Faurot Field

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Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium
"The Zou"
Aerial view of Memorial Stadium Faurot Field (2012).jpg
Location 600 East Stadium Boulevard
Columbia, Missouri 65201
Coordinates 38°56′9″N 92°19′59″W / 38.93583°N 92.33306°W / 38.93583; -92.33306Coordinates: 38°56′9″N 92°19′59″W / 38.93583°N 92.33306°W / 38.93583; -92.33306
Owner University of Missouri
Operator University of Missouri
Capacity 71,168 (2014–present)[1]
67,124 (2013)[2]
71,004 (2009–2012)[3]
68,349 (2003–2008)
68,174 (1998–2002)
62,023 (1978–1997)
51,223 (1971–1977)
47,628 (1963–1970)
44,033 (1961–1962)
35,000 (1950–1960)
30,000 (1949)
25,000 (1926–1948)
Record attendance 75,298
Surface Grass 1926 to 1984 and 1995 to 2002
Omniturf 1985 to 1994
FieldTurf 2003 to present
Construction
Broke ground December 9, 1925[4]
Opened October 2, 1926
Renovated 1978, 2003, 2012
Expanded 1949-1950, 1961-1965, 1971
1978, 1996, 2003, 2009, 2014
Construction cost $525,000[5]
($6.99 million in 2014 dollars[6])
Architect Jamieson and Spearl (original)
Ellerbe Becket (renovation)[7]
Tenants
Missouri Tigers (NCAA) (1926–present)

Faurot Field /fɔːˈr/, /fəˈr/ at Memorial Stadium is the home field of the University of Missouri Tigers in Columbia, Missouri. It is primarily used for football. In 1972, Memorial Stadium's playing surface was named Faurot Field in honor of longtime coach Don Faurot. During the offseason, soccer goals are set up in the end zones and it is used for intramural matches. It also hosts the annual "Providence Bowl" game between Hickman and Rock Bridge high schools (so named because both schools are located on Providence Road in Columbia, and Faurot is roughly equidistant between the two) and in the past has been home to the MSHSAA football championships, now held in St. Louis (taking advantage of the climate-controlled atmosphere of the Edward Jones Dome). It is the second largest sports facility by capacity in the state of Missouri, second to Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.

When full, Faurot Field would be the ninth-largest city in the state of Missouri.

The stadium is a typical horseshoe-shaped stadium, with seating added on in the "open" endzone. The horseshoe is completed by a grass berm in the curved end, which is used for general admission on game days. The berm is famous for the giant block "M" made of painted white stones located behind the endzone.

There is road between the field and the stands around the entire length of the horseshoe, taking the place of the track, removed in the mid-1990s.

Early history[edit]

Fundraising began in 1921 for a "Memorial Union" and a "Memorial Stadium" to be constructed at the University. The names of the two projects were a tribute to Mizzou alumni who lost their lives during World War I. Ground was broken on the site of the future stadium in December 1925. The site was a sizeable natural valley that lay between twin bluffs south of the campus. Original plans called for the stadium to seat 25,000, with proposed stages of expansion in capacity to 35,000, 55,000, 75,000 and 95,000. According to legend, a rock crusher and truck were buried during initial blasting, and they still remain buried under the field.

Memorial Stadium was dedicated on October 2, 1926, to the memory of 112 alumni and students who lost their lives in World War I. The 25,000-seat stadium--the lower half of the current facility--was built with a 440-yard (400 m) track that circled the playing field. That first October game against Tulane was marred by rainstorms that washed out a bridge into Columbia coming from the western side of Missouri. While the game sold out, the field could not be sodded due to the wet conditions. Therefore, a surface of sawdust and tree bark was used, and "the Tigers and Green Wave played to a scoreless, mudpie tie", in the words of sportswriter Bob Broeg. Grass would be installed thenafter until the 1980s.

The highly recognizable rock 'M' of the northern end zone debuted on October 1, 1927, to a 13-6 victory over Kansas State. The monument was built by members of the freshman class using leftover rocks from the original stadium construction. The 90 ft (27 m) wide by 95 ft (29 m) high 'M' has continued to watch over the field and provide seating for fans since that day.

Mizzou earned its largest margin of victory ever at Memorial Stadium on September 17, 2011. Under Coach Gary Pinkel, the Tigers defeated Western Illinois University by a score of 69–0.

Traditions[edit]

Rock M[edit]

The stadium's most historic and identifiable landmark is the rock "M" above the stadium's north end zone. The "M" is formed by whitewashed rocks, and it measures 90-feet-wide by 95-feet-high. The landmark was built in 1927 by a group of freshman students, using leftover rocks from the original construction of Memorial Stadium. This distinctive feature has not been immune to pranks, such as enterprising Nebraska or Kansas fans attempting to change the "M" to an "N" or a "K", but groundskeepers and students have in the past protected what may be the stadium's best-known landmark. One of the traditions of the football team is that seniors, after playing their final home game, take a rock from the "M" as a souvenir. The rock "M" is also whitewashed every year by incoming freshmen during welcoming activities prior to the first home game.[8]

MIZ-ZOU Chant[edit]

The "M-I-Z," "Z-O-U," chant came about in the 1970s. After a game against Ohio State, famous for its "O-H," "I-O," the chant was adapted for Missouri by Dr. Alexander Pickard, Director of Marching Mizzou. Today the chant is led by the "Big MO" drum (the worlds largest marching bass drum).[9] The student section yells out "M-I-Z" and the alumni section responds "Z-O-U".

Gold Rush[edit]

Faurot Field before Mizzou vs. Nebraska Gold Rush Game, October 6, 2007

Traditionally, all fans were encouraged to wear gold to one game a season, which was known as the Gold Rush game. The atmosphere of the 2007 Gold Rush game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers was so successful that Coach Pinkel and the Athletic Department requested that all fans wear only gold shirts to all remaining games except during the black-out game (traditionally the final home game of the year). This has been met with general success and has been embraced by fans. Following the 2007 season, the first home game of the season has been designated as the Gold Rush Kickoff game, and fans wear gold to all remaining home games with the exception of the black-out game. The sea of gold in the stands has become an identity of Faurot Field.[10]

Other Traditions[edit]

The intro song for the football team is "Welcome to the Jungle."

Quantrill "Q" flags often make appearances around the stadium and in tailgating. These flags are in reference to Confederate guerrilla William Quantrill who raided, sacked, and burned down Lawrence, KS during the civil war. A Quantrill flag currently hangs in the team locker room.

Expansion and Renovation[edit]

1949 - 1978 Seating Expansions[edit]

Throughout its history, numerous expansion and renovation projects have taken place at Faurot Field. Beginning in 1949, MU expanded Memorial Stadium by constructing a second tier of seating above the original 1926 construction. The 1949 construction included seats between the 30 yard lines on the west side and between the south 30 and north 40 yard lines and a new press box on the west side of the stadium.[11] A second project in 1961 filled in the northeast and northwest sections of the second tier[11] and two final projects in 1963 and 1965 completed the second tier construction with new southwest and southeast stands.[11] In 1967 the MU Board of Curators awarded contracts totaling $460,000 for construction of a new three story press box. The new press box was completed for the start of the 1969 season.

In 1974, Athletic Director Mel Sheehan studied the possibility of lowering the field to add additional seats on each side closer to the sidelines, but the plan did not move forward due to a prevalence of bedrock just below the playing surface.

During the summer of 1978, the south endzone was enclosed with 10,800 permanent seats, which brought total permanent seating capacity to 62,023[11] and overall seating capacity to around 75,000.

1985 Omniturf[edit]

On May 18, 1985, MU replaced the natural grass surface with a new artificial surface called Omniturf. The conversion was completed on August 30. Missouri was the last school in the Big Eight Conference to switch from grass to artificial turf. Six of the other seven conference schools switched to artificial turf in the early 1970s, and Iowa State followed suit in 1975 when the Cyclones' new Jack Trice Stadium opened. The first game on the new artificial turf was a 27–23 loss to Northwestern University played on September 14, 1985. The Tigers went on to finish 0–7 at home during the 1985 season. The OmniTurf surface became infamous to Tiger fans as the "lousy field" on which The Fifth Down Game was played on October 6, 1990. The surface was also panned by opponents as well. In 1992, Big Eight Conference coaches issued a statement that read, in part: "Big Eight Conference football coaches wanted to report that the football field at the University of Missouri is a detriment to the home and visiting teams and takes away from the integrity of the game played on such a field."[12]

1990's[edit]

On September 18, 1994, The Rolling Stones performed, during their Voodoo Lounge Tour, before 45,000 fans at Memorial Stadium in a concert that raised almost $100,000 for the conversion of the Omniturf surface back to natural grass. The final game on the infamous Omniturf surface was played on November 19 of that same year against the University of Kansas, a 31-14 Kansas victory. Mizzou's all-time record on the Omiturf was a disappointing 20–38–3.

The new 15-story state-of-the-art facility containing press boxes, suites, and a restaurant was constructed in 2000.
The new Daktronics video board installed before the start of the 2009-2010 football season.

The artificial Omniturf playing surface was removed and replaced with natural grass over the summer of 1995. Legendary Coach Don Faurot put down the last piece of sod as a symbolic gesture. Faurot had helped to lay the sod of the original playing surface in 1926. He died later that year in October, during Homecoming week. As part of the installation of the new playing surface, grass-covered terraces were extended up from the field to the seating area, where they met a new low brick wall that was designed to give Memorial Stadium a traditional college ambiance. The brick wall also honors the greatest figures in Tiger football (including Faurot, Kellen Winslow and Dan Devine) by listing the team's honored numbers on each panel. The first game on the new natural grass resulted in a 28–7 victory for Mizzou over North Texas. The game was also historic as the first game played under permanent lights—previously, night games only were played under temporary lights paid for by television broadcasters, and as part of the renovations four large light stanchions were erected outside each corner of the stadium.

In 1996 four permanent light towers were installed, allowing Missouri to begin playing night games on a regular basis. In the first night game played under the permanent lights, the Memphis Tigers upset Missouri with a 19-16 upset win on September 14, 1996.

1997 brought a major renovation that included the installation of the Diamond Vision video board above the Rock "M" at the north end zone. The video board measured 21 feet high by 27 feet wide, and the screen utilized Clearvision Signal Processing.[12] The concourses were also refurbished, with new signage and expanded concessions. New ticket booths were constructed, and the north entrance was reconfigured with more brick work to accent the new brick wall installed at field level in 1995.

2000 to present[edit]

Prior to the start of the 1999 football season, construction of a new press box and luxury suites began. The $13.1 million 15-story tower was completed in August 2000, and it contained state-of-the-art facilities for the coaches and media, as well as several executive suites, hundreds of premium club seats and a restaurant.[13][14]

FieldTurf replaced the natural grass in 2003. With installation of the new FieldTurf, the traditional "M" was removed from the 50 yard line of the field, and it was replaced by the oval "Power Tiger" logo at the center of the field.

In 2005, the south end's antiquated auxiliary scoreboards were replaced with new ones, as well as a second high-definition video monitor.

In 2009, the university installed a new $5 million 30x80 foot north end zone scoreboard with updated video capabilities and new sound system. The new north end zone video board and audio upgrades replaced the current 10 year old equipment.[15] At the time of construction, it was the fourth largest scoreboard in the Big 12 Conference, sitting behind Godzillatron at Texas' DKR Stadium, the south scoreboard at Owen Field in Norman, Oklahoma, and "12th Man TV" at Kyle Field in College Station. When the Tigers enter Southeastern Conference play, the Faurot Field video scoreboard will be the ninth largest in the SEC.

Press box view of the redesigned FieldTurf surface for the 2012 season.
Endzone view of the redesigned FieldTurf surface for the 2012 season.

In 2011, the university partnered with Levy Restaurants to expand menu options in the stadium. This includes the Faurotious Field Dawg (hot dog with buffalo sauce and blue cheese), the The Big Zou Dawg (potato salad, baked beans, barbecue sauce and cheddar cheese), and the Touchdown Taco Dawg (taco meat, lettuce, cheddar cheese, pico de gallo, sour cream and jalapeños). It also brought about a new food tradition, the "Mac and Cheese Burnt End Sandwich" which quickly caught on with fans and is now becoming a popular item for tailgating.[16] In 2012, Athletic Director Mike Alden announced a $1.5 million modification plan for Faurot Field in anticipation of increased game attendance in the SEC. Changes to the stadium for the 2012 season include a redesigned FieldTurf surface featuring a larger "Power Tiger" logo at midfield, SEC conference logos, black and gold "M-I-Z-Z-O-U" endzone diamonds to replace the previous white "M-I-S-S-O-U-R-I" diamonds, and gold trim surrounding the field. Additionally, Marching Mizzou was moved from the south endzone to the southeast corner of the seating bowl, and a "Touchdown Terrace" premium seating section was added to the south endzone.[17]

Current projects[edit]

In 2012, renovation plans were expanded to increase the current capacity by approximately 6,000 seats at a planned cost of $72 million:[18][19]

  • For the 2013 season, the west side press box complex was renovated, moving all press facilities to the sixth floor and converting the existing space to new premium suites.[18][19] In addition, the "Rock M" and grass berm were moved closer to the north endzone and the northern concourse was expanded.[19]
  • For the 2014 season, an upper bowl will be completed for the east side of the stadium, providing 5,200 general admission seats and 800 club seats. These additions will make Faurot Field the ninth largest stadium in the Southeastern Conference, ahead of Arkansas, Kentucky, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt.[18][19]

Many fans[who?] have expressed interest in expanding the south stands to be more uniform with the rest of the stadium, adding features such as bathrooms and permanent food stands in the process. However, this project may be hampered by the fact that the south end is very close to the water table, and that any added construction will run into problems associated with this.[citation needed]

Record crowds[edit]

A view of the west stand, known to fans as the "Alumni Stand"
Picture of the west stands at Faurot Field.
Picture of the east stands at Faurot Field.

The stadium (2013) officially held 67,124 in, and expand to in 2014. The record attendance for Faurot Field is 75,298 when Missouri hosted Penn State on October 4, 1980.

All-Time Largest Crowds

  1. 75,298, vs. Penn State, October 4, 1980
  2. 75,136, vs. Texas, September 29, 1979
  3. 74,575, vs. Nebraska, November 3, 1979
  4. 73,655, vs. Alabama, September 16, 1978
  5. 72,348, vs. Nebraska, October 15, 1983
  6. 72,333, vs. Colorado, October 18, 1980
  7. 72,001, vs. Nebraska, October 24, 1981
  8. 71,291, vs. Oklahoma, November 17, 1979
  9. 71,096, vs. Colorado, October 28, 1978
  10. 71,004, vs. Texas, October 24, 2009
  11. 71,004, vs. Oklahoma, October 23, 2010
  12. 71,004, vs. Iowa State, October 15, 2011
  13. 71,004, vs. Georgia, September 8, 2012
  14. 71,004, vs. Arizona State, September 15, 2012
  15. 71,004, vs. Alabama, October 13, 2012

Largest Crowds since 1995 (when possible seating was reduced to 68,174 capacity from 75,000)
For the 2008 season official seating capacity was increased to 68,349.
For the 2009 season official seating capacity was increased to 71,004.
For the 2013 season official seating capacity was decreased to 67,124.

  1. 71,004, vs. Alabama, October 13, 2012
  2. 71,004, vs. Arizona State, September 15, 2012
  3. 71,004, vs. Georgia, September 8, 2012
  4. 71,004, vs. Iowa State, October 15, 2011
  5. 71,004, vs. Oklahoma, October 23, 2010
  6. 71,004, vs. Texas, October 24, 2009
  7. 70,049, vs. Nebraska, October 6, 2007
  8. 68,349, vs. Kansas State, November 8, 2008
  9. 68,349, vs. Colorado, October 25, 2008
  10. 68,349, vs. Oklahoma State, October 11, 2008
  11. 68,349, vs. Nebraska, October 11, 2003
  12. 68,174, vs. Nebraska, September 25, 1999
  13. 68,174, vs. Kansas State, November 21, 1998
  14. 67,853, vs. Kentucky, October 27, 2012
  15. 67,124, vs. Florida, October 19, 2013
  16. 66,846, vs. Nebraska, November 8, 1997

References[edit]

  1. ^ Modelski, Kevin; Tai, Tim (August 27, 2014). "Public Gets Sneak Peek of Memorial Stadium Renovations". Columbia Missourian. Retrieved August 30, 2014. 
  2. ^ "An Update to Tiger Nation". Missouri Athletics. August 19, 2013. Retrieved August 26, 2013. 
  3. ^ Mizzou Football Guide 09 (PDF), p. 5
  4. ^ "Start New Stadium". Youngstown Vindicator. December 10, 1925. 
  5. ^ "Memorial Tower at Missouri University Is Now Completed". The Nevada Daily Mail. April 24, 1926. 
  6. ^ Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  7. ^ Faurot Field - ellerbebecket.com - Retrieved October 8, 2009
  8. ^ 2005 Mizzou Football Media Guide. p21.
  9. ^ http://www.themaneater.com/stories/2011/8/30/new-big-mo-bass-drum-breaks-records/
  10. ^ http://www.rockmnation.com/2010/11/4/1791336/the-gold-rush-is-becoming-a-standout-tradition
  11. ^ a b c d [1]
  12. ^ a b University of Missouri, Official Athletic Site of the Mizzou Tigers Facilities
  13. ^ "Rivals Battle for Press Box Supremacy. Lawrence Journal-World. September 15, 1999. 3C
  14. ^ 2005 Mizzou Football Media Guide. p 23
  15. ^ "2008 Progress Continues at the Sports Park at MU". Tiger Row. Summer 2008. p19.
  16. ^ http://www.themaneater.com/stories/2011/9/20/mu-partners-levy-restaurants-expand-faurot-field-c/
  17. ^ http://mizzounation1839.blogspot.com/2012/02/faurot-changes.html
  18. ^ a b c Durando, Stu (June 26, 2012). "Mizzou to weigh improving Faurot Field". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved September 15, 2012. 
  19. ^ a b c d "Athletics Receives $30 Million Gift For Facility Plans". mutigers.com. University of Missouri Athletic Department. June 26, 2012. Retrieved September 15, 2012. 

External links[edit]