Tigers football team

The 2009 Clemson Tigers football team represented Clemson University in the 2009 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The Tigers were led by head coach Dabo Swinney, who was in his first full season as head coach. The Tigers played their home games in Memorial Stadium. The Tigers won the ACC Atlantic Division, but after securing the title lost to in–state rival South Carolina in the Palmetto Bowl 34–17, before losing for the second time in the season to Georgia Tech in the ACC Championship Game. Clemson closed the season with a win over Kentucky in the Music City Bowl.

2010 Florida State Seminoles football team

The 2010 Florida State Seminoles football team represented Florida State University in the 2010 NCAA Division I FBS college football season. The Seminoles were led by first-year head coach Jimbo Fisher and played their home games at Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium. They were members of the Atlantic Coast Conference, playing in the Atlantic Division.

2011 Clemson Tigers football team

The 2011 Clemson Tigers football team represents Clemson University in the 2011 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The Tigers were led by head coach Dabo Swinney in his third full year and fourth overall since taking over midway through 2008 season. They played their home games at Memorial Stadium, also known as "Death Valley". They were members of the Atlantic Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

2012 Florida State Seminoles football team

The 2012 Florida State Seminoles football team, variously Florida State or FSU, represented Florida State University in the sport of American football during the 2012 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The Seminoles were led by third-year head coach Jimbo Fisher, and played their home games at Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Florida. They were members of the Atlantic Coast Conference, playing in the Atlantic Division. 2012 marked the Seminoles' 21st season as a member of the ACC and their eighth in the ACC's Atlantic Division.

Everett Demone Golson is a former American football quarterback. He previously played quarterback for Notre Dame from 2011 to the spring of 2015. Golson chose to transfer to Florida State after graduating from Notre Dame.

2014 BCS National Championship Game annual NCAA football game

The 2014 Vizio BCS National Championship Game was the national championship game of the 2013 college football season, which took place on Monday, January 6, 2014. The game featured the Auburn Tigers and Florida State Seminoles. It was the 16th and last time the top two teams would automatically play for the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) title before the implementation of a four-team College Football Playoff system. The game was played at the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, California, kicking off at 8:30 p.m. ET. The game was hosted by the Pasadena Tournament of Roses, the organizer of the annual Tournament of Roses Parade and the Rose Bowl Game on New Year's Day. The winner of the game, Florida State, was presented with the American Football Coaches Association's "The Coaches' Trophy", valued at $30,000. Pre-game festivities began at 4:30 p.m. PT. Face values of tickets were $385 and $325 with both teams receiving a total of 40,000 tickets.

2013 Florida State Seminoles football team

The 2013 Florida State Seminoles football team, variously Florida State or FSU, represented Florida State University in the sport of American football during the 2013 NCAA Division I FBS college football season. Florida State competed in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The Seminoles were led by fourth-year head coach Jimbo Fisher and played their home games at Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Florida. They were members of the Atlantic Coast Conference, and played in the Atlantic Division. It was the Seminoles' 22nd season as a member of the ACC and its ninth in the ACC Atlantic Division.

Howards Rock

Howard's Rock is a large piece of white flint that is displayed in Clemson University's Memorial Stadium. The rock is the center of a longstanding tradition where players touch it before running down the hill in the east end zone at each home football game.

2016 Clemson Tigers football team

The 2016 Clemson Tigers football team represented Clemson University in the 2016 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The Tigers were led by head coach Dabo Swinney in his eighth full year and ninth overall since taking over midway through 2008 season. They played their home games at Memorial Stadium, also known as "Death Valley", and competed in the Atlantic Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Tigers entered the 2016 season as the defending national runners-up after a 14–1 season that ended with a loss to Alabama in the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship.

2018 Clemson Tigers football team

The 2018 Clemson Tigers football team represented Clemson University during the 2018 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The Tigers played their home games at Memorial Stadium, also known as "Death Valley," and competed in the Atlantic Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference. They were led by head coach Dabo Swinney in his tenth full year and 11th overall since taking over midway through 2008 season.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Blackman, Sam, Bradley, Bob, and Kriese, Chuck, "Clemson: Where the Tigers Play", Sports Publishing, L.L.C., Champaign, Illinois, 2001, ISBN   1-58261-369-9, page 33-80.
  2. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–" . Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  3. "Memorial Stadium". Ballparks.com. Retrieved August 21, 2012.
  4. 1 2 3 4 Howard, Frank, with Bradley, Bob, and Parker, Virgil, "Howard", Howard, Lincoln, Nebraska, 1990, ISBN   0-934904-22-7, page 132-5
  5. 1 2 3 4 Bradley, Bob, "Death Valley Days", Longstreet Press, Inc., Atlanta, Georgia, 1991, Library of Congress card number 91-061931, ISBN   1-56352-006-0, pages 11-17.
  6. "2001 Clemson Football Media Guide". Clemson University Department of Athletics. 2001. p. 339. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
  7. "Clemson Unveils $50M Athletic Building Plan". WSPA . Greenville. January 14, 2011. Archived from the original on March 19, 2012. Retrieved January 14, 2011.
  8. Gouch, John (April 12, 2010). "Clemson to dedicate Scroll of Honor Memorial". Clemson Newsstand. Retrieved April 5, 2018.
  9. "2018 Clemson football media guide". Clemson University Athletics. p. 42.
  10. "Notre Dame vs. Clemson". ESPN . October 3, 2015. Retrieved April 5, 2018.
  11. "2018 Football Media Guides Available For Purchase Online". Clemson University Athletic Department. Retrieved November 21, 2018.
  12. Clemson Alumni Association, "Clemson Alumni: Today 2008", Harris Connect, Inc., Chesapeake, Virginia, 2007, no ISBN , page 1904.
  13. Clemson Athletic Department, "2001 Clemson Football", Keys Printing, Greenville, South Carolina, 2001, no ISBN , page 340.
  14. Blackman, Sam. "Running Down the Hill". Clemson University Athletic Department. Retrieved April 5, 2018.
  15. Garrett, Gerald (November 21, 1992). "Vandals Chip Chunk of Howard's Rock". Spartanburg Herald-Journal . Retrieved April 5, 2018.
  16. Adelson, Andrea (July 1, 2013). "Clemson Makes Arrest in Rock Case". ESPN . Retrieved April 5, 2018.
Preceded by
first stadium
Home of the
Carolina Panthers

1995
Succeeded by
Ericsson Stadium