Kyle Field

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For the musician, see Kyle Field (musician)
Kyle Field
Home of the 12th Man
Kyle Field-empty 2006.jpg
Location 198 Joe Routt Boulevard
College Station, TX 77843
Coordinates 30°36′36″N 96°20′25″W / 30.61000°N 96.34028°W / 30.61000; -96.34028Coordinates: 30°36′36″N 96°20′25″W / 30.61000°N 96.34028°W / 30.61000; -96.34028
Broke ground May 1927
Opened September 24, 1927
Renovated 1953, 1967, 2003, 2014
Expanded 1953, 1967, 1980, 2000, 2014
Owner Texas A&M University
Operator Texas A&M University
Surface Tifway Bermuda Grass - (1996–Present)
AstroTurf - (1969–1995)
Natural grass - (1927–1968)
Architect F. E. Geisecke (original structure)[1]

Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam, Inc. (North Endzone addition, 1978 Expansion, 1966 Expansion)
General contractor J. E. Johnson Construction Co. (original construction)[2]
Capacity 102,512 (2014)[3]
82,589 (2012–2013)[4]
83,002 (2008-2011)[5]
82,600 (2001–2007)
80,650 (1999–2000)
58,292 (1998)
70,210 (1992–1997)
72,387 (1982–1991)
70,016 (1980–1981)
54,000 (1977–1979)
48,000 (1967–1976)
41,500 (1953–1966)
40,000 (1949–1952)
32,890 (1927–1948)
Record attendance 90,079[6]
Tenants
Texas A&M Aggies football (NCAA) (1904–present)

Kyle Field is the football stadium located on the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. It has been the home to the Texas A&M Aggie football team in rudimentary form since 1904, and as a complete stadium since 1927. It is known as The Home of the 12th Man. The current official stadium seating capacity of 82,589 makes the stadium the third largest football-only venue by seating capacity in the state of Texas, the seventh largest in the Southeastern Conference, the fourteenth largest stadium in the NCAA, the sixteenth largest stadium in the United States, and the twenty-ninth largest non-racing stadium in the world.[4]

Kyle Field's only time to break the 90,000 attendance mark occurred on November 20, 2010 when 90,079 people watched Texas A&M beat the Nebraska Cornhuskers 9–6.[4]

History[edit]

Kyle Field ca. 1920

Beginning[edit]

In the fall of 1904, Edwin Jackson Kyle, an 1899 graduate of Texas A&M and professor of horticulture, was named president of the General Athletics Association. Kyle wanted to secure and develop an athletic field to promote the school's athletics. Texas A&M was unwilling to provide funds, so Kyle fenced off a section of the southwest corner of campus that had been assigned to him for agricultural use.[7] Using $650 of his own money, he purchased a covered grandstand from the Bryan fairgrounds and built wooden bleachers to raise the seating capacity to 500 people.[8][9]

On November 10, 1904, the Texas A&M Board of Directors set this area as a permanent athletic field,[10] which served as the home for the football and baseball teams. After the stands were built, students supported naming the field after its founder and builder.[11] Although some believe that the field was instead named after Dr. J. Allen Kyle, a member of the Board of Directors from 1911–1915, the Board of Directors decreed that Kyle Field was in fact named for E.J. Kyle '99.[12]

In 1921, the November game between the Texas Aggies and their archrival the University of Texas at Kyle Field became the first college football game to offer a live, play-by-play broadcast.[13]

Facility improvements[edit]

An expanded Kyle Field with three decks and a new field lighting system in 2007

The Aggies enjoyed an undefeated season in 1919, accumulating a combined score of 275–0. Aggie supporters began to clamor for a stadium, but only $2,400 was raised by 1920. In 1927, the school chose to build a new stadium, at a cost of $345,001.67.[14]

The new stadium—the lower half of the current structure's west grandstand—opened later that year. In 1929, grandstands were added on the north and west ends, turning the facility into a 33,000-seat horseshoe. Capacity was raised to 41,500 in 1953 when a partial second deck and a pressbox were added at a cost of $346,000. More of second deck and other improvements were added in 1967 to raise the capacity to 48,000 at a cost of $1,840,000.[15] In 1974, two large flagpoles were added at the south end of the stadium in memory of Lt. William B. Blocker, Texas A&M class of 1945.

Expansion continued in 1980, when a third deck was added to Kyle Field, bringing the capacity to 70,000. Construction took place during the football season, and students were allowed into the area as each row of seating was added. In 1981, 16-foot (4.9 m)-high letters spelling out "KYLE FIELD" were installed.

The Bernard C. Richardson Zone was added in 1999 at a cost of $32.9 million[16] raising the capacity to 82,600. For high-demand games, temporary bleachers are installed in the south end zone and folding chairs are placed on the sidelines. In the fall of 2003, the Bright Football Complex was completed on the south end of the stadium. The facility (named for its principal donor, former Dallas Cowboys owner Bum Bright) includes a players' lounge overlooking Kyle Field, dressing rooms, one of the largest training and rehabilitation facilities in the country, and a state-of-the-art academic center.[6]

The field had a grass surface until 1969, when Astroturf was installed.[15] It returned to a grass surface in 1996.[6] Since that time, the turf has consistently received praise from players and coaches. For their efforts, the groundskeepers were honored in 2004 as the winners of the STMA College Football Field of the Year.[17]

2013-2015 Renovation[edit]

In November 2012 A&M issued a request for proposal for a major renovation of Kyle Field.[18]

Among the notable components of the proposal were:

  • The demolition and replacement of the Netum Steed Conditioning Laboratory, the entire west side stands and press box, and the lower (first level) of the east side seating (the construction will also add private suites)
  • The demolition of the existing Read Building and G. Rollie White Coliseum
  • A new "South End Zone Lower Level" to include an area for press, interviews, 12th Man Productions, computer operations, football locker room and recruiting room, plus a new lower seating deck with chair-back seating and access via a new concourse to the Bright Building Nutrition Center which will serve as a club on game days
  • A new "South Side Upper Level" (addition of an upper seating deck and concourse), with estimated seating capacity of 12,000 with the future potential of an additional 7,000 seats; seating to be located both below and above the new upper concourse
  • The lowering of the field by seven feet and relocation of the field 18 feet to the south, so as to allow an additional six rows of seating around the stadium

In November 2012, documents regarding the $425 million in renovations to Kyle were filed with the Texas Comptrollers Office. The RFP required the successful bidder to complete the work in phases (in a sequence to be negotiated) such that each phase could be substantially completed within an eight month construction window, so that Kyle Field can continue to host home football games during the regular collegiate football seasons. Phase I began in 2013 (after the completion of the 2013 football season) and the renovations are to completed by August 1, 2016.

On May 1, 2013, the Board of Regents at Texas A&M approved a $450 million renovation of Kyle Field. The renovation will raise he official seating capacity to 102,500 people, making it the largest football stadium in Texas and the SEC (surpassing Neyland Stadium by 45 seats) and the fourth largest in the country.[19]

The renovation will be done in phases beginning immediately after the conclusion of the 2013 season in November. The stadium renovation will be fully complete by the beginning of the 2015 season. There will be three separate phases of construction. Per local media, KBTX, major milestones for the Kyle Field project are as follows, with construction sequenced and phased to allow the playing of regular home football games in the stadium for the 2013, 2014 and 2015 seasons.

  • Phase I (November 2013): Demolition of the first deck of the east side of the stadium, re-construction of the first deck, and construction of the south endzone, which will include seating, media interview areas, 12th Man Productions and related gameday support, a commissary and recruiting area.
  • Phase II (November 2014): Demolition of the entire west side of the stadium, complete construction of the south endzone, and re-construction of the west side.
  • Grand Opening (August 2015)

Other significant items included in the scope of work for the Kyle Field redevelopment include:

  • Demolition of the Read Building, G. Rollie White Coliseum and the Netum Steed strength and conditioning facility, all of which are adjacent to or part of Kyle Field;
  • Construction of a new strength and conditioning laboratory training area on the university’s west campus;
  • Lowering of the playing field by approximately 7 feet and relocation of the playing surface approximately 18 feet to the south.
  • Relocation of the existing south end zone scoreboard and video board reusing appropriate components to provide a scoreboard facility on the exterior of the north end zone structure. New interior scoreboard locations will be established in the south end zone and the northeast and northwest corners of the developed stadium.
  • Construction of widened tree-lined walkways along both side of Houston Street from George Bush Drive to the stadium east mall area.

rendering of Kyle Field at Night

Notable events[edit]

Red, White, and Blue Out following September 11 attacks

On November 26, 1999, just one week after the collapse of the Aggie Bonfire, the Aggies beat the fifth-ranked Texas Longhorns 20–16 in an emotional comeback game before a then-record crowd of 86,128.[20][21] Another notable event occurred on September 22, 2001, 11 days after the September 11, 2001 attacks and the first game for the Aggies after the attacks, where the students organized a "Red, White and Blue-Out". Students assigned each deck a different color (red on third deck, white on second deck, and blue on first deck) to wear for the game against Oklahoma State. Despite the short notice, attendees followed the instructions, resulting in a red, white, and blue stadium. More than $150,000 was raised in shirt sales, which was donated to FDNY charities.[22]

Texas A&M's last Big XII Conference football game and the last scheduled game against the University of Texas Longhorns occurred on November 24, 2011. The Aggies lost a hard-fought game 25–27 when Longhorn kicker Justin Tucker made a 40-yard field goal as time expired.

Texas A&M's first Southeastern Conference (SEC) football game occurred on September 8, 2012 against the University of Florida Gators. The Aggies played well in their first SEC game but ultimately lost 17–20 to Florida.

Intimidating venue[edit]

Kyle Field has at times been regarded as one of the most intimidating college football stadiums in the nation by various media outlets and sportswriters.[23][24][25] Contributing to its reputation in the 1990s, Texas A&M boasted one of the nation's best home records at 55–4–1, including 31 straight wins at Kyle Field from 1990 to 1995 and 22 straight from 1996 to 2000. From 2000 through 2013, however, the record of Texas A&M at Kyle Field is 62–32 (a winning percentage of 66%, down from 93.2% in the 1990s).[26] Through November 9, 2013, the overall Kyle Field record at the site of the playing field is 394–156–19 (71%) while the overall record since the stadium's construction in 1927 is 293–142–12 (67%).[27]

In 2005, the college recruiting ranking service Rivals ranked Texas A&M as having the seventh-best home field advantage in the nation with Kyle Field.[28] In 2002, ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit listed Kyle Field's atmosphere the best in the nation.[29] When he was broadcasting a 2010 game at Kyle Field, Herbstreit said that it was the best stadium and fans in the country. In addition, Texas A&M has been rated No. 17 in the nation by The Princeton Review in the category "Students Pack the Stadiums".[30]

Stadium features[edit]

Bernard C. Richardson Zone

Bernard C. Richardson Zone[edit]

The Bernard C. Richardson Zone, named for a 1941 petroleum engineering graduate and a Texas A&M Distinguished Alumnus, is located at the North end of Kyle Field, replacing the former single-deck horseshoe which connected the east and west wings of the stadium. This $32.9 million expansion added over 20,000 seats, and sits 65 feet (20 m) closer to the field than the previous seating. The Zone opened at full capacity during the 1999 grudge match against Texas, setting a then-state-record of 86,128 fans attending. For the next several years the Aggies saw consecutive record-breaking attendance figures for the season.[6][16]

The ground level of The Zone contains the Texas A&M Sports Museum, the nation's only all-sports museum funded primarily by former athletes (The Texas A&M Letterman's Association). The museum contains rotating exhibits focusing on various varsity sports at Texas A&M, while permanent exhibits trace the history of the school sports and some of the more treasured traditions.[31]

The Zone contains four levels of seating areas, with the first and fourth deck containing bench seating. One deck is comprised completely of luxury boxes, while the last deck is armchair seating. Known as The Zone Club, the 1900 open-air armchair seats are considered the premier seating area of Kyle field. The Zone Club sits underneath the fourth deck, meaning the inhabitants are protected from rain, wind, and the blazing Texas sun. The area boasts a full-service bar and concession areas, with a pre-game buffet offered for those with seats in the area. The Zone Club also has sixteen televisions stationed in various areas so that attendees can also keep an eye on other games being played around the country.[32]

Press box[edit]

Press box located on top of west deck

The Kyle Field press box has won numerous honors as one of the finest in the nation. It is located at the top of the west deck of the stadium, sitting over 120 feet (37 m) above the field. The pressbox has two tiers, accommodating over 250 members of the press, with print journalists stationed in the upper tier and radio and television journalists sitting in the lower tier.[6]

During the singing of the Aggie War Hymn, in which Aggie fans link arms and sway in unison throughout the stadium, the entire west upper deck (including the press box) actually sways, even though the press box is supported by three concrete pillars. This often startles journalists who haven't covered an Aggie home game before.[33][34] In 2003, the Press Box was declared a high-rise building, and Texas A&M was forced to renovate it to meet federal, state, and local regulations regarding fire safety and the Americans with Disabilities Act.[35]

12th Man TV[edit]

During the 2006 offseason, the older Jumbotron was removed and replaced by a 3,954-square-foot (367.3 m2) Mitsubishi Diamond Vision enhanced resolution LED videoboard in the north end zone, at the time the second largest in college athletics and one of the ten largest in the world. The Texas A&M Athletic Department has dubbed the new screen "12th Man TV", although some fans refer to it as the "Gigatron".[36] The 110-foot (34 m) tall structure contains 590,000 pixels on 154 video panels with a screen size of 74 by 54 ft (23 by 16 m). The athletic department also updated the media equipment to allow production and broadcast of enhanced definition video to the screen. This addition to Kyle Field was accompanied by LED ribbon boards installed along the facade of the second deck encircling the stadium. At 1,130 feet (340 m), it is the second longest ribbon board in collegiate sports and second worldwide only to Sun Life Stadium in Miami.[36] In conjunction with this project, additional upgrades included video board upgrades to Reed Arena and Olsen Field.

To be unveiled in September 2014, a LED videoboard that is 47 by 163 ft 7,661 square feet (711.7 m2) is installed at the south end zone, at the time the largest in college athletics.[37]

Reveille cemetery as seen from Kyle Field

Reveille[edit]

When the first Aggie mascot, Reveille, died, she was buried at the north end of Kyle Field so that the score of the Aggie football games was always visible from the site. Subsequent Reveilles were buried alongside her. Construction of the Bernard C. Richardson Zone disrupted the mascot graves, so the graves were temporarily moved across the street from the stadium. Following the completion of the addition, an improved graveyard was dedicated directly outside the Zone and a small electronic scoreboard was mounted on the Zone so that the score would remain visible.[38] Traditionally, when a current or former Reveille passed away, a military funeral was held at Kyle Field. Over 10,000 people attended the service for Reveille IV.[39] In 2013, Reveille VII, who was retired in May 2008, was instead given a toned down memorial service at Reed Arena, rather than a funeral service.[40][41][42] According to the Commandant of the Corps, as she is a dog, not a person, he did not believe a 21 gun salute or the playing of "Taps" was appropriate, although he had no involvement in the planning of the memorial service.[42] Some fans were displeased with the changes.[42] It was also announced that the bodies of the previous Reveilles will be exhumed as part of the Kyle Field renovations and relocated across the street, similar to what was done in the previous renovations.[42]

Other events held at Kyle Field[edit]

During summers, young athletes are invited to Kyle Field for football training camps. In the fall, the stadium plays host to various Texas high school football playoff games. The stadium is also home to the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets annual Parent's Weekend Review and Final Review.[17] It is also the venue for the "Cross-Town Showdown" high school football game between the Bryan Vikings and the A&M Consolidated Tigers, arguably the most popular game of the Vikings/Tigers football season. Traditionally the last game of each team's football schedule, beginning in the 2006 season, Texas A&M University requested that the game be held earlier in the year so not to interfere with Aggie games. Kyle Field also hosts the Texas A&M University football team for the Maroon & White practice scrimmage during Parent's Weekend each spring.

Top 10 Largest Crowds[edit]

Rank Date Attendance Opponent A&M's Result
1 November 20, 2010 90,079 #9 Nebraska W, 9–6
2 November 24, 2011 88,654 #25 Texas L, 25–27
3 November 9, 2013 88,504 Mississippi State W, 51–41
4 November 23, 2007 88,253 #11 Texas W, 38–30
5 September 14, 2013 87,596 #1 Alabama L, 42–49
6 November 23, 2001 87,555 #5 Texas L, 7–21
7 October 20, 2012 87,429 #6 LSU L, 19–24
8 October 15, 2011 87,361 #20 Baylor W, 55–28
9 September 24, 2011 87,358 #7 Oklahoma State L, 29–30
10 November 24, 2012 87,222 Missouri W, 59–29

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Reorientation and Expansion". Texas A&M University. Retrieved February 19, 2014. 
  2. ^ "First Unit Of Concrete Stadium Will Be Ready By Thanksgiving". The Bryan-College Station Eagle. June 25, 1927. Retrieved February 19, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Top officials reveal Kyle Field renovation progress". Retrieved July 6,2014. 
  4. ^ a b c "2012 Texas A&M Football Media Guide". Texas A&M Department of Athletics. Retrieved July 24, 2012. 
  5. ^ "A&M Boasts Trio of Talented Tailbacks". The Dallas Morning News. September 2, 2008. Retrieved September 2, 2008. 
  6. ^ a b c d e "Kyle Field". Texas A&M Department of Athletics. Retrieved September 27, 2012. 
  7. ^ Perry, George Sessions. The Story of Texas A. and M., p.127.
  8. ^ Perry, p.127
  9. ^ Dethloff, Henry C., A Centennial History of Texas A&M University, 1876-1976, p.505.
  10. ^ Minutes of the Board of Directors, November 10, 1904, I, 288.
  11. ^ Perry, p.128
  12. ^ Dethloff, A Centennial History of Texas A&M University, 1876-1976, p.506
  13. ^ Schultz, Charles R. "First Play-by-Play Radio Broadcast of a College Football Game". WTAW. Archived from the original on November 11, 2006. Retrieved May 8, 2007. 
  14. ^ Ousley, Clarence. History of the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas, p.84
  15. ^ a b Dethloff, A Centennial History of Texas A&M University, 1876-1976, p.524
  16. ^ a b "Images from Texas A&M". Texas A&M University. Archived from the original on March 3, 2007. Retrieved February 28, 2007. 
  17. ^ a b "Kyle Field's turf the "13th man"?". Sports Turf. 2004. Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved February 28, 2007. 
  18. ^ http://esbd.cpa.state.tx.us/docs/710/103364_1.pdf
  19. ^ "Ohio Stadium to expand to 104,829". ESPN.com. May 31, 2013. Retrieved May 13, 2014. 
  20. ^ "Lone Star Showdown: 112th UT vs A&M game Friday". News 8 Austin. November 23, 2005. Retrieved April 30, 2007. 
  21. ^ "Aggies Top No. 5 Longhorns Before Record Crowd, 20-16". Texas A&M University Athletic Department. November 26, 1999. Retrieved April 2, 2009. 
  22. ^ "A&M Opens Big 12 Play with 21-7 Win over OSU" (Press release). Texas A&M University Athletic Department. September 22, 2001. Retrieved May 3, 2008. 
  23. ^ McGee, Ryan. "SONIC YOUTH Every Fall Saturday, College Students Around the Country Make Their House a Living Hell for the Visitor". ESPN The Magazine. Retrieved February 19, 2014. 
  24. ^ Interdonato, Sal (September 27, 2008). "Knights brace for Kyle Field". Times Herald-Record. Retrieved February 19, 2014. 
  25. ^ Shinn, John (November 5, 2008). "Sooners Have Enjoyed Kyle Field". Norman Transcipt. Retrieved February 19, 2014. 
  26. ^ CFB Datawarehouse (compiled results)
  27. ^ "2012 Texas A&M Football Media Guide". Texas A&M Department of Athletics. Retrieved February 19, 2014. 
  28. ^ No Place Like Home
  29. ^ Herbstreit, Kirk (August 8, 2002). "The Best of the Best for 2002". ESPN. Retrieved February 19, 2014. 
  30. ^ "Students Pack the Stadiums: The New 2008 "Best 366 Colleges" Rankings". The Princeton Review. Archived from the original on October 22, 2007. Retrieved June 25, 2008. 
  31. ^ "Texas A&M Sports Museum". Texas A&M Department of Athletics. Archived from the original on February 16, 2007. Retrieved February 28, 2007. 
  32. ^ "The Zone Club". Twelfth Man Foundation. Archived from the original on May 4, 2007. Retrieved February 28, 2007. 
  33. ^ Drehs, Wayne (November 26, 2003). "Follow the yell Leaders!". ESPN. Retrieved February 28, 2007. 
  34. ^ Wood, Ryan (October 27, 2007). "A Moving Experience". Lawrence Journal-World. Retrieved November 6, 2007. 
  35. ^ Byrne, Bill (August 1, 2003). "Bill Byrne's Wednesday Weekly August Update". Texas A&M Department of Athletics. Archived from the original on January 20, 2005. Retrieved February 28, 2007. 
  36. ^ a b "Lights, Camera, Action: Introducing 12th Man TV". Official Website of Texas A&M Athletics. Archived from the original on September 18, 2006. Retrieved September 27, 2006. 
  37. ^ "Texas A&M’s Kyle Field will be home to largest video board in collegiate sports". Retrieved July 16, 2014. 
  38. ^ "Reveille, First Lady of A&M". RoadsideAmerica.com. Retrieved February 28, 2007. 
  39. ^ "Traditions 101". The Battalion. Texas A&M University. August 22, 2007. Retrieved February 28, 2007. 
  40. ^ Salazar, Andrea (September 7, 2013). "Aggie Family Says Goodbye to Reveille VII at Memorial Service". The Bryan-College Station Eagle. Retrieved February 19, 2014. 
  41. ^ Reed, Allen (September 3, 2013). "Aggies to Say Goodbye to Reveille VII at Friday Memorial". The Bryan-College Station Eagle. Retrieved February 19, 2014. 
  42. ^ a b c d Reed, Allen (August 28, 2013). "Reveille VII to Be Honored at More Modest Memorial Service". The Bryan-College Station Eagle. Retrieved February 19, 2014. 

External links[edit]