Neale Stadium

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Neale Stadium
Location S. Rayburn St.
Moscow, Idaho
Broke ground 1936 - October [1]
Opened 1937 - September [2][3]
Closed 1969 - summer [4]

Fire: south grandstand
November 23, 1969 [5]
Demolished 1970-71
Owner University of Idaho
Operator University of Idaho
Surface Natural grass
track - cinder
Construction cost $47,770 [6]
Capacity 16,000 (approx.)
Tenants
Idaho Vandals (1937-68) - NCAA

- conference affiliations -
Big Sky (1963-68)
Independent (1959-62)
Pacific Coast (1937-58)
Neale Stadium is located in United States
Neale Stadium
Neale Stadium
Location in the United States

Neale Stadium was an outdoor athletic stadium in Moscow, Idaho, on the west end of the campus of the University of Idaho. Opened in 1937[2] for college football (and track), it was used for over three decades, through the 1968 season. Its replacement, the Kibbie Dome, currently occupies the same site.

History[edit]

Neale Stadium was the home field for the Idaho Vandals of the Pacific Coast Conference (and later the Big Sky) from 1937-68, used for football and track and field. The stadium was named for Mervin G. Neale,[7] the university's president from 1930-37.[8] The Kibbie Dome currently occupies the site in the same east-west configuration, unorthodox for football.

Neale Stadium was an earthen horseshoe bowl, opening to the east toward campus. The wooden grandstands were along the sidelines only, with approximately 30 rows of bench seating. The unlit stadium included the quarter-mile (402 m) cinder running track, and the white wooden scoreboard was located at the west end, on the rim of the unseated bowl. (photo)

There were no locker room facilities at the venue, the teams dressed in the Memorial Gymnasium well to the east. (Locker rooms were finally installed in 1982, with the East End Addition to the Kibbie Dome.)[9] The press box was above the south sideline's grandstand and the elevation of the playing field was 2,610 feet (796 m) above sea level. Before Neale Stadium, football was played at MacLean Field,[10] the large athletic field between the Mem Gym and the Shattuck Arboretum, behind (west of) the Administration Building. It was named for James Alexander MacLean, the university president from 1900-13.[11] The baseball infield was originally in the southwest corner, with the football field set north-south, in the outfield. When Neale Stadium opened, the baseball infield was moved to the northeast corner of MacLean, on the site of the current College of Education building.[12] The primary spectator area was on the slope along the east sideline (later the third base line). (1921 photo - Idaho 6-0 over 9th Army Corps on 03-Dec)[13] - (campus photo - circa 1940)

Prior to 1914, the football stadium was off-campus at the north end of Moscow, at the southwest corner of Main and "E" Streets.[14][15][16][17]

Battle of the Palouse[edit]

An estimated crowd of 22,500 attended the 1947 Battle of the Palouse game with Washington State on October 4, won 7-0 by the Cougars.[12][18] At the time it was the largest-ever crowd on the Palouse and the state of Idaho.

Idaho's only victory over WSU at Neale Stadium came in 1964, before another overflow crowd of 18,600. The Vandals opened up a 21-0 lead in the third quarter with sophomore fullback "Thunder Ray" McDonald running the ball and won convincingly; a late Cougar touchdown made the final score 28-13.[19] After a 17-13 Idaho win in 1965 at Rogers Field in Pullman, a third straight win over the Cougars was nearly in hand at Neale in 1966 on a cold and sloppy afternoon, with Idaho playing ball control in the mudbath and up 7-0 in the fourth quarter. Two Vandal fumbles led to two quick Cougar touchdowns and a 14-7 WSU win before 16,500 spectators.[20][21][22][23] The 1966 game was the last UI-WSU contest in Neale Stadium and the last in the state of Idaho.[24] All 22 games with WSU since 1967 have been played in Washington, with 18 in Pullman, three in Spokane, and one in Seattle.

Condemned in 1969[edit]

The wooden grandstands of Neale Stadium were condemned for safety reasons during the summer of 1969, due to soil erosion underneath the grandstands.[4][5] Idaho used WSU's Rogers Field in nearby Pullman, Washington, for their limited home schedule in 1969 (three Palouse home games), and was planning to do the same in 1970, with four home games scheduled.

Idle for football for a year, a suspected arson early on Sunday, November 23, 1969, destroyed the central portion of the south grandstand and press box at Neale Stadium.[5][6] Less than five months later, a similar fire occurred at Rogers Field in April 1970. Also a suspected arson, it severely damaged the south grandstand and press box of Pullman's wooden venue. This reduction in capacity forced WSU to play all of its home schedule in 1970 (& 1971) at Joe Albi Stadium in Spokane, but Idaho continued to play its games at Rogers Field in 1970, using the north grandstand and temporary seating.[25] The two teams met in the so-called "Displaced Bowl" in Spokane on September 19, handily won by WSU.[26]

Idaho Stadium - 1971[edit]

In 1971, Rogers Field at WSU was demolished to construct Martin Stadium, which opened the following year. Weather delayed construction in the spring and Idaho's new stadium was a month behind schedule, which forced the Vandals to play their first two home games of the 1971 season away from the Palouse.[27] The first was the season-opener at the year-old Bronco Stadium in Boise in the first-ever meeting with Boise State College; the "visiting" Broncos pulled off the 42-14 upset before 16,123 on September 11 for an instant rivalry.[28] The second was at Joe Albi Stadium in Spokane on September 25, a 10-0 victory over Colorado State.[29] Vandal football finally returned to campus two weeks later, when the new concrete "Idaho Stadium" opened on October 9, built on the site of Neale Stadium.[30] With the first game on campus in nearly three years, the Vandals responded with a 40-3 victory over Idaho State.[31] The playing field was natural grass in 1971; synthetic Tartan Turf by 3M[32] was installed in 1972 and the stadium was fully enclosed in September 1975 to become the Kibbie Dome.

A new all-weather outdoor track and field venue was built west of the stadium; it held its first meet in April 1972.[33] [34] It was named for gold medalist decathlete Dan O'Brien following the 1996 Summer Olympics, and underwent a $2.5 million renovation in 2011-12.[35]

Noted Vandals[edit]

Among the Vandal greats who played at Neale Stadium were Jerry Kramer and Wayne Walker, both future NFL all-stars and selected early in the 1958 NFL Draft.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Spokesman-Review - Idaho stadium work moving at fast clip - 1936-10-22 - p.18
  2. ^ a b Lewiston Morning Tribune - New stadium to bring new athletic era for Vandals - 1937-04-23 - p.8
  3. ^ Spokane Daily Chronicle - O.S.C. favored in Idaho clash - 1937-09-24 - p.14
  4. ^ a b Spokane Chronicle - Idaho stadium unsafe for use - 1969-08-06 - p.41
  5. ^ a b c Lewiston Morning Tribune - Late night fire destroys portion of Neale Stadium on Idaho campus - 1969-11-24 - p.16
  6. ^ a b lib.uidaho.edu - campus buildings - N - accessed 2011-10-02
  7. ^ Gem of the Mountains - University of Idaho yearbook - 1933 - President M. G. Neale - p.21
  8. ^ Lewiston Morning Tribune - Neale contributed much to University of Idaho - 1963-06-29 - p.5
  9. ^ Lewiston Morning Tribune - Open house planned at dome addition - 1982-10-20 - p.7C
  10. ^ Lewiston Morning Tribune - Expect Sellout - 1936-10-07 - p.8
  11. ^ lib.uidaho.edu - campus buildings - M - accessed 2012-03-29
  12. ^ a b Spokesman-Review - Cougars claw Vandals 7-0 - 1947-10-05 - p.1-sports
  13. ^ college football data warehouse - Idaho opponents - 1920-24
  14. ^ Google Maps - Moscow, Idaho, USA - N. Main St. and "E" St. - accessed 2012-04-16
  15. ^ University of Idaho Library - digital collections - drawing by Augustus Koch - Bird's eye view of Moscow, 1897 - accessed 2012-04-16
  16. ^ University of Idaho Library - digital collections - WSC @ UI - 1905-11-10 - accessed 2012-04-16
  17. ^ University of Idaho Library - digital collections - WSC @ UI - 1913-10-17 - accessed 2012-04-16
  18. ^ Spokand Daily Chronicle - Grid fans pack Moscow stadium - 1947-10-04 - p.1
  19. ^ Spokesman-Review -'Thunder Ray' leads Idaho's charge - 1964-10-25 - p.1-sports
  20. ^ Spokesman-Review - Glen Shaw's sprint defeats Vandals - 1966-10-23 - p.1-sports
  21. ^ Lewiston Morning Tribune - photos - Mud replaces turf in football's annual Battle of Palouse in Moscow - 1966-10-23 - p.14
  22. ^ Spokane Daily Chronicle - photo - Kennedy en route to a TD - 1966-10-24 - p.18
  23. ^ Spokesman-Review - The factors: climate, breaks, bravery - 1966-10-24 - p.10
  24. ^ Spokane Daily Chronicle - Goodby to nothin' - 1966-10-24 - p.17
  25. ^ Spokane Daily Chronicle - Idaho selects Rogers for home grid frays - 1070-04-20 - p.16
  26. ^ http://washingtonstate.scout.com/2/243292.html
  27. ^ Lewiston Morning Tribune - Idaho officials told stadium will be ready - 1971-08-27 - p.17
  28. ^ Lewiston Morning Tribune - Broncos kick Vandals - 1971-09-12 - p.15
  29. ^ cfb data warehouse - Idaho results - 1970-74
  30. ^ Lewiston Morning Tribune - Under construction: architect's drawing - 1971-06-11 - p.18
  31. ^ Spokesamn-Review - Idaho likes home cookin' - 1971-10-10 - Sports p.2
  32. ^ Lewiston Morning Tribune - Boosters meet - 1972-11-11 - p.15
  33. ^ Lewiston Morning Tribune - Collie Mack leads Idaho cinder win on new track - 1972-04-23 - p.13
  34. ^ Spokesman Review - Idaho plans own field minus roof - 1970-04-23 - p.24
  35. ^ University of Idaho - facilities - projects - Dan O'Brien Track Complex renovation - accessed 2011-10-03

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 46°43′34″N 117°01′01″W / 46.726°N 117.017°W / 46.726; -117.017

  • [1] Construction weather delays