Hodges Stadium

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Hodges Stadium
Hodges Stadium at night.JPG
Location Jacksonville, Florida
Florida United States
Owner University of North Florida
Capacity 10,000[1]
Surface Natural grass
Construction
Opened 2004
Renovated 2006; 2008
Tenants
North Florida Ospreys (NCAA)
Jacksonville Axemen (USARL)

Hodges Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium at the University of North Florida (UNF), and the home field for the North Florida Ospreys soccer, track and field, and cross country teams. It is located on the university's campus in Jacksonville, Florida, U.S. It is named for George and Kernan Hodges, who donated $2 million to upgrade the facility in 2006.[2]

The stadium opened in 2004 and underwent renovations in 2006 and 2008 that installed additional seating, a press box, and a 9-lane Olympic quality running track. The facility additionally includes classrooms, offices, and the Browning Athletic Training and Education Center. Following the completion of the current track, it became one of seven facilities in the U.S. certified by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), allowing it to host all NCAA and IAAF events within its grounds. In addition to its use by UNF the stadium has become a center for rugby league football, serving as home field for the Jacksonville Axemen of the USA Rugby League (USARL), and hosting several international matches and training camps.[3]

History[edit]

The University of North Florida's field was first opened in 2004 in order to serve the North Florida Ospreys men's and women's soccer, cross country running, and track and field teams.[4] In 2006 Jacksonville philanthropists George and Kernan Hodges issued a $2 million donation to UNF to improve the facility. The donation funded the construction of seats for 10,000, an eight-lane 400-meter track, a press box, lighting, and classrooms and offices. The nameless field was renamed Hodges Stadium after them.[2] Other additions included the Browning Athletic Training and Education Center and a strength and conditioning center.[5]

In 2008 the stadium underwent another renovation to install a new state-of-the art running track. The university spent another $3 million to complete the 9-lane Olympic-quality track. It was designed by the Italian company Mondo and was the third facility in the world to feature the company's Mondotrack SX rubber surface.[5] It was built to meet National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) standards, and is one of only seven facilities in the U.S. to be certified by the IAAF.[4][5] It is the third largest stadium in the United States dedicated to track & field and soccer.[6]

Notable events[edit]

The stadium has also held three international rugby league football matches, and has hosted training camp for several international teams. Academy Award-winning actor Russell Crowe visited UNF to organize preparations for an international club rugby league played at UNF. Crowe's South Sydney Rabbitohs played against the Leeds Rhinos on January 26, 2008. In 2009, the Leeds Rhinos returned to UNF to play the Salford City Reds in an exhibition game.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 30°16′30.97″N 81°30′42.12″W / 30.2752694°N 81.5117000°W / 30.2752694; -81.5117000

References[edit]