Joe Aillet Stadium
The press box and home stands at Joe Aillet Stadium
|Former names||Louisiana Tech Stadium (1968–1972)|
|Location||1450 West Alabama Avenue
Ruston, LA 71272
|Owner||Louisiana Tech University|
|Operator||Louisiana Tech University|
FieldTurf (Artificial turf) (2006–present)
|Opened||September 28, 1968|
|Louisiana Tech Bulldogs football (NCAA college football) 1968–present
Lady Techster soccer team (2004–2008)
Joe Aillet Stadium (formerly Louisiana Tech Stadium) is a college football stadium in Ruston, Louisiana and the home field of the Louisiana Tech University Bulldogs football team, which competes in Conference USA. The football stadium replaced the original Tech Stadium where the school's football program played its home games on campus until 1967.
Originally called Louisiana Tech Stadium, Joe Aillet Stadium opened in 1968 and was renamed for retired Louisiana Tech head football coach and athletic director Joe Aillet in 1972.
The stadium was built in 1968 with an original capacity of 23,318 as a replacement for the original "Tech Stadium" on the university's campus. The new football stadium was constructed on the northwest portion of the campus as part of a new athletic complex which included a 3,000-seat baseball stadium now known as J. C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park, 10 lighted tennis courts, and a track and field complex now known as the Jim Mize Track and Field Complex.
The new stadium, known as Tech Stadium or Louisiana Tech Stadium at the time, hosted its first Louisiana Tech home football game on September 28, 1968 when quarterback Terry Bradshaw led the Bulldogs to a 35-7 victory over the East Carolina University Pirates.
After four seasons as Tech Stadium, the stadium was renamed Joe Aillet Stadium prior to the 1972 season in honor of Joe Aillet, the longtime head football coach and athletic director of Louisiana Tech who died on December 28, 1971. On November 11, 1972, the official dedication ceremonies of the newly renamed Joe Aillet Stadium were held during a home football game between Tech and Eastern Michigan.
In an October 2004 rematch, the team achieved an upset victory by defeating the 17th-ranked Bulldogs.
- September 28, 1968: Louisiana Tech defeated East Carolina 35-7 in the first home football game inside the new Tech Stadium.
- December 1, 1973: Louisiana Tech defeated Western Illinois 18-13 in a Division II Quarterfinals game. Tech would go on to win the Division II National Championship in 1973.
- November 30, 1974: Louisiana Tech defeated Western Carolina 10-7 in a Division II Quarterfinals game.
- December 4, 1982: Louisiana Tech defeated South Carolina State 38-3 in a Division I-AA Quarterfinal playoff game.
- November 24, 1984: Louisiana Tech defeated Mississippi Valley State 66-19 in a Division I-AA 1st Round Playoff Game. Tech would eventually lose in the Division I-AA Championship game against Delaware later that year.
- September 12, 1987: Louisiana Tech lost to Northeast Louisiana University (now known as UL-Monroe) 44-7 in front of 24,975 people, the largest crowd for a Tech home football game in Joe Aillet Stadium at that point. The attendance record for this game would last for ten seasons.
- October 14, 1989: In their first home football game at The Joe as a Division I-A football program, Louisiana Tech defeated Northern Illinois 42-21.
- September 13, 1997: A crowd of 28,714 witnesses Louisiana Tech's 17-16 victory over Northeast Louisiana University. The crowd still remains the largest crowd to witness a Louisiana Tech home football game at Joe Aillet Stadium.
- September 16, 2000: In the first-ever overtime game in Joe Aillet Stadium, Louisiana Tech lost to Stephen F. Austin 34-31 in double overtime.
- December 5, 2002: Louisiana Tech lost to Fresno State 45-13 in the first nationally-televised home football game in the history of The Joe.
- October 2, 2004: Louisiana Tech upset #17 Fresno State 28-21 in the first home game at The Joe to feature a Top-25 ranked team.
- October 14, 2005: Tulane loses to UTEP 45-21 in a "home" game at The Joe. Tulane's football team was displaced after their home stadium, the Louisiana Superdome, was damaged by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005 and had to play all their football games on the road.
- September 8, 2007: Louisiana Tech lost to #20 Hawaii 45-44 in double overtime after failing to score on a two-point conversion in the second overtime. This Hawaii team would go on to a 12-1 overall record, WAC title, and a bid in the 2008 Sugar Bowl against Georgia.
- August 30, 2008: Louisiana Tech defeated Mississippi State 22-14. This was the first matchup between Tech and a school from a BCS conference at Joe Aillet Stadium.
- November 26, 2011: On a rainy night at The Joe, Louisiana Tech defeated conference foe New Mexico State 44-0. This win sealed an outright Western Athletic Conference Championship for Louisiana Tech, the second conference title in eleven seasons.
- November 3, 2012: #22 Louisiana Tech defeated UTSA 51-27 at The Joe in front of a crowd of 23,645. This marks the first home football game at The Joe in which Louisiana Tech was ranked in the Top 25.
- November 17, 2012: In the first home game at The Joe as a Top-20 college football program, #19 Louisiana Tech lost to Utah State 48-41 in overtime in front of 25,614. This crowd marks the third largest attendance in the history of The Joe.
Joe Aillet Stadium originally sat 23,000, but in 1985, the school added luxury boxes to the stadium's press box, and in 1989 the stadium's capacity was raised by 7,600 seats to its current capacity of 30,600.
The stadium's FieldTurf playing surface was installed in 2008.
The seating is made up of two large bowed grandstands on either side of the field, built into a natural bowl. The press box and skybox are on the west side. The facility also includes Spirit of '88, a bronze bulldog statue which commemorates the school's first season in Division I-A. During games, it is ceremonially guarded by the university's Air Force ROTC Valkyrie Honor Guard. A field house is located behind the south hill. There are scoreboards behind both end zone berms, and the stadium features eight banks of lights surrounding the field 150 feet (46 m) above the playing surface.
In 2009, Louisiana Tech announced plans to install a high definition video scoreboard on the north end of the stadium and a new sound system for the entire stadium. On September 19, 2009, the $2 million 25-by-45-foot scoreboard nicknamed "Dawgzilla" was unveiled during Louisiana Tech football's home season opener against Nicholls State. At the time of its debut, "Dawgzilla" was the largest scoreboard in the Western Athletic Conference.
In the fall of 2010, the university announced a $20 million fundraising campaign to build a 90,000-square-foot (8,400 m2) facility at the southern end of the facility. The stadium has already used some donations for a brick fence on the west side of the stadium, renovations to restrooms, new shrubs and plants in the stadium, and a tunnel leading from the player's locker rooms to the field.
The ground breaking ceremony for the South End Zone project was held during halftime of the 2014 Spring Game on April 12th, 2014. The construction of the new complex began on April 17th, 2014. The new athletic complex is expected to be constructed and operational by August of 2015.
The Louisiana Tech Lady Techster soccer team use Joe Aillet Stadium as its home facility since the program's inception in 2004. The first Lady Techster soccer game in the stadium was on August 28, 2005, a 2-0 win over the Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils. Tech soccer moved into the stadium beginning with the 2006 season, and has an overall record of 9-9-3 through the 2007 season in games played at the stadium. In 2009, the Lady Techsters soccer team moved to their new home field located across the street from the stadium.
- Louisiana Tech Football Magazine, page 5, 9-25-1971
- "Louisiana Tech Announces Historic Capital Campaign for Intercollegiate Athletics" (Press release). Louisiana Tech Athletics. Retrieved 2012-07-04.
- "Lady Techster Soccer Complex". Louisiana Tech Athletics. Retrieved 2012-07-04.