Dowdy–Ficklen Stadium

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Bagwell Field at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium
Rowdy Dowdy
UAB at ECU football game 2009-11-21.JPG
Full name Bagwell Field at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium
Former names Ficklen Memorial Stadium (1963–1994)
Location Blackbeard's Alley, Greenville, North Carolina 27858
Coordinates 35°35′47″N 77°21′55″W / 35.59639°N 77.36528°W / 35.59639; -77.36528Coordinates: 35°35′47″N 77°21′55″W / 35.59639°N 77.36528°W / 35.59639; -77.36528
Broke ground 1962
Built 1962-1963
Opened September 21, 1963
Renovated 1991 - $1.6 million in repairs and renovations
Expanded 1967–1968 - increased seating capacity to 20,000
1977–1978 - increased seating capacity to 35,000
1996–1998 - increased seating capacity to 43,000
2010 - increased seating capacity to 50,000
Owner East Carolina University
Operator East Carolina University
Surface Bermuda Grass
Construction cost $283,387
Architect Dudley & Shoe
Capacity 50,000
Tenants
East Carolina Pirates (NCAA) (1963–present)

Bagwell Field at Dowdy–Ficklen Stadium is the on-campus football facility for the East Carolina Pirates in Greenville, North Carolina. The official capacity of the stadium is 50,000, making it the third largest college stadium in North Carolina. The record attendance for the stadium was on October 1, 2011 against the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with 50,610 in attendance. The stadium is also the site of Spring Commencement exercises for the University.[1]

History[edit]

Original construction[edit]

The initiative to build a new stadium was announced on October 7, 1961. On that day, President Leo Jenkins announced to a meeting of boosters, that a new stadium will be built to replace College Stadium. By 1962, over $280,000 was raised and Ficklen Memorial Stadium was built.[2] The stadium was named for James Skinner Ficklen, the owner of Greenville’s E.B. Skinner Tobacco Company. Skinner was a booster of the college, and established a scholarship fund in his name.[3] The original stadium included permanent stands on the south side, a press box, and a lighting system.[4] Ficklen Memorial Stadium opened on September 21, 1963 with a win against Wake Forest.[2] The original seating capacity was 10,000.[3]

Early expansions[edit]

The north side permanent seating was constructed in 1967 and 1968, increasing the capacity of the stadium to 20,000.[4] The seats were designed by W.M. Freeman Associates from High Point, North Carolina. The exterior of the stadium was painted in 1970 by F.A. Miller Company.[3] The lighting system was the next item that changed. The original lighting system was replaced with six towers outside of the stadium in 1975. The cost of the new lighting system was $450,000.[2] L.E. Wooten company built the lighting system.[3]

The next addition occurred two years later. The university added seats to the four corners increased the seating capacity to 35,000. This addition made Ficklen Memorial Stadium the third largest stadium in North Carolina.[4] The expansion was funded by a 2.5 million drive in the spring of 1977. The three-story press box which is currently in use was built during that expansion. The press box had space for 92 writers and an entire floor for electronic media. Lastly, scoreboard with a lightbank message center was placed on the east end of the stadium. The playing surface was redone in 1983. A new drainage system, new base of gravel and sand, new treated topsoil, and a new grass—Tifton 419 Hybrid Bermuda were all installed.[2] A new sound system was built in 1988.[3]

1990s expansions[edit]

In 1991, $1.6 million in renovations and repairs were accomplished on the stadium.[3]

Ronald and Mary Ellen Dowdy of Orlando, Florida, donated one million dollars during a fund-raising drive in 1994. Because of this donation, Ficklen Memorial Stadium was renamed Dowdy–Ficklen Stadium.[2] Also that year the roads were improved around the stadium.[3] A year later, Al and Debbie Bagwell of Lake Gaston, Virginia donated to the East Carolina Educational Foundation. Because of this donation, the field inside the stadium was named Bagwell Field.[2]

The upper deck on the north side was completed in 1998. It increased the capacity to 40,000. This was the first seating capacity increase since 1977. A year later the club level on the north side was completed. It added 3,000 seats to the total capacity.[4] During the expansion of the upper deck and club level, the press box received improvements.[3] In 1999, a $2 million scoreboard was built in the east endzone.[2] Also that year a Pirate sculpture was dedicated in the southeast area of the stadium. The three-ton bronze sculpture is over 20 feet (6.1 m) tall. Irwin Belk gave the sculpture to the school. Jodi Hollnagel, a faculty member of the School of Art created the sculpture.[3][5]

Murphy Center construction[edit]

The $13 million Murphy Center was dedicated on September 13, 2002. It was built in the west endzone of the stadium. It connects the stadium to Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum. The 52,475-square-foot (4,875.1 m2) strength and conditioning, banquet rooms, sport memorabilia, and an academic enhancement center building was named for Pete and Lynn Murphy of Rose Hill, North Carolina.[6]

2009-2010 expansion[edit]

The next expansion began in December 2009. The expansion included removing the scoreboard located in the east end zone. Seven thousand seats were built in its place. The seats connect the north and south sides in a horseshoe pattern. Those seats increased the capacity to 50,000. Restroom and concession stands were built under the new section. Above the east end zone, a new scoreboard was built. The high-definition scoreboard is 88 feet (27 m) wide and a little over 28 feet (8.5 m) tall. The LED portion is 84 feet (26 m) wide.[4] This makes the new scoreboard the 22nd largest scoreboard in NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision. On the north and south sides of the stadium, 10,200 chair-back seats were installed. Lastly, another scoreboard was built on the west end zone in front of the Murphy Center.[4] The total cost of the expansion was $20 million.[7]

Future expansion[edit]

East Carolina has received permission from the North Carolina General Assembly to plan a new pressbox and upper deck on the south side of the stadium. This expansion will increase seating to 58,000.[8]

Marshall University plane crash[edit]

On November 14, 1970, the visiting Marshall University Thundering Herd lost a game 17-14 to the Pirates at Dowdy–Ficklen Stadium, which ended with Marshall quarterback Ted Shoebridge controversially being called for intentional grounding on the last play of the game. Later that evening, while on approach to Huntington Tri-State Airport, the Marshall football team's plane, which had been chartered to transport the Thundering Herd to and from Greenville, crashed, killing all seventy-five people on board.

On December 11, 2006, a plaque was erected at the visitors' entrance to Dowdy–Ficklen Stadium. It depicts the memorial fountain on the Marshall University campus.

Attendance[edit]

List of average attendance[edit]

Year Total attendance Average attendance Rank Reference
2013 263,910 43,985 -
2012 282,076 47,013 45 [9]
2011 300,069 50,012 40 [10]
2010 297,987 49,665 44 [11]
2009 292,191 41,742 57 [12]
2008 210,080 42,016 56 [13]
2007 249,219 41,537 56 [14]
2006 223,006 37,168 63 [15]
2005 165,230 33,046 70 [16]
2004 153,418 30,684 71 [17]
2003 198,073 33,012 68 [18]
2002 148,144 29,629 67 [19]
2001 186,875 37,375 58 [20]
2000 217,742 36,290 61 [21]
1999 294,255 42,036 49 [22]
1998 158,716 31,743 64 [23]
1997 164,375 32,875 - [24]
1996 146,324 29,265 -
1995 151,889 30,378 -
1994 159,805 31,961 -
1993 134,482 26,896 -
1992 164,068 32,814 -
1991 160,108 32,022 -
1990 143,285 28,657 -

Top fifteen attended games[edit]

Attendance Opponent Date Score Reference
1 50,610 North Carolina October 1, 2011 L, 20-35 [25]
2 50,410 NC State October 16, 2010 W, 33-27OT [25]
3 50,345 Southern Miss November 5, 2011 L, 28-48 [26]
4 50,277 UCF November 19, 2011 W, 38-31 [26]
5 50,191 Navy November 6, 2010 L, 35-76 [25]
6 50,145 Marshall October 23, 2010 W, 37-10 [25]
7 50,096 Virginia Tech September 14, 2013 L, 15-10 [25]
8 50,092 NC State November 20, 1999 W, 23-6 [27]
9 50,023 UAB September 24, 2011 W, 28-23 [25]
10 50,010 Tulsa September 5, 2010 W, 51-49 [25]
11 49,410 Tulane October 29, 2011 W 34-13 [26]
12 49,404 Virginia Tech September 10, 2011 L, 10-17 [26]
13 49,108 SMU November 26, 2010 L, 38-45OT [25]
14 49,023 Appalachian State September 1, 2012 W, 35-13 [25]
15 48,123 Memphis September 11, 2010 W, 49-27 [25]

Photographs of Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium". East Carolina Official Athletic Site. East Carolina University. 2008. Retrieved 2009-02-10. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium". Facilities. East Carolina Pirates. 2010. Retrieved August 2, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium". Building Histories. Joyner Library. October 1, 2008. Retrieved August 2, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Growing Season - Football Stadium Expansion". Web Features. East Carolina University. June 2, 2010. Retrieved August 2, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Minges Coliseum/Williams Arena". Building Histories. Joyner Library. October 1, 2008. Retrieved August 2, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Murphy Center". Facilities. East Carolina Pirates. 2010. Retrieved August 2, 2010. 
  7. ^ Gibson, Todd (August 3, 2010). "ECU Set To Unveil $20M Stadium Expansion". NBC17. Retrieved August 3, 2010. 
  8. ^ Holland, Terry (2011). "2011 Pirate Football Season Ticket Information". CBS Sports Network. East Carolina University. Retrieved 18 July 2011. 
  9. ^ http://web1.ncaa.org/mfb/2012/Internet/attendance/FBS_AVGATTENDANCE.pdf
  10. ^ http://web1.ncaa.org/mfb/2011/Internet/attendance/FBS_AVGATTENDANCE.pdf
  11. ^ http://web1.ncaa.org/mfb/2010/Internet/attendance/FBS_AVGATTENDANCE.pdf
  12. ^ http://web1.ncaa.org/mfb/2009/Internet/attendance/FBS_AVGATTENDANCE.pdf
  13. ^ http://web1.ncaa.org/web_files/stats/football_records/Attendance/2008.pdf
  14. ^ http://web1.ncaa.org/d1mfb/2007/Internet/attendance/IA_AVGATTENDANCE.pdf
  15. ^ http://web1.ncaa.org/web_files/stats/football_records/Attendance/2006.pdf
  16. ^ http://web1.ncaa.org/web_files/stats/football_records/Attendance/2005.pdf
  17. ^ http://web1.ncaa.org/web_files/stats/football_records/DI/2005/2005RB.pdf
  18. ^ http://web1.ncaa.org/web_files/stats/football_records/Attendance/2003.pdf
  19. ^ "Hamrick secures East Carolina blessing to pursue UNLV post". Bonesville.net. Retrieved 2013-11-28. 
  20. ^ "2001 Division I-A Home Football Attendance". NCAA.org. 2002-11-11. Retrieved 2013-11-28. 
  21. ^ "2000 Division I-A Home Football Attendance". NCAA.org. Retrieved 2013-11-28. 
  22. ^ "1999 Division I-A Home Football Attendance". NCAA.org. 2002-05-15. Retrieved 2013-11-28. 
  23. ^ "1998 NCAA Division I-A Football Home Attendance". NCAA.org. Retrieved 2013-11-28. 
  24. ^ http://www.pageturnpro.com/Provations-Group/7902-2009-ECU-Football-Guide/index.html#194
  25. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Top Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium Crowds". East Carolina University. Retrieved 2010-10-17. 
  26. ^ a b c d "East Carolina Pirates 2011 Football Schedule, Scores, Attendance". EAST CAROLINA PRESENT, PAST AND FUTURE FOOTBALL SCHEDULES. Bonesville.net. 
  27. ^ "NCAA Football | East Carolina Pirates 2013 Football Schedule". Bonesville.com. Retrieved 2013-11-28. 

External links[edit]