Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium
|Former names||Mountaineer Field (1980–2004)|
|Location||900 Willowdale Road
Morgantown, West Virginia 26505
|Owner||West Virginia University|
|Operator||West Virginia University|
|Record attendance||70,222 (November 20, 1993)|
|Surface||2007 to present FieldTurf
2002 to 2006 Astroplay
1980 to 2001 Astroturf
|Broke ground||May 3, 1979|
|Opened||September 6, 1980|
|Construction cost||$22 million
($63.2 million in 2015 dollars)
HOK Sport (renovations)
|General contractor||Huber, Hunt & Nichols|
|West Virginia Mountaineers (NCAA) (1980–present)|
Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium (commonly known as Mountaineer Field) is the football stadium for the West Virginia Mountaineers NCAA Division I FBS football team. The stadium is located in Morgantown, West Virginia, on the health sciences campus of West Virginia University.
The seating area of the facility was renamed "Milan Puskar Stadium" in 2004, after a $20 million donation to the university by Morgantown resident and founder of Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Milan Puskar.
The original Mountaineer Field was located on the school's main campus, but it could not be expanded or modernized due to the proximity of campus buildings and roads near the stadium. It seated 38,000 when it was last used in 1979. The new stadium was originally to be called Mountaineer Stadium, but the fans ignored this and called it New Mountaineer Field, with the "new" eventually falling into disuse. Mountaineer Field was constructed in 1980 on the former site of a golf course between the Law School and Medical School buildings. The stadium's original cost was $22 million. Upon completion it had a seating capacity of 50,000. The stadium was expanded in 1985 with 7,500 seats added to the south end zone for $6.5 million. In 1986, 4,000 seats were added to the north end zone for $650,000. In 2004 the existing north end zone seats were removed, and luxury suites were added at a cost of $13 million. The most recent expansion actually reduced the seating capacity by 3,500, so the official current capacity is 60,000. In summer of 2007 approximately 500 seats were added in the corners of the north end zone and above the weight room in the south end zone. There are five banks of lights located on the perimeter of the stadium and one long bank along the top of the press box. The field surface was replaced in the summer of 2007, as the 5-year-old playing surface was beginning to show signs of wear. The company that installed the 5-year-old surface went out of business and was not available to maintain the worn surface. There are 12 luxury seats on the first level of the press box, 18 in the north end zone, and 648 club seats in the north end zone called "Touchdown Terrace".
Mountaineer Field has occasionally hosted larger crowds than its listed capacity; the current attendance record was set on November 20, 1993 when 70,222 fans packed the stadium to watch the #9 ranked Mountaineers defeat #4 Miami.
|1||70,222||Nov. 20, 1993||#9 West Virginia 17, #4 Miami 14|
|2||68,938||Sept 30, 1989||#9 West Virginia 31, #10 Pitt 31|
|3||68,409||Sept 5, 1998||#11 West Virginia 17, #1 Ohio State 34|
|4||68,041||Aug 31, 1991||West Virginia 3, Pitt 34|
|5||67,715||Nov 15, 2003||West Virginia 52, #16 Pitt 31|
|6||66,948||Oct 26, 1996||#12 West Virginia 7, #25 Miami 10|
|7||66,811||Oct 29, 1988||#7 West Virginia 51, Penn State 30|
|8||66,663||Oct 24, 1992||West Virginia 26, #14 Penn State 40|
|9||66,461||Nov 3, 1990||West Virginia 19, #24 Penn State 31|
|10||66,015||Sept 16, 1989||#12 West Virginia 45, South Carolina 21|
Mountaineer Field has also hosted non-university football games in the past. One notable game was a National Football League pre-season game on August 22, 1998 between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Atlanta Falcons. Old Mountaineer Field had also hosted an exhibition game in 1968 between the Steelers and the expansion Cincinnati Bengals of the American Football League.
Morgantown's two public high schools, Morgantown and University, used to share a stadium and play their annual rivalry game at Mountaineer Field. With the opening of University's new field in 2008 the game has been moved to rotating a series between the two schools. The stadium also hosted the 1988 WV high school football championships.
When Mountaineer Field was dedicated on September 6, 1980, which also marked the first game for head coach Don Nehlen, fans were surprised when singer John Denver made an appearance and led the fans in the singing of his hit song "Take Me Home, Country Roads". The song has been played at every Mountaineers home game since 1972. In recent years, the song has been the subject of a new tradition; after a Mountaineers win, the players lead the crowd in singing the song.
Going into the 2007 football season, the stadium turf was changed from the AstroPlay surface installed in 2002 to the more popular FieldTurf surface. The cost was estimated to be near $1 million. The turf was ready in time for the fall 2007 season, even after the endzone sections had to be replaced because they were the incorrect shade of blue (too light).
Along with the new turf, additions to the touchdown terrace on the north end zone are being made. Constructions to completely enclose the terrace and add 180 more seats was finished before the start of the season.
During the summer of 2008, the WVU Foundation partnered with Panasonic to install a new video scoreboard at the stadium. The scoreboard has a screen three times wider than the previous one and features a higher resolution. Additionally, a 306 ft fascia LED panel runs the length of each sideline.
Locker room renovations were done prior to the 2013 season. Additional improvements were announced in the spring of 2014, including a new team meeting room, improved stadium concourse, and renovated concessions.
Thanks in part to the university's media agreement with IMG, prior to the 2014 season four new LED boards were installed in each corner of the stadium at field level as well as updated auxiliary scoreboards in both the North and South end zones. To round out the most recent set of updates, graphic banners now adorn the stadium's old grey walls both at field level and along the upper deck.
In late Spring of 2015 work began on approximately $50 million in renovations to Milan Puskar Stadium and Mountaineer Field. The old turf and goalposts will not only be replaced, but the crown under the field will be removed and a modern base and drainage system installed that is more in keeping with today's infilled artificial turf systems. The field will be completed for the 2016 season. Also, work on the east and north side gates and concourses had begun and will be finished in time for the 2016 season while the west and south sides of the stadium will be done by 2017.
- "2013 West Virginia University Mountaineers Football Media Guide". West Virginia University Athletics. p. 35. Retrieved February 18, 2014.
- Home Attendance
- "Jay to Take Part in MU Groundbreaking". Williamson Daily News. May 5, 1979. Retrieved October 6, 2011.
- Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved November 10, 2015.
- Henry Teague Designed Innovative Stadiums
- Bogaczyk, Jack (August 21, 2008). "WVU considers adding suites to Puskar Stadium". Charleston Daily Mail. Retrieved September 9, 2009.
- "Huntley helps Steelers run past Falcons 28-22". Associated Press. August 23, 1998. Retrieved October 3, 2014.
- "Bengals topple Steelers, 19-3". Associated Press. August 25, 1968. Retrieved October 3, 2014.
- John Denver at Mountaineer Field
- Rivard, Ry (July 20, 2011). "State Fire Marshal Wary of WVU Event Plans". Charleston Daily Mail. Retrieved July 21, 2011.
- "New Graphics Give Mountaineer Field a Facelift for 2014". statejournal.com. Retrieved 26 September 2014.