Lane Stadium

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Lane Stadium
Home of Hokie Spirit,
The Terrordome (1999)
Vtmiami.jpg
Location 265 Spring Road
Blacksburg, VA 24060 USA
Coordinates 37°13′12″N 80°25′05″W / 37.22000°N 80.41806°W / 37.22000; -80.41806Coordinates: 37°13′12″N 80°25′05″W / 37.22000°N 80.41806°W / 37.22000; -80.41806
Owner Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Operator Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Capacity 65,632 (Total for Lane Stadium)[1]
1,200 (Club Seating)
240 (Luxury Seating – 15 Suites)
Surface GreenTech ITM Natural Grass
Construction
Broke ground April 1, 1964[2]
Opened September 24, 1965
Renovated 2006
Expanded 1980, 1999, 2000, 2004
Construction cost $3.5 million
($26.2 million in 2014 dollars[3])
Architect Carneal and Johnston[4]
Smithey and Boynton[4]
General contractor Dobyns, Inc.[4]
Tenants
Virginia Tech Hokies (NCAA) (1965–present)

Lane Stadium/Worsham Field is a stadium located in Blacksburg, in the U.S. state of Virginia. It is the home field of the Virginia Tech Hokies. It was rated the number one home field advantage in all of college football in 2005 by Rivals.com.[5] It is also ranked #2 on ESPN.com's "Top 10 Scariest Places To Play."[6]

From 1982 to 2014, Lane Stadium had the highest elevation of any Division I Football Bowl Subdivision school stadium in the eastern United States, at 2057 feet above sea level.[7] That distinction now belongs to Kidd Brewer Stadium, home to Appalachian State University, which sits at nearly 3,300 feet.

History[edit]

Beginning[edit]

In 1963, Stuart K. Cassell, namesake of Cassell Coliseum and a former school administrator, proposed building a larger stadium to replace Miles Stadium, a 17,000-seat stadium. Construction of Lane Stadium began on April 1, 1964.[2] It took a total of four years to complete construction. However, the first game in the new stadium was played in 1965, when VT beat William & Mary 9–7. At the game, only the west stands and center section of the east bleachers were completed. It wasn't until the summer of 1968 that construction was completed on Lane Stadium, with an official cost of $3.5 million. This brand new stadium seated 35,050 which featured a press box for guests, writers, stats crew-members, scouts, and coaches.

The stadium is named after Edward Hudson Lane, a graduate of Virginia Polytechnic Institute, the university's former name, and a 1960s member of the Board of Visitors. Lane founded the Lane Company Inc., of Altavista Virginia, known for their dominance of the cedar chest business, which was started in 1912 with the technical help of Lane's old shop class professor from Tech. In the 1960s, Lane headed an educational foundation project which raised over $3 million for the original construction, with his challenge gift of Lane Company stock comprising the lead gift. Like many stadiums built at the time, it consisted of two bowed sideline grandstands with free-standing bleachers behind the end zones; the stadium's original form was substantially similar to that of BB&T Field at Wake Forest and Memorial Stadium at Indiana University.

Expansion[edit]

Lane Stadium during a game (2006)
Lane Stadium (2011)

Lane Stadium remained mainly unchanged for 20 years, but in the 1980s the stadium started to expand and update technology. The year 1980 saw the expansion of the east stands to increase the capacity to 52,500. Two years later, the Stadium installed a brand-new lighting system that would help the team get its first nationally broadcast game on WTBS, a 21–14 win over state rival University of Virginia.

Before the 1989 season began, the stadium added 16 flags and got a new paint job, which included the maroon and orange stripes inside the stadium.

On September 5, 1992, Worsham Field was dedicated in honor of Wes and Janet Worsham, longtime Hokie supporters from Kilmarnock, Virginia. The Worshams pledged $1 million to the university's Second Century Campaign. The Campaign raised over $18.6 million – $1.7 million more than the original goal.

In the spring of 1994, renovations were completed on seven lower sections of the east stands. Renovations also included replacing concrete risers and the addition of wheelchair seating decreasing capacity to 50,000. Also, before the 1994 season, plaques bearing retired numbers of Tech heroes Bruce Smith, Carroll Dale, Jim Pyne, and Frank Loria were added to the wall in the north end zone. However, with the later addition of the north end zone seats, the four retired numbers now fly on flag poles above those stands.

Before the start of the 1998 season, the oldest bleachers were replaced with new locust wood and the stands were waterproofed. On the east side, the roof on the old visitors' locker room was replaced along with the bleachers above the dressing room.

Before the 1999 season, the university started work on the north end zone. The summer of 1999 saw the addition of roughly 2,100 seats to the north end zone increasing capacity to 53,130. In the summer of 2000, 3,000 more permanent bleacher seats were added to the north end zone increasing capacity to 56,272. That summer also saw the addition of a new scoreboard, known as Hokievision, installed behind the north end zone. The summer of 2001 saw the latest round of additions to north end zone bleachers — 600 seats for The Marching Virginians. This move brought the capacity down to 53,662.

Lane Stadium during the 2005 Spring Game

Prior to the 2002 season, the stadium saw 11,120 seats added in the south end zone to effectively enclose that end of the stadium increasing capacity to 65,115. The double-deck structure is similar to that of the Cleveland Browns' "Dawg Pound" section. It has bleacher, bench-back, and club seats. The structure is enclosed, but has gaps between the older structures and itself. This is the result of building codes and a desire to get fans even closer to the field.

Perhaps the biggest addition to Lane Stadium was completed prior to the 2006 season. After the 2004 season, the old press box was removed and construction began on this west-side expansion, filling in to match what was built up during the 2004 season. The new boxes include a new press area, on the side toward the south end zone, with a dining area and improved facilities. Also, the fencing that surrounds the stadium was removed, and the area on the west side exterior of the stadium landscaped with walkways and a weekday parking lot for ticket patrons and Hall of Fame and Hokie Club visitors. New luxury suites, President's area, four private club seating areas, concession stands, ticket office, athletic fund offices, an Athletics Hall of Fame, and student academic services area were also included in this latest project. A two tier grandstand featuring 11,000 seats, 15 luxury suites, and a new visitor’s locker room was completed. The $52.5 million expansion includes 23 luxury suites, a new press box, and club seating. The addition increased Lane Stadium's seating capacity to 66,233.

The 2005 season also saw a new addition to the playing field. Hokie Stone now adorns the walls of each end zone. New kicking nets have also been installed in both end zones. A new video screen — ⅓ larger — has replaced the old one. New lights that will double the amount of light and reduce shadows on the field were added as part of the renovation as well. The traditional "Home of the Fighting Gobblers" sign was also removed from the West Stands during this renovation (the sign is currently located above the HokieShop in the West Stands concourse). In an article in "The Roanoke Times" newspaper, it stated that Tech was not going to even think about renovating Lane Stadium again until about 2013, and it also stated that when Tech renovates Lane Stadium, the university will most likely tear down the student's section and replace it with new concrete bleachers and increase that area's capacity, and also add suites on top of it, and possibly connect the south side with the east and west sides.

Prior to the 2012 season, the West Side Outdoor Club seating area was completely renovated and new luxury chairback seats were installed. The entire seating structure is was reconfigured which decreased the number of seating rows, subsequently allowing for more legroom from row to row, and decreased the seating capacity to 65,632.[8]

In time for the start of the 2013 season, a new "Hokie Vision" scoreboard was put in place. This board is completely LED and the screen itself would completely contain the size of the old scoreboard. There are four pylons holding up the board: the smaller, center two were used as the pylons for the old board and the outer two (both larger) are used in addition to the original pylons to hold up the new board. This new scoreboard ranks third largest college football scoreboard.[9]

Panorama of Lane Stadium during the "white out" Virginia Tech vs. Austin Peay football game, September 8, 2012.

Lane Stadium milestones[edit]

Milestone Date Opponent Score
First Game/First Win October 2, 1965 William & Mary W 9–7
First Television Game (ABC) October 29, 1966 Florida State W 23–21
25th Win October 11, 1975 Florida State W 13–10
50th Win October 3, 1981 Memphis State W 17–13
First CBS Game September 18, 1982 Miami (FL) L 8–14
First Night Game November 25, 1982 Virginia W 21–14
First TBS Game November 25, 1982 Virginia W 21–14
First Game Under Coach Beamer September 12, 1987 Clemson L 10–22
First Win Under Coach Beamer October 3, 1987 Navy W 31–11
75th Win October 3, 1987 Navy W 31–11
First ESPN Game November 24, 1990 Virginia W 38–13
First BIG EAST Game September 26, 1992 West Virginia L 7–16
First BIG EAST Win October 16, 1993 Temple W 55–7
100th Win September 22, 1994 West Virginia W 34–6
First Thursday Night Game September 22, 1994 West Virginia W 34–6
Program's 1,000th Game September 4, 1999 James Madison W 47–0
125th Win September 23, 1999 Clemson W 31–11
First ESPN College GameDay Appearance October 16, 1999 Syracuse W 62–0
Second ESPN College GameDay Appearance November 13, 1999 Miami (FL) W 43–10
Third ESPN College GameDay / Lee Corso's rental car lightning strike[10] August 30, 2000 Georgia Tech Canceled
Frank Beamer's 100th Win at Tech September 1, 2001 Connecticut W 52–10
Virginia Tech's 600th win overall September 6, 2003 James Madison W 43–0
150th Win November 1, 2003 Miami (FL) W 31–7
First ACC Game and Win September 18, 2004 Duke W 41–17
Fourth ESPN College GameDay Appearance September 24, 2005 Georgia Tech W 51–7
Fifth ESPN College GameDay Appearance November 5, 2005 Miami (FL) L 7–27
Sixth ESPN College GameDay Appearance September 1, 2007 East Carolina W 17–7
Frank Beamer's 200th overall win September 15, 2007 Ohio W 28–7
Frank Beamer's First win vs. Bobby Bowden and the Florida State Seminoles November 10, 2007 Florida State W 40–21
First overtime game September 3, 2012 Georgia Tech W 20–17

Traditions[edit]

Skipper in the south endzone during pregame
Marching Virginians tuba section performs the Hokie Pokie in the north endzone
the Hokie Bird bench presses a Virginia Tech score
Virginia Tech students in the North End-Zone’s student section dressed in orange for the 2005 Orange Effect game against Georgia Tech
  • The Highty Tighties, Virginia Tech’s Regimental Band, leads the football team to the stadium during the pre-game walk.
  • Virginia Tech’s Corps of Cadets march into Lane Stadium and stand in formation on the field during the National Anthem and Rendering of Colors.
  • Cadets fire Skipper, the world’s largest game cannon after the anthem and after every score. VT was left without any game cannons after donating them for scrap during WWII. Skipper was built in secret in the early 1960s to silence VMI’s “Where’s your cannon” chant. During the pre-game ceremonies, Skipper is fired by cadets on the football field itself. During the game the cannon is fired from the practice field behind Lane Stadium. Planning and construction was conducted by a group of cadets led by Homer Hickam, author of Rocket Boys, which was adapted into the film October Sky. Skipper was named to honor John F. Kennedy who skippered a PT boat in WWII.[11]
  • The cheerleaders start a back and forth call of "Let's Go" and "Hokies" with the east and west stands before the game.
  • Metallica's "Enter Sandman" is played before the football team enters the stadium, and VT’s civilian marching band, the Marching Virginians leads the crowd in the "Blacksburg Bounce." On October 29, 2009 Virginia Tech senior punter Brett Bowden performed his own version of "Enter Sandman" for Virginia Tech's Thursday Night Primetime match-up between the Hokies and the North Carolina Tar Heels.
  • The Hokies run out of a tunnel, reaching up to slap a slab of Hokie Stone on the way out and then run between two phalanxes consisting of the Highty Tighties and freshman cadets. On "Senior Day," the last home game of the season, senior cadets take the place of freshmen.
  • A turkey gobble is periodically played over the PA system to rile up the crowd. This gobble is done in memory of Floyde “Hard Times” Meade, a local boy who was adopted by the corps and became the school’s first mascot in the late 19th century. He later brought trained turkeys to games to walk the sidelines during games and gobble on command.
  • Freshman VTCC cadets do push-ups on the shoulders of their classmates equal to the point total after each score. In similar fashion, the Hokie Bird does a bench press for every point the team scores. Additionally, non-cadet students will often pick up (usually female) students and throw them in the air for every point scored.
  • Between the 3rd and 4th quarters, the tuba section of The Marching Virginians lines up to play and dance the Hokie Pokie. Band members will invite tuba players from the Highty Tighties and the visiting band to join them.
  • Since 2002, the students have designated one "Orange Effect" game where all fans are asked to wear orange. The Orange Effect game is always played against a team that does not use orange as a team color (for example, opponents such as Syracuse, Miami, UVA, or Clemson would never be designated as Orange Effect games).
  • In 2005, a "Maroon Effect" game was added. The Maroon Effect game is always played against a team that does not use maroon/crimson as a team color (the maroon effect would not be used against Boston College or Florida State). Though not permanently added to the schedule until 2005, the first Maroon Effect game was actually in 2002 against the University of Virginia.
  • The Highty-Tighties perform the pre-game field show while the Marching Virginians perform the half-time field show at every game, once a season (twice, in 2005 and 2006, when Virginia Tech is featured by ESPN's Thursday Night College GameDay), the two bands switch.
  • Once a year, the Marching Virginians perform their Pre-Game Show, which begins with the band forming the shape of the Commonwealth of Virginia and features the MV's forming several recognizable shapes such as spelling out "VT," "HOKIES," and "TECH."
  • When the opponent team has the ball on a third-down play, Tech fans take out and shake their keys to signify a "key play", as well as to distract the opponent's offense. This started in the late 1980s.
  • Now banned, the band at one time played a song to rally the team when in the red zone. The first part consists of a tune that fans dance to and say "the hole" periodically 6 times. Next, everyone yells "STICK IT IN! STICK IT IN! STICK IT IN!" This tradition lives on in T-shirts and sweatshirts.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Lane Stadium/Worsham Field". Virginia Tech Athletics. Retrieved August 31, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "History". Virginia Tech Athletics. 2000. p. 233. Retrieved November 8, 2013. 
  3. ^ Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c "VPI's Ultra–Modern Stadium". Journal of the Prestressed Concrete Institute 14 (1–2): 2. 1969. Retrieved November 1, 2011. 
  5. ^ Lavender, David (August 21, 2005). "No Place Like Home". Rivals.com. Retrieved January 30, 2008. 
  6. ^ Feldman, Bruce (October 1, 2007). "Death Valley Tops List of Scary Venues for Opposing Teams". ESPN. Retrieved January 30, 2008. 
  7. ^ "NCAA Division 1-A universities with football stadiums that are highest in elevation". Sporcle. December 8, 2010. 
  8. ^ "Virginia Tech Football Club Seats Still Available". Virginia Tech Athletics. June 27, 2012. Retrieved November 6, 2013. 
  9. ^ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_college_football_stadium_video_boards
  10. ^ Associated Press (August 28, 2000). "Lightning Strikes Corso's Rental Car". ESPN. Retrieved March 10, 2009. 
  11. ^ Hoffman, Tiffany (November 21, 2003). "Skipper Cannon Named for Kennedy, Cadets". Collegiate Times (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University). Retrieved September 20, 2009. 

External links[edit]