Martin Stadium

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Martin Stadium
Martin Stadium in August 2012, from NE corner
Former names Rogers Field (1902–1970)
Soldier Field (1892–1902)
Location Washington State University
720 NE Stadium Way
Pullman, Washington 99164
 United States
Coordinates 46°43′55″N 117°09′36″W / 46.732°N 117.160°W / 46.732; -117.160Coordinates: 46°43′55″N 117°09′36″W / 46.732°N 117.160°W / 46.732; -117.160
Owner Washington State University
Operator Washington State University
Capacity 32,952 (2014–present)[1]
32,740 (2013)[2]
33,522 (2012)[3]
32,248 (2011)[4]
35,117 (2003–2010)
37,600 (1979–2002)
26,500 (1972–1978)
Surface FieldTurf: (2000–present)
Omniturf: (1990–1999)
SuperTurf: (1979–1989)
AstroTurf: (1972–1978)
Broke ground January 1, 1972 (1972-01-01)[5]
Opened September 30, 1972 (1972-09-30)
Renovated 1979, 2006, 2012
Expanded 1979: track removed
2012: premium seating
Construction cost $1 million
($5.64 million in 2014 dollars[6])

$150 million (renovation)
Architect Naramore Bain Brady & Johanson[7]
General contractor Halvorson–Berg[8]
Washington State Cougars (1972–present)
(Pac-12, NCAA)
Idaho Vandals - (1999–2001) NCAA

Martin Stadium is an outdoor athletic stadium in Pullman, Washington, United States, on the campus of Washington State University. It is the home field of the Washington State Cougars of the Pacific-12 Conference, and is the smallest football stadium in the conference. The FieldTurf playing field runs an unorthodox east-west, at an elevation of 2,520 feet (770 m) above sea level.[9]


The stadium is named after Clarence D. Martin (1886–1955), the governor of the state of Washington (1933–41), and a former mayor of Cheney, and ironically, a graduate of the University of Washington. His son, Dan (Clarence D. Martin, Jr., 1916–1976),[10] made a $250,000 donation to the project in January 1972.[11][12]

Martin Stadium opened on September 30, 1972, with a disappointing 19-point loss to Utah, then a member of the WAC,[13] with 20,600 in attendance.[14] Two and a half years had passed since its predecessor, the wooden Rogers Field, was significantly damaged by fire, a suspected case of arson.[15] The WSU Cougars played all of their home games at Joe Albi Stadium in Spokane in 1970 and 1971.

As of 2006, the stadium has a seating capacity of 35,117. Since the renovation of Reser Stadium at Oregon State and the addition of Utah's Rice-Eccles Stadium to the Conference, Martin Stadium has fallen to last in seating capacity among Pac-12 football stadiums. The current attendance record was set during the championship year of 1997, when WSU beat Stanford in front of 40,306 fans on November 15. (The '97 Cougar team won the Apple Cup in Seattle the following week to win the Pac-10, and played in the Rose Bowl for the first time in 67 years.) Despite the relatively small size of Martin Stadium, it has one of the highest ratios of seating capacity to population base; almost 1.6 seats per every citizen in the city of Pullman, and a seat for everyone in Whitman County.

1979 Expansion[edit]

Martin Stadium was the first college football stadium to expand by removing its 440-yard (402 m) running track and lowering the playing field, in this case by 16 feet (5 m). This modification in 1979 added over 12,000 new seats, most of which were closer to the field (and the opponent's bench).[16] The first game following the renovation was played in October 1979, a victory over the UCLA Bruins. Following a 10-3 season and an undefeated home campaign in 2003, Martin Stadium was ranked by Sports Illustrated as one of the toughest stadiums for visiting teams in college football.[citation needed]

2011-2014 Renovations[edit]

The recent renovation of Martin Stadium consists of three separate projects.

The first project, called the Southside Project, is an $80 million project that replaced the old press box on the south stands with a new structure that includes a new press box, club seats, loge boxes, luxury suites and a club room. Approximately 1,900 new seats were added to Martin Stadium in the premium seating area. The expansion also added 21 luxury suites (four, 24-person; nine, 18-person; and eight, 12-person), 42 loge boxes (27, four-person and 15, six-person) and approximately 1,300 club seats (1,200 outdoor and 100 indoor). The old press box did not have the amenities necessary for "first class" game productions with respect to national television and radio broadcasts as provided for in the new PAC-12 television and media contract. The Southside Project began demolition and construction in November 2011 and was completed by the first game of the 2012 season.

The second project, called the West End-Zone Project, a $61 million project that will provide a new football operations center for the Cougar football program, including new weight/locker rooms, equipment and training areas for players. In addition to meeting rooms and coaches’ offices it will also feature a WSU Football heritage area and a game-day home for Gray W former letter winners. The West End-Zone project was approved in November 2012, and construction began on November 26, 2012. This project is projected to be completed by the 2014-2015 football season.

The third project involved the installation of a new video display which is 73 feet wide and 36 feet high and features the latest light emitting diode (LED) video technology. The video board is 112% larger than the previous board while producing a wider, more consistent viewing angle. The video display is more than double the size of the previous display with four times the resolution. It is one of the few High Definition Video Displays in college football as it's 840 x 1708 resolution exceeds the high definition standard. The project also included the installation of an LED Ribbon Board that measures four feet tall by 347 feet wide and runs along the length of the premium seating side of Martin Stadium. Both the video and ribbon boards display game statistics and information, out of town scores, along with graphics, animations, crowd prompts and opportunities for partner-related elements.

The new custom audio system, which is integrated with the video and scoring system, is engineered to provide full-range sound reproduction and deliver clear and intelligible speech at Martin Stadium.

Playing surface[edit]

The current playing surface is Revolution Fiber by FieldTurf. Newly installed in the summer of 2014 as part of the budget inclusion for the $61 million Football Operations Building, Rev Fiber is at the time of installation, the latest and most realistic grass-like surface available. When installed, only the Seattle Seahawks, New England Patriots, Ohio State Buckeyes and Notre Dame Fighting Irish play on this surface. Rev Turf has received a FIFA 2-star rating.

The previous turf was FieldTurf, first installed in 2000 and replaced in 2006,[17] it was preceded by the sand-filled Omniturf, installed in 1990.[18] The original playing surface at Martin Stadium in 1972 was AstroTurf, replaced by SuperTurf in 1979.[19][20] The playing surface at Rogers Field was natural grass.


Martin Stadium is one of only three in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) which uses goalposts with two posts for all of its home games. The others are Doak Campbell Stadium at Florida State and Tiger Stadium at LSU. For a period of the 1980s and 1990s, the NCAA banned the use of "offset" goalposts, but allowed them again in 1994.

Apple Cup[edit]

Modern-day Rogers Field[21] in 2008, directly west of Martin Stadium
Martin Stadium in 2008, between the 2006 and 2012 renovations.
WSU defeats winless UW 16-13 in double overtime at the 2008 Apple Cup. The score is shown on the new scoreboard behind the west end zone, part of phase II upgrades.
The 11-foot-tall bronze "Cougar Pride" statue in front of the WSU ticket office in 2008, at the renovated NE plaza of the stadium.

Washington State hosts the Apple Cup in even-numbered years. Except for 1954, the Apple Cup was played at Joe Albi Stadium in Spokane from 1950–80, rather than in Pullman. The Cougars went 3-12 in these fifteen Spokane Apple Cups (winning in 1958, 1968, and 1972), while winning the previous games played at Rogers Field in Pullman (1948, 1954).

Since 1982, a Cougar victory, the rivalry game with UW has been played at Martin Stadium, with the Cougars winning seven of the sixteen Pullman games.

Sharing with a rival[edit]

For two and a half seasons, 1999-2001, the Idaho Vandals of nearby Moscow borrowed Martin Stadium to use as its home field, as Idaho transitioned from Division I-AA back up to I-A. At the time, the Vandals' Kibbie Dome was too small to support the NCAA's attendance requirements for Division I-A. The attendance criteria was changed and Idaho is now a football-only member of the SBC in Division I FBS, and uses its own facility.

Washington State and Idaho renewed their dormant football rivalry in 1998, and matched up annually in the Battle of the Palouse for a decade. The game was played at Martin Stadium in September, although the 2003 game was curiously played far from the Palouse, 300 miles (480 km) west at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.[22] After a ten year renewal, new Vandal head coach Robb Akey, a former WSU defensive coordinator, stated that he preferred the game not be played every year.[23] The regular series ceased once again in 2007. The Cougars and Vandals met most recently on September 21, 2013, with Washington State winning 42-0.

Fire at Rogers Field[edit]

At 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 4, 1970 (the first day of spring break), residents heard what they described as a gunshot at the football stadium. By 2:00 a.m., the south grandstand and press box of the 1930s wooden venue had burned to the ground, witnessed by a thousand residents and firefighters.[15] The exact cause, or offender, was never found, though there were several suspects.

The Cougars played their entire home schedule for the 1970 and 1971 football seasons at Joe Albi Stadium in Spokane. The fire also displaced the Idaho Vandals, whose wooden Neale Stadium was condemned before the 1969 season (and set afire by arson that November). The Vandals had used WSU's Rogers Field for its three Palouse home games in 1969 and were planning to use it again in for four home games in 1970. Without another suitable stadium in the Moscow-Pullman vicinity, Idaho played its 1970 home schedule at the reduced capacity Rogers Field, returning to its Moscow campus in October 1971. The 1970 WSU-Idaho game in Spokane on September 19 was dubbed "The Displaced Bowl," and was easily won by the Cougars, 44-16, their only victory of the season.[24][25]

The name "Rogers Field" continues on campus, transferred to areas used for intramural sports and football practices, west of the stadium.[21]


The public address announcer at Martin Stadium is WSU professor Glenn Johnson, who is also the mayor of Pullman. Johnson is known for his first-down call of "...and that's ANOTHER...", to which the crowd responds by chanting "...COUGAR FIRST DOWN!" in unison along with Johnson. The catchphrase has also inspired a dedicated website that is currently managed by Washington State University.


  1. ^ "2014 Washington State Football Media Guide". Washington State Athletics. Retrieved August 25, 2014. 
  2. ^ "2013 Gameday at Washington State". Washington State Athletics. Retrieved August 22, 2013. 
  3. ^ Stalwick, Howie (August 14, 2012). "Stadium a Little Bigger, Way Better for Cougars". The News Tribune (Tacoma). Retrieved September 8, 2012. 
  4. ^ Washington State Weekly Release - Game 9 at California
  5. ^ "Stadium Nearer to Reality". The Cheney Free Press. December 9, 1971. p. 11. Retrieved August 22, 2013. 
  6. ^ Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  7. ^ Capital Planning and Development Reports
  8. ^ "Phase Nears End on Stadium Work". The Spokesman-Review. February 29, 1972. p. A3. Retrieved August 22, 2013. 
  9. ^ Topographic map and aerial photo from USGS via Microsoft Research Maps
  10. ^ "Guide to the Clarence Daniel Martin, Jr. Papers 1916-1976 Cage 449". Washington State University Libraries. Retrieved February 17, 2013. 
  11. ^ Missildine, Harry (January 22, 1972). "It'll be 'Martin Stadium'". Spokesman-Review. p. 10. 
  12. ^ Bond, Rowland (January 21, 1972). "$250,000 Given WSU". Spokane Daily Chronicle. p. 1. Retrieved August 22, 2013. 
  13. ^ - WSU results - 1970-74
  14. ^ Missildine, Harry (October 1, 1972). "Utah Beats Cougars 44-25". The Spokesman-Review (Spokane). p. 1 Sports. Retrieved June 25, 2012. 
  15. ^ a b "Fast Blaze Ruins Pullman Stadium". The Spokesman-Review (Spokane). April 6, 1970. p. 1 sports. Retrieved June 25, 2012. 
  16. ^ "Construction to Start". The Spokesman-Review. December 21, 1978. p. 27. 
  17. ^ Frank, Robert (June 2, 2006). "Returfing Martin Stadium". WSU Today. Retrieved June 25, 2012. 
  18. ^ Miedema, Laurence (June 14, 1990). "Sewing the seeds for greener pastures". Lewiston Morning Tribune. p. 1B. 
  19. ^ Martin Stadium at
  20. ^ "New Martin Stadium". Spokane Daily Chronicle. September 7, 1979. p. 1. Retrieved August 22, 2013. 
  21. ^ a b McCartan, Richard (January 20, 2002). "Remembering Rogers Field". Retrieved October 23, 2011. 
  22. ^ WSU vs. Idaho Records
  23. ^ Smith, Craig (December 21, 2006). "Akey Talks of Commitment at Idaho". The Seattle Times. Retrieved October 23, 2011. 
  24. ^ WSU results - 1970-74
  25. ^ Fry, Richard B. (March 17, 2004). "The Smilin' Irishman". Retrieved October 23, 2011. 

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