Veterans Memorial Stadium (Troy University)

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Veterans Memorial Stadium, Larry Blakeney Field
"The Vet"
Movie Gallery Stadium.JPG
Former names Veterans Memorial Stadium (1950–2002, 2010-Present)
Larry Blakeney Field (2011-Present)
Richard M. Scrushy Field (playing surface only, 1998–2003)
Movie Gallery Stadium (2003–2010)
Location George C. Wallace Dr, Troy, AL 36081
Coordinates 31°47′58″N 85°57′7″W / 31.79944°N 85.95194°W / 31.79944; -85.95194Coordinates: 31°47′58″N 85°57′7″W / 31.79944°N 85.95194°W / 31.79944; -85.95194
Owner Troy University
Operator Troy University
Capacity 30,402
Record attendance 29,278 September 9, 2017 vs Alabama State
Surface ProGrass
Construction
Broke ground 1950
Opened September 16, 1950
Expanded 1998, 2003, 2017
Construction cost $65,000 (Original)
Architect HOK Sport (2003 renovation)
Tenants
Troy Trojans (NCAA) (1950–present)
Charles Henderson High School

Veterans Memorial Stadium at Larry Blakeney Field is a stadium in Troy, Alabama. It is primarily used for American football, and is the home field of the Troy University Trojans. The seating capacity is 30,402. The stadium was originally built in 1950, and has regularly been expanded, renovated and improved since then. The stadium was named in honor of the college students and local residents who gave their lives during World War II. The field received its name from retired head coach Larry Blakeney, the all-time winningest coach in Troy history.

History[edit]

Veterans Memorial Stadium was originally dedicated to the Troy State Teachers College students and Pike County residents who had died in World War II. The stadium solely consisted of a small, 5,000-seat grandstand on the west side of the running track, and was built into the natural slope of the ground. It was expanded several times, including the addition of upper deck in 1998 that brought capacity up to 17,500.

Renovations[edit]

Costs for the 1998 expansion of the stadium were financed in part by a substantial donation from HealthSouth founder Richard M. Scrushy. The playing field (but not the stadium) was renamed for Scrushy, but this became a public relations problem for Troy University when Scrushy was forced out of his position due to alleged financial misdeeds at HealthSouth, for which he was later tried, but acquitted. (Scrushy was later convicted of other unrelated crimes, along with former Alabama governor Don Siegelman; those convictions are currently under appeal.)

Renovations were again carried out in 2003, the season which saw the Trojans make the move to Division I-A (FBS). The old press box area, which had cut into the 1998 upper deck, was filled in with chair-back seats and a larger press box and luxury box area was added behind the now-completed upper deck. The track was removed and the field was lowered, and permanent seating was placed over the old berm area behind the south grandstand. The 30,000 seat stadium is a flattened "U" shape, with the north endzone project currently being constructed which will enclose the stadium and increase capacity. The natural grass surface was replaced with AstroPlay synthetic grass. Troy was one of the first schools to feature the synthetic grass on a football field. The AstroPlay surface was then replaced by the ProGrass synthetic turf system in 2012.

On November 12, 2016 ground was broken on the $24-million North Endzone Facility with a comlpletion date for 2018. The facility will add 402 club-level seats and the plans call for a first-floor that houses the strength and conditioning area and nutrition station; a second floor locker room, sports medicine facility, team lounge and "cool-down" plunge pool; and a third floor filled with coaches’ offices, meeting rooms, video services and a recruiting lounge. A 35-foot by 90-foot HD video board will also be installed on the top of the facility, which will be the largest video board in the Sun Belt Conference.

Movie Gallery Stadium 2005 & The Sound of the South

Construction costs for the latest expansions were financed in part by the sale of naming rights to the video rental chain Movie Gallery. Because of this, Scrushy's name is no longer on the field. Movie Gallery's name was removed after the company filed for bankruptcy and ceased operations in 2010,[1] at which point the venue reverted to its original name.

Features[edit]

The stadium features a six-story pressbox that houses 27 sky-boxes, a state-of-the-art media hosting facility, a unique Trojan Stadium Club area that houses more than 1,000 guests, and floors dedicated to sports medicine, academics, strength and conditioning, and media relations. A large-screen endzone replay board was installed in 2003 in the North endzone, along with a state-of-the-art Danley sound system. In 2014, Daktronics installed a 1,250 sq-ft video board in the corner of the south endzone. Also installed were 1,800 sq-ft of video ribbon boards that were placed on the front of both the west and east upper decks from endzone to endzone. A new sound system was also installed.

Attendance records[edit]

The largest crowd to see a Troy football game in Veterans Memorial Stadium was 29,278 on September 9, 2017, when the Trojans hosted Alabama State University. Troy won the game by a score of 34-7.

Rank Date Attendance Opponent Result
1 September 9, 2017 29,278 Alabama State W 34–7
2 September 15, 2012 29,013 Mississippi State L, 24–30
3 September 23, 2017 27,324 Akron W, 22–17
4 September 9, 2004 26,574 #17 Missouri W, 24–14
5 September 2, 2006 26,265 Alabama State W, 38–0
6 September 27, 2003 26,000 Marshall W, 33–24
7 November 12, 2016 25,782 Appalachian State W, 28–24
8 October 11, 2017 25,211 South Alabama L, 8-19
9 November 10, 2012 24,321 Navy W, 41–31
10 September 14, 2007 24,102 Oklahoma State W, 41–23

Gameday traditions[edit]

Veterans Memorial Stadium.

One of the main traditions leading up to a Troy football game is the Trojan Walk. The Trojan Walk begins at The Shackelford Quad on campus with the football team leading the Sound of the South and the Troy University cheerleaders as they march toward Tailgate Terrace. Fans generally line up along University Avenue as the players, band, and cheerleaders march by.

Another tradition is the pregame "Fanfare & Taboo"[2] played by the Sound of the South.

Blue-Gray Football Classic[edit]

The stadium hosted the last Blue-Gray Football Classic in 2003 after moving from Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, Alabama, where the game had been played for nearly 62 straight years. The annual college football all-star game was cancelled by the Lions Club of Montgomery, Alabama due to the lack of a title sponsor.

Gallery[edit]

Veterans Memorial Stadium at Larry Blakeney Field
Douglas Hawkins Pressbox Tower 
View of the south endzone and videoboard 

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1][dead link]
  2. ^ Robert Carr (2015-11-27), Sound Of The South - Fanfare & Taboo, retrieved 2017-09-19