Lane Stadium

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Lane Stadium/Worsham Field
Home of Hokie Spirit,
The Terrordome (1999)
Lane Stadium southwest corner from Beamer Way.jpg
Location 285 Beamer Way
Blacksburg, VA 24060 USA
Coordinates 37°13′12″N 80°25′05″W / 37.22000°N 80.41806°W / 37.22000; -80.41806Coordinates: 37°13′12″N 80°25′05″W / 37.22000°N 80.41806°W / 37.22000; -80.41806
Owner Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Operator Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Capacity 66,233 (Total for Lane Stadium)[1]
1,200 (Club Seating)
240 (Luxury Seating – 15 Suites)
Surface GreenTech ITM Natural Grass (Vamont Bermuda)
Construction
Broke ground April 1, 1964[2]
Opened September 24, 1965
Renovated 1989, 1994, 1998, 2006, 2012, 2013
Expanded 1980, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2004
Construction cost $3.5 million
($26.3 million in 2016 dollars[3])
Architect Carneal and Johnston[4]
Smithey and Boynton[4]
General contractor Dobyns, Inc.[4]
Tenants
Virginia Tech Hokies (NCAA) (1965–present)

Lane Stadium/Worsham Field is a stadium located in Blacksburg, in the U.S. state of Virginia. It is the home field of the Virginia Tech Hokies. It was rated the number one home field advantage in all of college football in 2005 by Rivals.com.[5] It is also ranked #2 on ESPN.com's "Top 10 Scariest Places To Play."[6]

From 1982 to 2014, Lane Stadium had the highest elevation of any Division I Football Bowl Subdivision school stadium in the eastern United States, at 2,057 feet above sea level.[7] That distinction now belongs to Kidd Brewer Stadium, home to Appalachian State University, which sits at 3,333 feet above sea level.

History[edit]

Beginning[edit]

In 1963, school administrator Stuart K. Cassell, namesake of Cassell Coliseum, proposed building a larger stadium to replace the 17,000-seat Miles Stadium. Construction of Lane Stadium began on April 1, 1964.[2] It took a total of four years to complete construction. However, the first game in the new stadium was played in 1965, when VT beat William & Mary 9–7. At the game, only the west stands and center section of the east bleachers were completed. It wasn't until the summer of 1968 that construction was completed on Lane Stadium, with an official cost of $3.5 million. This brand new stadium seated 35,050 which featured a press box for guests, writers, stats crew-members, scouts, and coaches.

The stadium is named after Edward Hudson Lane, a graduate of Virginia Polytechnic Institute, the university's former name, and a 1960s member of the Board of Visitors. Lane founded the Lane Company Inc., of Altavista, Virginia, known for their dominance of the cedar chest business, a business started in 1912 with the technical help of Lane's old shop class professor from Tech. In the 1960s, Lane headed an educational foundation project which raised over $3 million for the original construction, with his challenge gift of Lane Company stock comprising the lead gift. Like many stadiums built at the time, it consisted of two bowed sideline grandstands with free-standing bleachers behind the end zones. The stadium's original form was substantially similar to that of BB&T Field at Wake Forest and Memorial Stadium at Indiana University.

Expansion[edit]

Lane Stadium during a game (2006)
Lane Stadium (2011)

Lane Stadium remained mainly unchanged for 20 years, but in the 1980s the stadium started to expand and update technology. The year 1980 saw the expansion of the east stands to increase the capacity to 52,500. Two years later, the Stadium installed a brand-new lighting system that would help the team get its first nationally broadcast game on WTBS, a 21–14 win over state rival University of Virginia.

Before the 1989 season began, the stadium added 16 flags and received a new paint job, including the maroon and orange stripes still inside the stadium.

On September 5, 1992, Worsham Field was dedicated in honor of Wes and Janet Worsham, longtime Hokie supporters from Kilmarnock, Virginia. The Worshams pledged $1 million to the university's Second Century Campaign. The Campaign raised over $18.6 million, $1.7 million more than the original goal.

In the spring of 1994, renovations were completed on seven lower sections of the east stands. Renovations also included replacing concrete risers and the addition of wheelchair seating decreasing capacity to 50,000. Also, before the 1994 season, plaques bearing retired numbers of Tech heroes Bruce Smith, Carroll Dale, Jim Pyne, and Frank Loria were added to the wall in the north end zone. However, with the later addition of the north end zone seats, the four retired numbers now fly on flag poles above those stands.

Before the start of the 1998 season, the oldest bleachers were replaced with new locust wood and the stands were waterproofed. On the east side, the roof on the old visitors' locker room was replaced along with the bleachers above the dressing room.

Before the 1999 season, the university started work on the north end zone. The summer of 1999 saw the addition of roughly 2,100 seats to the north end zone increasing capacity to 53,130. In the summer of 2000, 3,000 more permanent bleacher seats were added to the north end zone increasing capacity to 56,272. That summer also saw the addition of a new scoreboard, known as Hokievision, installed behind the north end zone. The summer of 2001 saw the latest round of additions to north end zone bleachers — 600 seats for The Marching Virginians. This move brought the capacity down to 53,662.

Prior to the 2002 season, the stadium saw 11,120 seats added in the south end zone to effectively enclose that end of the stadium increasing capacity to 65,115. The double-deck structure is similar to that of the Cleveland Browns' "Dawg Pound" section. It has bleacher, bench-back, and club seats. The structure is enclosed, but has gaps between the older structures and itself. This is the result of building codes and a desire to get fans even closer to the field.

Lane Stadium during the 2005 Spring Game

Perhaps the biggest addition to Lane Stadium was completed prior to the 2006 season. After the 2004 season, the old press box was removed and construction began on this west-side expansion, filling in to match what was built up during the 2004 season. The new boxes include a new press area, on the side toward the south end zone, with a dining area and improved facilities. Also, the fencing that surrounds the stadium was removed, and the area on the west side exterior of the stadium landscaped with walkways and a weekday parking lot for ticket patrons and Hall of Fame and Hokie Club visitors. New luxury suites, President's area, four private club seating areas, concession stands, ticket office, athletic fund offices, an Athletics Hall of Fame, and student academic services area were also included in this latest project. A two tier grandstand featuring 11,000 seats, 15 luxury suites, and a new visitor's locker room was completed. The $52.5 million expansion includes 23 luxury suites, a new press box, and club seating. The addition increased Lane Stadium's seating capacity to 66,233.

The 2005 season also saw a new addition to the playing field. Hokie Stone now adorns the walls of each end zone. New kicking nets have also been installed in both end zones. A new video screen — ⅓ larger — has replaced the old one. New lights that will double the amount of light and reduce shadows on the field were added as part of the renovation as well. The traditional "Home of the Fighting Gobblers" sign was also removed from the West Stands during this renovation (the sign is currently located above the HokieShop in the West Stands concourse). In an article in "The Roanoke Times" newspaper, it stated that Tech was not going to even think about renovating Lane Stadium again until about 2013, and it also stated that when Tech renovates Lane Stadium, the university will most likely tear down the student's section and replace it with new concrete bleachers and increase that area's capacity, and also add suites on top of it, and possibly connect the south side with the east and west sides.

Prior to the 2012 season, the West Side Outdoor Club seating area was completely renovated and new luxury chairback seats were installed. The entire seating structure was reconfigured, which decreased the number of seating rows, subsequently allowing for more legroom from row to row, and reduced capacity to 65,632.[8]

In time for the start of the 2013 season, a new "Hokie Vision" scoreboard was put in place. This board is completely LED and the screen itself would completely contain the size of the old scoreboard. There are four pylons holding up the board: the smaller, center two were used as the pylons for the old board and the outer two (both larger) are used in addition to the original pylons to hold up the new board. This new scoreboard ranks third largest college football scoreboard.[9]

Panorama of Lane Stadium during the "white out" Virginia Tech vs. Austin Peay football game, September 8, 2012.

Lane Stadium milestones[edit]

Virginia Tech students in the North End Zone's student section dressed in orange for the 2005 Orange Effect game against Georgia Tech
Milestone Date Opponent Score
First Game/First Win at Lane Stadium October 2, 1965 William & Mary W 9–7
First Television Game (ABC) October 29, 1966 Florida State W 23–21
25th Win at Lane Stadium October 11, 1975 Florida State W 13–10
50th Win at Lane Stadium October 3, 1981 Memphis State W 17–13
First CBS Game September 18, 1982 Miami (FL) L 8–14
First Night Game November 25, 1982 Virginia W 21–14
First TBS Game November 25, 1982 Virginia W 21–14
First Game Under Head Coach Frank Beamer September 12, 1987 Clemson L 10–22
First Win Under Head Coach Frank Beamer October 3, 1987 Navy W 31–11
75th Win at Lane Stadium October 3, 1987 Navy W 31–11
First ESPN Game November 24, 1990 Virginia W 38–13
First BIG EAST Game September 26, 1992 West Virginia L 7–16
First BIG EAST Win October 16, 1993 Temple W 55–7
100th Win at Lane Stadium September 22, 1994 West Virginia W 34–6
First Thursday Night Game[10] November 25, 1982 Virginia W 21–14
Program's 1,000th Game September 4, 1999 James Madison W 47–0
125th Win at Lane Stadium September 23, 1999 Clemson W 31–11
ESPN College GameDay - First Appearance October 16, 1999 Syracuse W 62–0
ESPN College GameDay - Second Appearance November 13, 1999 Miami (FL) W 43–10
ESPN College GameDay - Third Appearance / Lee Corso's car lightning strike[11] August 30, 2000 Georgia Tech Canceled
Frank Beamer's 100th Win at Virginia Tech September 1, 2001 Connecticut W 52–10
Virginia Tech's 600th win overall September 6, 2003 James Madison W 43–0
150th Win at Lane Stadium November 1, 2003 Miami (FL) W 31–7
First ACC Game and Win September 18, 2004 Duke W 41–17
ESPN College GameDay - Fourth Appearance September 24, 2005 Georgia Tech W 51–7
ESPN College GameDay - Fifth Appearance November 5, 2005 Miami (FL) L 7–27
ESPN College GameDay - Sixth Appearance September 1, 2007 East Carolina W 17–7
Frank Beamer's 200th overall win September 15, 2007 Ohio W 28–7
Frank Beamer's First win vs. Bobby Bowden & Florida State Seminoles November 10, 2007 Florida State W 40–21
250th game at Lane Stadium November 6, 2008 Maryland W 23-13
First overtime game September 3, 2012 Georgia Tech W 20–17
200th Win at Lane Stadium October 13, 2012 Duke W 41-20
50th Anniversary of Lane Stadium[12] August 30, 2014 William & Mary W 34-9
ESPN College GameDay - Seventh Appearance September 7, 2015 Ohio State L 24–42
First Game under Head Coach Justin Fuente September 3, 2016 Liberty W 36–13
50th ACC home game September 17, 2016 Boston College W 49-0
300th Game at Lane Stadium & 100th ACC game October 20, 2016 Miami (FL) W 37-16

Traditions[edit]

Skipper in the south end zone during pregame
the Hokie Bird bench presses a Virginia Tech score
The Marching Virginians tuba section performs the Hokie Pokie in the north end zone

Corps of Cadets[edit]

  • Virginia Tech's Corps of Cadets march into Lane Stadium and stand in formation on the field during the National Anthem and Rendering of Colors.
  • The Corps of Cadets sit together in the lower level of the South end zone stands during every home game.
  • Freshman cadets do push-ups on the shoulders of their classmates equal to the point total after each score.
  • "Skipper": The world's largest game cannon, "Skipper" is present at every home game.[13] It was built in 1963 by a group of cadets, led by Homer Hickam, author of the book, Rocket Boys. "Skipper" was created in an effort to silence the chant of: "Where's your cannon?" by the students of then arch-rival, VMI during the annual Thanksgiving Day game. The cannon was named "Skipper" to honor John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated at the same time the cannon was built. As the captain of a PT boat in WWII, JFK was commonly known as "Skipper".[14] In 2015, a custom display space in the new cadet dormitory, Pearson Hall, became the permanent home for Skipper, presenting the cannon in a highly visible location for students, alumni, and visitors to admire when not in use.[15]
  • The Highty-Tighties: Virginia Tech's regimental band, the Highty-Tighties was founded in 1892 and is the oldest collegiate band in the Commonwealth of Virginia. It is composed completely of members of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets.[16]
  • Growley II': The Corps of Cadets welcomed a new canine ambassador among its ranks in the fall of 2016, a yellow Labrador Retriever, named "Growley II" (call sign “Tank”). According to folklore, the name, "Growley" originated in the 1930s with the name of the commandant's dog. Cadets would regularly feed "Growley" with portions of their breakfast since food was scarce. Cadets then began referring to breakfast as "Growley", and the morning formation was typically announced as “minutes to Growley”. Today, "Growley II" resides at Pearson Hall with his two cadet handlers and accompanies the Corps of Cadets to home football games.[17]

Pre-Game[edit]

  • "Hokie Walk": A tradition where the team arrives in buses and walks to the locker room among the fans, and led by the Highty-Tighties and the Hokie Bird.
  • Hokie Village: A game-day celebration near Lane Stadium that started in 2014. It's a family oriented, carnival atmosphere, featuring games, music, and appearances by cheerleaders, the Hokie Bird, and "Skipper".
  • Pre-Game Field Show: At every home game, the Highty-Tighties perform the pre-game field show. At least once a year, the Marching Virginians perform their pre-game show, which begins with the band forming the shape of the Commonwealth of Virginia and features the MV's forming several recognizable shapes such as spelling out "VT," "HOKIES," and "TECH."
  • Virginia Tech's Corps of Cadets march into Lane Stadium and stand in formation on the field during the National Anthem and Rendering of Colors."Skipper" is fired inside Lane Stadium in the south end zone at the completion of the anthem.
  • Fireworks: Fireworks are set-off during and after the singing of the National anthem.

Team Entrance[edit]

  • Prior to the team entrance, the cheerleaders start a alternating chant of "Let's Go" and "Hokies" with the east and west stands before the game.
  • Enter Sandman: Beginning in 2001, Metallica's "Enter Sandman" is played as the football team enters Lane Stadium through the tunnel behind the North end zone. As the music begins, The Marching Virginians lead the stadium in jumping in place, which has become known as the "Blacksburg Bounce".
  • Hokie Stone: As the team runs out of the tunnel during Sandman, each player reaches up and touches a slab of Hokie Stone, then runs between two phalanxes, consisting of the Highty-Tighties, Marching Virginians, and freshman cadets. On the last home game of the season, senior cadets take the place of freshmen during the entrance as part of the corps of cadet's "Senior Day".

In-Game[edit]

  • Orange Effect: Since 2002, the students have designated one game where all fans are asked to wear orange. The Orange Effect game is always played against a team that does not use orange as a team color Syracuse, Miami, UVA, and Clemson).
  • Maroon Effect: Added in 2005, The Maroon Effect game is always played against a team that does not use maroon/crimson as a team color (includes regular opponents such as: Boston College or Florida State). The very first (unofficial) Maroon Effect game was in 2002 against the University of Virginia.
  • White Out: Added in 2008. The White Out game is typically done for an early season game, usually against an FCS opponent, where all fans wear white.
  • Marching Virginians: The Marching Virginians occupy the field level bleachers, in front of the student section behind the North end zone during the game, and play songs throughout.
  • Turkey Gobble: A turkey gobble sound is periodically played over the PA system to rile up the crowd during lulls, most commonly on opponent's third down plays. The turkey gobble is in memory of Floyd H. "Hard Times" Meade, a local boy who was adopted by the corps and became the school's first "mascot" in the late 19th century. Floyd later brought live trained turkeys to games to walk the sidelines during games and gobble on command.[18]
  • Key Play: A tradition started in the late 1980s: Virginia Tech fans shake their keys as a distraction during opponent's third down plays, signifying a "key play".
  • Growley II: The Corps of Cadets' canine ambassador, Growley II, can be seen along the sidelines, in front of the cadet seating section, often chewing on a doll of the opposing team's mascot.[19]
  • Halftime Field Show: The Marching Virginians perform the half-time field show at every game. At every field show, the band usually performs up to three songs followed by "Tech Triumph" as they march off the field. The Highty-Tighties perform the halftime show at least once a year.
  • Hokie Pokie: At the change of the 3rd and 4th quarters, the tuba section of The Marching Virginians lines up on the goal line of the north end zone to play and dance the Hokie Pokie ("Hokey Pokey"). Band members invite the tuba players from the Highty-Tighties and the visiting team to join them.

Scoring Plays[edit]

  • Student Toss: Groups of students, most of whom are seated in the student section in the north end zone, lift up a student (usually female) to toss in the air for every point scored.
  • Bench Press: The school mascot, the Hokie Bird does one bench press for every point the Hokies score on a weight bench in the end zone.
  • Push-Ups: Freshman cadets complete push-ups on the shoulders of their cadets seated in front of them, completing one push-up for very point scored by the Hokies.
  • Flags: Following every touchdown, members of the cheer squad run onto the field carrying six large flags, each with a single letter, spelling: "H-O-K-I-E-S"
  • VPI Victory March : The VPI Victory March is played by the The Marching Virginians after every Hokies' score. The song ends with the "H-O-K-I-E-S - Hokies!" chant.[20]
  • Skipper: During the game, Skipper, the cannon is fired behind the north end zone stands of Lane Stadium after every score by Virginia Tech.
  • Fireworks: Fireworks are set-off on scoring plays at night games.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Lane Stadium/Worsham Field". Virginia Tech Athletics. Retrieved August 31, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "History" (PDF). Virginia Tech Athletics. 2000. p. 233. Retrieved November 8, 2013. 
  3. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved October 21, 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c "VPI's Ultra–Modern Stadium". Journal of the Prestressed Concrete Institute. 14 (1–2): 2. 1969. Retrieved November 1, 2011. 
  5. ^ Lavender, David (August 21, 2005). "No Place Like Home". Rivals.com. Retrieved January 30, 2008. 
  6. ^ Feldman, Bruce (October 1, 2007). "Death Valley Tops List of Scary Venues for Opposing Teams". ESPN. Retrieved January 30, 2008. 
  7. ^ "NCAA Division 1-A universities with football stadiums that are highest in elevation". Sporcle. December 8, 2010. 
  8. ^ "Virginia Tech Football Club Seats Still Available". Virginia Tech Athletics. June 27, 2012. Retrieved November 6, 2013. 
  9. ^ List of college football stadium video boards
  10. ^ "Lane Stadium/Worsham Field". www.hokiesports.com. Virginia Tech. 2015. Retrieved October 20, 2016. 
  11. ^ Associated Press (August 28, 2000). "Lightning Strikes Corso's Rental Car". ESPN. Retrieved March 10, 2009. 
  12. ^ "Lane Stadium: 50 Years Celebrating 50 Years of Lane Stadium". www.hokiesports.com. 2014. Retrieved October 17, 2016. 
  13. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ma4SK-RiBP0
  14. ^ Hoffman, Tiffany (November 21, 2003). "Skipper Cannon Named for Kennedy, Cadets". Collegiate Times. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Retrieved September 20, 2009. 
  15. ^ Lewis Millholland, and Zach Hoopes (April 28, 2015). "Rasche Hall to be replaced by Pearson Hall". www.collegiatetimes.com. Retrieved October 18, 2016. 
  16. ^ "The History of the Virginia Tech Regimental Band". www.band.vtcc.vt.edu. Virginia Tech. 2016. Retrieved October 19, 2016. 
  17. ^ Barnhart, Shay (August 26, 2016). "Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets releases official photo of its new ambassador". www.vtnews.vt.edu. Virginia Tech. Retrieved October 24, 2016. 
  18. ^ "The Man, the Myth, the Mascot: Floyd H. Meade, Virginia Tech's First Mascot Performer". www.vtspecialcollections.wordpress.com. 2016. Retrieved October 19, 2016. 
  19. ^ Barnhart, Shay (September 29, 2016). "Corps of Cadets ambassador eating up campus life". www.vtcc.vt.edu/about/growley.html. Virginia Tech. Retrieved October 24, 2016. 
  20. ^ "'VIRGINIA TECH HOKIES' School Songs Lyrics". www.fightmusic.com. 2016. Retrieved October 19, 2016. 

External links[edit]