Paulson Stadium

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Allen E. Paulson Stadium

The Prettiest Little Stadium in America

"The House that Erk Built"
Expanded Paulson Stadium.jpg
Location 207 Lanier Dr.
Statesboro, GA 30458
Operator Georgia Southern University
Capacity 25,000
Record attendance 25,725
Surface Shaw Legion 41 synthetic turf[1]
Construction
Broke ground 1983
Opened September 29, 1984
Renovated 2007, 2014
Construction cost $4.7 million
($10.7 million in 2016 dollars[2])
$10 million (2014 expansion)
Architect Heery-Fabrap, Inc.
Tenants
Georgia Southern University Eagles (NCAA) (1984-present)

Allen E. Paulson Stadium is a 25,000 seat on campus football stadium in Statesboro, Georgia.[3] It is home to the Georgia Southern Eagles football team and the focal point of Erk Russell Athletic Park.

Paulson Stadium was dedicated on Sept. 29, 1984 with a 48-11 win over Liberty University. The game was a fitting end to four years of planning one of the finest I-AA facilities in America.[4] The phrase "Prettiest Little Stadium in America" was coined by former Coach Erk Russell.[5] The stadium has also come to be known as "Our House" to reflect the extreme home field advantage (Overall record of 177-33 and home playoff record of 33-3).[6]

History[edit]

The stadium is named for the late Allen E. Paulson, founder and owner of Gulfstream Aerospace, who donated more than $1 million toward construction of the facility. The late State Senator Glenn Bryant of Hinesville donated over $250,000 for the property. To recognize his gift, the playing surface of the stadium is named "Glenn Bryant Field".

The first game in Paulson was originally scheduled for September 1, 1984, against the Florida A&M Rattlers, but construction delayed by wet weather forced this game to be played in Savannah. The first touchdown scored was a 36-yard run around the right side by quarterback Tracy Ham against Liberty Baptist on September 29, 1984.

Features[edit]

Paulson Stadium during the pregame show with the Southern Pride marching band.

26 climate-controlled luxury V.I.P. Skyboxes with lavish interiors, private restrooms and food service areas, along with separate Eagle Club and President's Luxury Sky Suites, plus a 50-seat pressbox and film deck overlook the playing surface on the south side of the stadium. Prior to the start of the 2005 season, a brick façade was built along the walls of Paulson Stadium while the video scoreboard was also surrounded with a brick garden/façade. Built in 2006, the Gene Bishop Fieldhouse sits in the western open end of the natural bowl, replacing the Lupton Building, the stadium's original fieldhouse. The field level of the Bishop Fieldhouse includes team and officials dressing rooms, while the second level houses a hospitality room and club-level seating. In the summer of 2007, the south concourse was improved with red brick walls on the concession stands and a paver sidewalk, and the stadium's parking area was also updated. The north concourse received similar renovations during the spring semester of 2008. Also after the passing of legendary coach Erk Russell a bust was added along the fence near the Gene Bishop Fieldhouse.

From the stadium's opening in 1984 until the end of the 2015 season, Paulson Stadium used a natural grass surface. On February 5, 2016, the university's athletic department announced that an artificial surface supplied by Shaw Sports Turf of Calhoun, Georgia will be installed for the 2016 season.[1]

Expansion[edit]

The stadium was scheduled to undergo a massive construction and expansion project beginning in the offseason of 2012. However, the start of the project was delayed until the 2013 offseason.[7] This expansion project increased Paulson Stadium's total capacity to 25,000 and moved all of Georgia Southern's football facilities to a state-of-the-art Football Operations Center onsite. At the time the plan was originally announced, the 57,000-square foot facility was intended to be first of class at the FCS level and rival many at the FBS level; at the time of completion, Georgia Southern was a transitional FBS member in the Sun Belt Conference. The Ted Smith Family Football Center consists of coaches' offices, team meeting rooms, locker rooms, rehabilitation rooms, weight room and the Georgia Southern Football Hall of Fame. The $10 million facility is the largest privately funded project in the history of Georgia Southern University. The northern mid-deck was completed in time for the Spring 2014 commencement ceremony while the Ted Smith Family Football Center was formally dedicated on August 16, 2014.[8]

Attendance records[edit]

Highest attendance at Paulson Stadium
Rank Attendance Date Game result
1 25,725 Dec. 16, 1989 Ga Southern 37, Stephen F. Austin 34
2 24,782 Sept. 19, 2015 Ga Southern 48, The Citadel 13
3 24,535 Sept. 25, 2014 Ga Southern 34, Appalachian State 14
4 24,078 Nov. 11, 1989 Ga Southern 34, Chattanooga 13
5 23, 551 Oct. 18, 2015 Ga Southern 56, New Mexico State 26
6 23, 520 Sept. 12, 2015 Ga Southern 43, Western Michigan 17
7 23,373 Nov. 10, 2007 Ga Southern 22, Furman 24
8 23, 250 Oct. 11, 2014 Ga Southern 47, Idaho 24
9 23,204 Dec. 15, 1990 Ga Southern 36, Nevada 13
10 23,167 Sept. 1, 2001 Ga Southern 69, Savannah State 6

Special events[edit]

Paulson Stadium hosted the 1989, 1990 and 1991 NCAA Division I-AA National Football Championship Games. 25,725 fans, the largest crowd in Paulson Stadium history, saw Georgia Southern defeat Stephen F. Austin in the 1989 NCAA Championship Game. Temporary bleachers were brought in and installed in the east endzone and on the northern concourse to handle the standing-room-only crowd.

The stadium has also hosted concerts for artists such as Lady Antebellum, Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley, 3 Doors Down, The Fray, and The Band Perry.[9][10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Horsley, Kristina. "Shaw Sports Turf Selected to Provide the New Field for Paulson Stadium". Georgia Southern Eagles. Retrieved 6 February 2016. 
  2. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved November 10, 2015. 
  3. ^ Campus Tour: Paulson Stadium, Retrieved July 28, 2008
  4. ^ Georgia Southern Football Media Guide, 2004. 9
  5. ^ "Allen E. Paulson Stadium - Georgia Southern University Eagles Athletics". Georgiasoutherneagles.com. Retrieved August 9, 2012. 
  6. ^ Georgia Southern Football Media Guide, 2004. 187
  7. ^ Cannady, Del (June 5, 2013). "Georgia Southern breaks ground on stadium expansion". Savannah, GA: WTOC-TV. Retrieved July 29, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Football Operations Center Ribbon Cutting and Eagle Fan Fest Set for August 16th". GSEagles.com. Retrieved 12 September 2014. 
  9. ^ Kennedy, Katherine (May 9, 2007). "Brad Paisley to Perform in Statesboro Friday (Archives)". Statesboro Herald. Retrieved August 9, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Country Superstar Tim McGraw to Play GSU April 30". Statesboro Herald. March 23, 2010. Retrieved August 9, 2012. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Holt Arena
Host of the NCAA Division I-AA National Championship Game
1989–1991
Succeeded by
Marshall University Stadium

Coordinates: 32°24′44″N 81°46′59″W / 32.412161°N 81.783135°W / 32.412161; -81.783135