Houchens Industries–L. T. Smith Stadium

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Houchens Industries–LT Smith Stadium
"The Houch"
Outsidesmith.jpeg
Location Bowling Green, KY
Coordinates 36°59′5″N 86°27′34″W / 36.98472°N 86.45944°W / 36.98472; -86.45944Coordinates: 36°59′5″N 86°27′34″W / 36.98472°N 86.45944°W / 36.98472; -86.45944
Owner Western Kentucky University
Operator Western Kentucky University
Capacity 22,113[1]
Surface FieldTurf (2009-present)
Astroplay (2002–2008)
Grass (1968–2001)
Construction
Opened 1968
Renovated 2008
Construction cost USD $2.7 million
USD $50 million (renovation)
Architect Ryan Associated Architects
Heery International & Taylor-Whitney Architects (renovation)
Tenants
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (NCAA) (1968–present)

Houchens Industries–L. T. Smith Stadium at Jimmy Feix Field is a 22,000-seat multi-purpose stadium in Bowling Green, in the U.S. state of Kentucky. It is home to the Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers football team.

History[edit]

When the stadium was built in 1968 it seated 19,250 fans. The facility was expanded to a seating capacity of 22,000 in a project that was completed in 2008. This was planned to prepare for the Hilltoppers' move to the highest level of NCAA football competition, Division I FBS (formerly known as Division I-A), completed in 2009. However, the facility remains one of the smallest stadiums in the FBS.[2]

Renovations[edit]

A 1989 renovation reduced the seating capacity to 17,500 seats. Lights were installed in 1987 and an Astroplay playing surface was installed in 2002. On July 19, 2007, WKU reported that Houchens Industries, a long-time corporate supporter of WKU, made a $5 million commitment to an expansion and renovation project for the school's football stadium. In honor of the gift, WKU added Houchens Industries to the name of L. T. Smith Stadium. Today, the stadium is now titled as Houchens Industries–L. T. Smith Stadium.

Notable events[edit]

Smith Stadium has been the site of marching band competitions, high school football games, the university's graduation ceremonies and the Special Olympics. Starting in 2009, it became the site of Kentucky's high school football championship games, which had been previously held at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium in Louisville. Although the contract with the Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA) had been extended through 2018,[3] the KHSAA decided to move the championships away from WKU in 2017. One of the reasons cited was the Hilltoppers' recent football success, specifically their hosting of the 2015 and 2016 Conference USA championship games, which forced the rescheduling of several high school championship games on short notice. Accordingly, the 2017 and 2018 KHSAA championships were moved to the University of Kentucky's Kroger Field.[4]

Record crowds[edit]

Highest attendance at
Houchens Industries–L. T. Smith Stadium
Rank Attendance Opponent Date
1 23,674 Vanderbilt Sept. 24, 2016
2 23,252 Southern Miss Sept. 22, 2012
3 22,323 Louisiana–Monroe Oct. 20, 2012
4 22,297 Murray State Sept. 20, 2008
5 20,772 Indiana Sept. 18, 2010
6 20,568 South Florida Sept. 12, 2009
7 20,428 Eastern Kentucky Oct. 26, 1968
8 20,320 Miami (OH) Sept. 26, 2015
T9 20,100 Middle Tennessee State Nov. 8, 1980
T9 20,100 Morehead State Nov. 1, 1975
T10 20,000 Middle Tennessee State Nov. 13, 1976
T10 20,000 Dayton Nov. 12, 1974


Homecoming 2012:

L.T. Smith Stadium.jpg

Homecoming 2013:

Insidesmith.jpeg

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.wkusports.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=5400&ATCLID=3747385
  2. ^ L. T. Smith Stadium
  3. ^ "KHSAA Extends Football Championship Agreement With Russell Athletic, Western Kentucky University Through 2018" (Press release). Kentucky High School Athletic Association. November 18, 2014. Retrieved November 18, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Board of Control Addresses Championship Sites for Football, Girls' Basketball, Dance" (Press release). Kentucky High School Athletic Association. May 10, 2017. Retrieved May 10, 2017.