Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium
Halftime in October 2006
|Former names||Hughes Stadium (1968–2002)|
|Location||S. Overland Trail,
Fort Collins, Colorado 80526
|Owner||Colorado State University|
|Operator||Colorado State University|
|Record attendance||39,107 (vs. Utah, 1994)|
|Surface||FieldTurf - (2006-present)
natural grass - (1968-2005)
|Broke ground||May 1967|
|Opened||September 28, 1968|
|Colorado State Rams - (NCAA) - (1968-present)|
Hughes Stadium sits in a natural oval bowl, with seating on three sides and an open grass berm (not open for seating) behind the south endzone. The west (home side) stands are expanded out of the bowl and capped by a press box. The stadium is named for Harry W. Hughes, the head coach for 31 seasons (1911–41), then known as Colorado Agricultural.
The playing surface itself was named in 2003 in honor of then head coach Sonny Lubick. The winningest coach in school history, Lubick led the Rams for 15 seasons (1993-2007), winning six conference titles and nine bowl games.
The stadium has a seating capacity of 34,400 with club seats and 12 luxury suites, completed in 2005. The playing field, at an elevation of 5,190 feet (1,582 m) above sea level, was natural grass for the stadium's first 38 seasons; FieldTurf was installed in the summer of 2006.
The first game at Hughes Stadium was played on September 28, 1968, a 17-12 loss to North Texas State, led by Mean Joe Greene. From October 1989 to August 1991, the Rams won eight consecutive games at the stadium, a school record.
This college stadium is one of the few in the nation that serves beer to spectators of legal age during football games.
In 2013, the university began raising funds for a new 40,000-seat on-campus facility to replace Hughes Stadium. Somewhat paradoxically, the project was partially driven by major decreases in state funding for CSU in recent decades. As a result, CSU has been seeking to draw more out-of-state students, whose current tuition is three times that of Colorado residents. Current CSU president Tony Frank pitched the new stadium as part of this goal, believing that a winning football team would lead to more applications from out-of-state students. According to The Wall Street Journal,
Skeptics, including some alumni and faculty, see the project as a boondoggle—especially for a team that plays in a relatively low-profile athletic conference and doesn't sell out its current 32,500-seat stadium off campus. The debate has sparked dueling websites, animated letters to the editor and arguments about the role of sports at a university.
The new stadium, initially estimated to cost $246 million, was originally to be built only if $125 million in private funds had been raised by October 2014.
Colorado State's plans for an on-campus stadium had been put on hold after fundraising support for the $254 million project failed to materialize as expected, according to a September 26, 2014 story in the Denver Business Journal. On November 29, 2014, Frank sent a memo to the school's board of governors recommending that the new stadium be approved. The memo estimated that a 35,900-seat facility would cost $195 million; building with a capacity of 41,200 would cost $220 million. Frank also estimated that renovating Hughes Stadium to last an extra 30 to 40 years would cost a minimum of $149 million. The board of governors approved the new stadium on December 5. NBCSports.com writer Brent Sobleski speculated that the hiring of Rams head coach Jim McElwain for the head coaching vacancy at Florida days earlier may have swayed the board, noting, "An improving program and a new stadium could help lure another top-level candidate like the school previously did when McElwain was initially hired."
- Denver Post - Downsizing Hughes Stadium
- MacCambridge, Michael, ed. ESPN College Football Encyclopedia. New York: Hyperion, 2005, p. 238.
- College Football Data Warehouse - CSU coaching records - Retrieved September 6, 2009
- Topographic map & aerial photo. USGS The National Map. Retrieved September 6, 2009.
- CSU Rams.com - FieldTurf installation - June 26, 2006, Retrieved September 6, 2009
- Björner, Olof (2006). "Still On The Road: 1976 Rolling Thunder Revue II".
- James, Peter (June 2003). "Warehouse Eyes - Hard Rain". Retrieved February 19, 2007.
- Bachman, Rachel (September 27, 2013). "Colorado State University Bets on a Stadium to Fill Its Coffers". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved September 28, 2013.
- "Colorado State president recommends new on-campus stadium to replace existing football arena". The Republic (Columbus, Indiana). Associated Press. November 29, 2014. Retrieved December 6, 2014.
- Sobleski, Brent (December 5, 2014). "Board of Governors approve new on-campus stadium for Colorado State Rams". College Football Talk (NBCSports.com). Retrieved December 6, 2014.
- CSU Rams.com - Hughes Stadium
- Hughes Stadium page @ ballparks.com
- World Stadiums.com - photos - Hughes Stadium