View from northeast corner in August 2012
|Former names||Rogers Field (1902–1970)
Soldier Field (1892–1902)
|Location||Washington State University
720 NE Stadium Way
Pullman, Washington U.S.
|Owner||Washington State University|
|Operator||Washington State University|
|Broke ground||January 1, 1972|
|Opened||September 30, 1972|
|Renovated||1979, 2006, 2012|
|Expanded||1979: track removed
2012: premium seating
|Construction cost||$1 million
($5.64 million in 2015 dollars)
$150 million (renovation)
|Architect||Naramore Bain Brady & Johanson|
|Washington State Cougars (1972–present)
Idaho Vandals - (1999–2001) NCAA
Martin Stadium is an outdoor athletic stadium in the northwest United States, on the campus of Washington State University in Pullman, Washington. It is the home field of the Washington State Cougars of the Pacific-12 Conference. The FieldTurf playing field runs an unorthodox east-west, at an elevation of 2,520 feet (770 m) above sea level.
The stadium is named after Clarence D. Martin (1886–1955), the governor of the state of Washington (1933–41), and a former mayor of Cheney, and ironically, a graduate of the University of Washington. His son, Dan (Clarence D. Martin, Jr., 1916–1976), made a $250,000 donation to the project in January 1972. Additional gifts were continued by Dan's widow, Charlotte Martin.
Martin Stadium opened on September 30, 1972, with a disappointing 19-point loss to Utah, then a member of the WAC, with 20,600 in attendance. Two and a half years had passed since the south grandstand of its predecessor, the wooden Rogers Field, was significantly damaged by fire, a suspected case of arson. The WSU Cougars played all of their home games at Joe Albi Stadium in Spokane in 1970 and 1971. When it opened in 1972, only the south grandstand was new, the remaining seats from Rogers (north sideline, east end zone) were not yet replaced.
As of 2006, the stadium has a seating capacity of 35,117. Since the expansionion of Reser Stadium at Oregon State in 2005, Martin Stadium fell to last in football seating capacity in the Pac-10 (now Pac-12). The current attendance record was set during the championship year of 1997, when WSU beat Stanford on Senior Day in front of 40,306 on November 15. (They won the Apple Cup at Husky Stadium in Seattle the following week to win the Pac-10, and played in the Rose Bowl for the first time in 67 years.) Despite the relatively small size of Martin Stadium, it has one of the highest ratios of seating capacity to population base; almost 1.6 seats per every citizen in the city of Pullman, and a seat for everyone in Whitman County.
Martin Stadium was the first college football stadium to expand by removing its 440-yard (402 m) running track and lowering the playing field, in this case by 16 feet (5 m). This modification in 1979 added over 12,000 new seats, most of which were closer to the field (and the opponent's bench).
The first game following the renovation was played in mid-October 1979, a 17–14 victory over UCLA under sunny skies. Following a 10–3 season and an undefeated home campaign in 2003, Martin Stadium was ranked by Sports Illustrated as one of the toughest stadiums for visiting teams in college football.
The recent renovation of Martin Stadium consists of three separate projects.
The first project, called the Southside Project, is an $80 million project that replaced the old press box on the south stands with a new structure that includes a new press box, club seats, loge boxes, luxury suites and a club room. Approximately 1,900 new seats were added in the premium seating area. The expansion also added 21 luxury suites (four, 24-person; nine, 18-person; and eight, 12-person), 42 loge boxes (27, four-person and 15, six-person) and approximately 1,300 club seats (1,200 outdoor and 100 indoor). The former press box did not have the amenities necessary for "first class" game productions with respect to national television and radio broadcasts as provided for in the new PAC-12 television and media contract. The Southside Project began demolition and construction in November 2011 and was completed by the first game of the 2012 season.
The second project, called the West End-Zone Project, a $61 million project that will provide a new football operations center for the Cougar football program, including new weight/locker rooms, equipment and training areas for players. In addition to meeting rooms and coaches' offices, it will also feature a WSU football heritage area and a game-day home for former letter winners. The project was approved in November 2012, and construction began that month on November 26. This project is projected to be completed by the 2014 season.
The third project involved the installation of a new video display which is 36 by 73 feet (11 m × 22 m) and features the latest light emitting diode (LED) video technology. The video board is 112% larger than the previous board while producing a wider, more consistent viewing angle. The video display is more than double the size of the previous display with four times the resolution. It is one of the few High Definition Video Displays in college football as its 840 x 1708 resolution exceeds the high definition standard. The project also included the installation of an LED Ribbon Board that measures four feet (1.3 m) tall by 347 feet (106 m) wide and runs along the length of the premium seating side. Both the video and ribbon boards display game statistics and information, out of town scores, along with graphics, animations, crowd prompts, and opportunities for partner-related elements.
The new custom audio system, which is integrated with the video and scoring system, is engineered to provide full-range sound reproduction and deliver clear and intelligible speech at Martin Stadium.
The current playing surface is Revolution Fiber by FieldTurf, installed in the summer of 2014 as part of the budget inclusion for the $61 million Football Operations Building. Rev Fiber is the latest and most realistic grass-like surface available, also used at Ohio Stadium and Notre Dame Stadium, and the NFL's CenturyLink Field and Gillette Stadium. Rev Turf has received a FIFA 2-star rating for soccer.
FieldTurf was first installed in 2000 and replaced in 2006, preceded by the sand-filled Omniturf, installed in 1990. The original playing surface at Martin Stadium in 1972 was AstroTurf, replaced by SuperTurf in 1979, and again in 1984. The playing surface at Rogers Field was natural grass.
Martin Stadium is one of only three in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) which uses goalposts with two support posts for all of its home games. The others are Doak Campbell Stadium at Florida State and Tiger Stadium at LSU. Single-support goalposts were torn down at Martin Stadium in 1982 and 1988, after Apple Cup victories. The distance between the uprights was narrowed for college football in 1991 to 18 ft 6 in (5.64 m), matching the NFL. By the next Cougar victory in the rivalry in 1992, double posts were in place for the win in the snow.
Washington State hosts the Apple Cup in even-numbered years. Except for 1954, the Apple Cup was played at Joe Albi Stadium in Spokane from 1950–80, rather than in Pullman. The Cougars went 3-12 in these fifteen Spokane Apple Cups (winning in 1958, 1968, and 1972), while winning the previous games played at Rogers Field in Pullman (1948, 1954).
Sharing with a rival
For two and a half seasons, 1999-2001, the Idaho Vandals of nearby Moscow borrowed Martin Stadium to use as its home field, as Idaho transitioned from Division I-AA back up to I-A. At the time, the Vandals' Kibbie Dome was too small to support the NCAA's attendance requirements for Division I-A.
The attendance criteria was changed and Idaho is now a football-only Independent school in Division I FBS, and uses its own facility.
Washington State and Idaho renewed their dormant football rivalry in 1998, and matched up annually in the Battle of the Palouse for a decade. The game was played at Martin Stadium in September, although the 2003 game was curiously played far from the Palouse, 300 miles (480 km) west at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. After a ten year renewal, new Vandal head coach Robb Akey, a former WSU defensive coordinator, stated that he preferred the game not be played every year. The regular series ceased once again in 2007. The Cougars and Vandals met most recently on September 21, 2013, with Washington State winning 42-0.
Fire at Rogers Field
At 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 4, 1970 (the first day of spring break), residents heard what they described as a gunshot at the football stadium. By 2:00 a.m., the south grandstand and press box of the 1930s wooden venue had burned to the ground, witnessed by a thousand residents and firefighters. The exact cause, or offender, was never found, though there were several suspects.
The Cougars played their entire home schedule for the 1970 and 1971 football seasons at Joe Albi Stadium in Spokane. The fire also displaced the Idaho Vandals, whose wooden Neale Stadium was condemned before the 1969 season (and set afire by arson that November). The Vandals had used WSU's Rogers Field for its three Palouse home games in 1969 and were planning to use it again in for four home games in 1970. Without another suitable stadium in the Moscow-Pullman vicinity, Idaho played its 1970 home schedule at the reduced capacity Rogers Field, returning to its Moscow campus in October 1971. The 1970 WSU-Idaho game in Spokane on September 19 was dubbed "The Displaced Bowl," and was easily won by the Cougars, 44-16, their only victory of the season.
The public address announcer at Martin Stadium is WSU professor Glenn Johnson, who is also the mayor of Pullman. Johnson is known for his first-down call of "...and that's ANOTHER...", to which the crowd responds by chanting "...COUGAR FIRST DOWN!" in unison along with Johnson. The catchphrase has also inspired a dedicated website AnotherCougarFirstDown.com that is currently managed by Washington State University.
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- Topographic map and aerial photo from USGS via Microsoft Research Maps
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- cfbdatawarehouse.com - WSU results - 1970-74
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Martin Stadium.|
- Official website
- World Stadiums.com - photos - Martin Stadium
- Aerial photo (& topographic map) - WSU campus from USGS via Microsoft Research Maps