|Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium|
|Location||600 East Stadium Boulevard|
Columbia, Missouri 65201
|Broke ground||December 9, 1925|
|Opened||October 2, 1926|
|Renovated||1978, 2003, 2012|
|Expanded||1949-1950, 1961-1963, 1971 |
1978, 1996, 2003, 2009
|Owner||University of Missouri|
|Operator||University of Missouri|
|Surface||Grass 1926 to 1984 and 1995 to 2002|
Omniturf 1985 to 1994
FieldTurf 2003 to present
($6.89 million in 2012 dollars)
|Architect||Jamieson and Spearl (original)|
Ellerbe Becket (renovation)
|Tenants||Missouri Tigers (NCAA) (1926–present)|
|Capacity||77,000 (2015-future) |
Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium is the home field of the University of Missouri Tigers in Columbia, Missouri. It is primarily used for football. In 1972, Memorial Stadium's playing surface was named Faurot Field in honor of longtime coach Don Faurot. During the offseason, soccer goals are set up in the end zones and it is used for intramural matches. It also hosts the annual "Providence Bowl" game between Hickman and Rock Bridge high schools (so named because both schools are located on Providence Road in Columbia, and Faurot is roughly equidistant between the two) and in the past has been home to the MSHSAA football championships, now held in St. Louis (taking advantage of the climate-controlled atmosphere of the Edward Jones Dome). It is the second largest sports facility by capacity in the state of Missouri, second to Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.
When full, Faurot Field would be the ninth-largest city in the state of Missouri.
The stadium is a typical horseshoe-shaped stadium, with seating added on in the "open" endzone. The horseshoe is completed by a grass berm in the curved end, which is used for general admission on game days. The berm is famous for the giant block "M" made of painted white stones located behind the endzone.
There is road between the field and the stands around the entire length of the horseshoe, taking the place of the track, removed in the mid-1990s.
Early history[edit | edit source]
Fundraising began in 1921 for a "Memorial Union" and a "Memorial Stadium" to be constructed at the University. The names of the two projects were a tribute to Mizzou alumni who lost their lives during World War I. Ground was broken on the site of the future stadium in December 1925. The site was a sizeable natural valley that lay between twin bluffs south of the campus. Original plans called for the stadium to seat 25,000, with proposed stages of expansion in capacity to 35,000, 55,000, 75,000 and 95,000. According to legend, a rock crusher and truck were buried during initial blasting, and they still remain buried under the field.
Memorial Stadium was dedicated on October 2, 1926, to the memory of 112 alumni and students who lost their lives in World War I. The 25,000-seat stadium was built with a 440 yard (400 m) track that circled the playing field. That first October game against Tulane was marred by rainstorms that washed out a bridge into Columbia coming from the western side of Missouri. While the game sold out, the field could not be sodded due to the wet conditions. Therefore, a surface of sawdust and tree bark was used, and "the Tigers and Green Wave played to a scoreless, mudpie tie", in the words of sportswriter Bob Broeg. Grass would not be installed until the 1980s.
The highly recognizable rock 'M' of the northern end zone debuted on October 1, 1927, to a 13-6 victory over Kansas State. The monument was built by members of the freshman class using leftover rocks from the original stadium construction. The 90 ft (0 m) wide by 95 ft (0 m) high 'M' has continued to watch over the field and provide seating for fans since that day.
Mizzou earned its largest margin of victory ever at Memorial Stadium on September 17, 2011. Under Coach Gary Pinkel, the Tigers defeated Western Illinois University by a score of 69–0.
Traditions[edit | edit source]
Rock M[edit | edit source]
The stadiums most historic and identifiable landmark is the rock "M" above the stadium's north end zone. The "M" is formed by whitewashed rocks, and it measures 90-feet-wide by 95-feet-high. The landmark was built in 1927 by students, using leftover rocks from the original construction of Memorial Stadium. This distinctive feature has not been immune to pranks, such as enterprising Nebraska or Kansas fans attempting to change the "M" to an "N" or a "K", but groundskeepers and students have in the past protected what may be the stadium's best-known landmark. One of the traditions of the football team is that seniors, after playing their final home game, take a rock from the "M" as a souvenir. The rock "M" is also whitewashed every year by incoming freshmen during welcoming activities prior to the first home game.
MIZ-ZOU Chant[edit | edit source]
The "M-I-Z," "Z-O-U," chant came about in the 1970s. After a game against Ohio State, famous for its "O-H," "I-O," the chant was adadpted for Missouri. Today the chant is led by the "Big MO" drum (the worlds largest marching bass drum). The student section yells out "M-I-Z" and the alumni section responds "Z-O-U".
Gold Rush[edit | edit source]
Traditionally, all fans were encouraged to wear gold to one game a season, which was known as the Gold Rush game. The atmosphere of the 2007 Gold Rush game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers was so successful that Coach Pinkel and the Athletic Department requested that all fans wear only gold shirts to all remaining games except during the black-out game (traditionally the final home game of the year). This has been met with general success and has been embraced by fans. Following the 2007 season, the first home game of the season has been designated as the Gold Rush Kickoff game, and fans wear gold to all remaining home games with the exception of the black-out game. The sea of gold in the stands has become an identity of Faurot Field.
Other Traditions[edit | edit source]
The intro song for the football team is "Welcome to the Jungle."
Quantrill "Q" flags often make appearances around the stadium and in tailgating. These flags are in reference to Confederate guerrilla William Quantrill who raided, sacked, and burned down Lawrence, KS during the civil war. A Quantrill flag currently hangs in the team locker room.
Expansion and Renovation[edit | edit source]
1960's - 1980's[edit | edit source]
Throughout its history, numerous expansion and renovation projects have taken place at Faurot Field. In 1967 the MU Board of Curators awarded contracts totaling $460,000 for construction of a new three story press box. The new press box was completed for the start of the 1969 season.
In 1974, Athletic Director Mel Sheehan studied the possibility of lowering the field to add additional seats on each side closer to the sidelines, but the plan did not move forward due to a prevalence of bedrock just below the playing surface.
During the summer of 1978, the south endzone was enclosed with 10,800 permanent seats, which brought total seating capacity to 62,023.
On May 18, 1985, the project began to convert the natural grass surface to a new artificial surface called Omniturf. The conversion was completed on August 30. Missouri was the last school in the Big Eight Conference to switch from grass to artificial turf. Six of the other seven conference schools switched to artificial turf in the early 1970s, and Iowa State followed suit in 1975 when the Cyclones' new Jack Trice Stadium opened. The first game on the new artificial turf was a 27–23 loss to Northwestern University played on September 14, 1985. The Tigers went on to finish 0–7 at home during the 1985 season. The OmniTurf surface became infamous to Tiger fans as the "lousy field" on which The Fifth Down Game was played on October 6, 1990. Troubles continued on the artificial surface, and in 1992, Big Eight Conference coaches issued a statement that read, in part: "Big Eight Conference football coaches wanted to report that the football field at the University of Missouri is a detriment to the home and visiting teams and takes away from the integrity of the game played on such a field."
1990's[edit | edit source]
On September 18, 1994, The Rolling Stones performed, during their Voodoo Lounge Tour, before 45,000 fans at Memorial Stadium in a concert that raised almost $100,000 for the conversion of the Omniturf surface back to natural grass. The final game on the infamous Omniturf surface was played on November 19 of that same year against the Kansas Jayhawks, a 31-14 Kansas victory. Mizzou's all-time record on the Omiturf was a disappointing 20–38–3.
The artificial Omniturf playing surface was removed and replaced with natural grass over the summer of 1995. Legendary Coach Don Faurot put down the last piece of sod as a symbolic gesture. Faurot had helped to lay the sod of the original playing surface in 1926. He died later that year in October, during Homecoming week. As part of the installation of the new playing surface, grass-covered terraces were extended up from the field to the seating area, where they met a new low brick wall that was designed to give Memorial Stadium a traditional college ambiance. The brick wall also honors the greatest figures in Tiger football (including Faurot, Kellen Winslow and Dan Devine) by listing the team's honored numbers on each panel. The first game on the new natural grass resulted in a 28–7 victory for Mizzou over North Texas. The game was also historic as the first game played under permanent lights—previously, night games only were played under temporary lights paid for by television broadcasters, and as part of the renovations four large light stanchions were erected outside each corner of the stadium.
In 1996 four permanent light towers were installed, allowing Missouri to begin playing night games on a regular basis. In the first night game played under the permanent lights, the Memphis Tigers upset Missouri with a 19-16 upset win on September 14, 1996.
1997 brought a major renovation that included the installation of the Diamond Vision video board above the Rock "M" at the north end zone. The video board measured 21 feet high by 27 feet wide, and the screen utilized Clearvision Signal Processing. The concourses were also refurbished, with new signage and expanded concessions. New ticket booths were constructed, and the north entrance was reconfigured with more brick work to accent the new brick wall installed at field level in 1995.
2000 to present[edit | edit source]
Prior to the start of the 1999 football season, construction of a new press box and luxury suites began. The $13.1 million 15-story tower was completed in August 2000, and it contained state-of-the-art facilities for the coaches and media, as well as several executive suites, hundreds of premium club seats and a restaurant.
FieldTurf replaced the natural grass in 2003. With installation of the new FieldTurf, the traditional "M" was removed from the 50 yard line of the field, and it was replaced by the oval "Power Tiger" logo at the center of the field.
In 2005, the south end's antiquated auxiliary scoreboards were replaced with new ones, as well as a second high-definition video monitor.
In 2009, the university installed a new $5 million 30x80 foot north end zone scoreboard with updated video capabilities and new sound system. The new north end zone video board and audio upgrades replaced the current 10 year old equipment. At the time of construction, it was the fourth largest scoreboard in the Big 12 Conference, sitting behind Godzillatron at Texas' DKR Stadium , the south scoreboard at Owen Field in Norman, Oklahoma, and "12th Man TV" at Kyle Field in College Station. When the Tigers enter Southeastern Conference play, the Faurot Field video scoreboard will be the ninth largest in the SEC.
In 2011, the university partnered with Levy Restaurants to expand menu options in the stadium. This includes the Faurotious Field Dawg (hot dog with buffalo sauce and blue cheese), the The Big Zou Dawg (potato salad, baked beans, barbecue sauce and cheddar cheese), and the Touchdown Taco Dawg (taco meat, lettuce, cheddar cheese, pico de gallo, sour cream and jalapenos). It also brought about a new food tradition, the "Mac and Cheese Burnt End Sandwich" which quickly caught on with fans and is now becoming a popular item for tailgating. This change still hasn't helped one of Faurot's notorious issues, lack of water for fans. The stadium has often been criticized for running out of bottled water during the warmer games early in the season.
In 2012, Athletic Director Mike Alden announced a $1.5 million modification plan for Faurot Field in anticipation of increased game attendance in the SEC. Changes to the stadium for the 2012 season include a redesigned FieldTurf surface featuring a larger "Power Tiger" logo at midfield, SEC conference logos, black and gold "M-I-Z-Z-O-U" endzone diamonds to replace the previous white "M-I-S-S-O-U-R-I" diamonds, and gold trim surrounding the field. Additionally, Marching Mizzou was moved from the south endzone to the southeast corner of the seating bowl, and a "Touchdown Terrace" premium seating section was added to the south endzone. 
Future projects[edit | edit source]
- By the 2013 season, the west side press box complex will be renovated, moving all press facilities to the sixth floor and converting the existing space to new premium suites.
- By the 2013 season, the "Rock M" and grass berm will be moved closer to the north endzone and the northern concourse will be expanded.
- By 2015, an upper bowl is planned for the east side of the stadium, which would provide 5,200 general admission seats and a premium seating of 800. These additions would make Faurot Field the ninth largest stadium in the Southeastern Conference ahead of Arkansas, Kentucky, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt.
Many fansTemplate:Who have expressed interest in expanding the south stands to be more uniform with the rest of the stadium, adding features such as bathrooms and permanent food stands in the process. However, this project may be hampered by the fact that the south end is very close to the water table, and that any added construction will run into problems associated with this.Template:Cn
Record crowds[edit | edit source]
The stadium officially holds 71,004 people. The record attendance for Faurot Field is 75,298 when Missouri hosted Penn State on October 4, 1980.
All-Time Largest Crowds
- 75,298, vs. Penn State, Oct. 4, 1980
- 75,136, vs. Texas, Sept. 29, 1979
- 74,575, vs. Nebraska, Nov. 3, 1979
- 73,655, vs. Alabama, Sept. 16, 1978
- 72,348, vs. Nebraska, Oct. 15, 1983
- 72,333, vs. Colorado, Oct. 18, 1980
- 72,001, vs. Nebraska, Oct. 24, 1981
- 71,291, vs. Oklahoma, Nov. 17, 1979
- 71,096, vs. Colorado, Oct. 28, 1978
- 71,004, vs. Texas, Oct. 24, 2009
- 71,004, vs. Oklahoma, Oct. 23, 2010
- 71,004, vs. Iowa State, Oct. 15, 2011
- 71,004, vs. Georgia, Sept. 8, 2012
- 71,004, vs. Arizona State, Sept. 15, 2012
- 71,004, vs. Alabama, Oct. 13, 2012
Largest Crowds Since 1995 (when possible seating was reduced to 68,174 capacity from 75,000)
For the 2008 season official seating capacity was increased to 68,349.
For the 2009 season official seating capacity was increased to 71,004.
- 71,004, vs. Alabama, Oct. 13, 2012
- 71,004, vs. Arizona State, Sept. 15, 2012
- 71,004, vs. Georgia, Sept. 8, 2012
- 71,004, vs. Iowa State, Oct. 15, 2011
- 71,004, vs. Oklahoma, Oct. 23, 2010
- 71,004, vs. Texas, Oct. 24, 2009
- 70,049, vs. Nebraska, Oct. 6, 2007
- 68,349, vs. Kansas State, Nov. 8, 2008
- 68,349, vs. Colorado, Oct. 25, 2008
- 68,349, vs. Oklahoma State, Oct. 11, 2008
- 68,349, vs. Nebraska, Oct. 11, 2003
- 68,174, vs. Nebraska, Sept. 25, 1999
- 68,174, vs. Kansas State, Nov. 21, 1998
- 67,853, vs. Kentucky, Oct. 27, 2012
- 66,846, vs. Nebraska, Nov. 8, 1997
References[edit | edit source]
- "Start New Stadium", December 10, 1925.
- "Memorial Tower at Missouri University Is Now Completed", April 24, 1926.
- Faurot Field - ellerbebecket.com - Retrieved October 8, 2009
- Durando, Stu. "Mizzou to weigh improving Faurot Field", June 26, 2012. Retrieved on September 15, 2012.
- Mizzou Football Guide 09 (PDF), p. 5
- 2005 Mizzou Football Media Guide. p21.
- University of Missouri, Official Athletic Site of the Mizzou Tigers Facilities
- "Rivals Battle for Press Box Supremacy. Lawrence Journal-World. September 15, 1999. 3C
- 2005 Mizzou Football Media Guide. p 23
- "2008 Progress Continues at the Sports Park at MU". Tiger Row. Summer 2008. p19.
- Athletics Receives $30 Million Gift For Facility Plans. mutigers.com. University of Missouri Athletic Department (June 26, 2012). Retrieved on September 15, 2012.
[edit | edit source]
The storied history of Memorial Stadium/Faurot Field combines the best of old and new. Opened in 1926, the stadium has seen tremendous growth throughout the years, but Tiger fans are proud of the traditional feel and atmosphere the stadium lends itself to on game day.
The newest addition to the game-day atmosphere was unveiled prior to the 2009 home opener, when a high-definition video board debuted. With a video display spanning 80-feet by 31 1/2 feet, the new display gives Tiger fans some of the best HD viewing in the Midwest, to go along with an improved sound system throughout the stadium.
For more information on Faurot Field/Memorial Stadium, visit this timeline of events in its history.
Among the features installed prior to the 2003 season was a state-of-the-art artificial playing surface, called FieldTurf. The project to convert the old natural grass surface (on which Mizzou played from 1995-2000) began in April of 2003 and was completed on June 26th. FieldTurf provides the reliability and consistency of artificial surfaces, but is head and shoulders above all other projects in terms of offering the look and feel, and safety of natural grass. The Tigers enjoyed great success on the surface in 2003, as Mizzou went a perfect 6-0 at Faurot Field, setting a school record for most home wins in a season.
That record has since been tied twice, as the Tigers used the home field advantage to post records of 6-1 in 2006 and 6-0 in 2007 at Faurot Field. Entering the 2010 season, the Tigers have won 24 of their last 29 there overall.
The stadium, built at a cost of $350,000, was the product of Coach Gwinn Henry’s championship seasons of 1924-25, and a vision of athletic director Chester L. Brewer. It was carved out of “a sizeable natural valley that lay between twin bluffs south of the University,” chronicled Bob Broeg, longtime sports editor of the St. Louis Post-dispatch, and unofficial historian of Missouri football.
Though the seating capacity is listed at 71,004, crowds in excess of 75,000 have seen the Tigers play in Columbia – against Texas in 1979, and a record 75,298 against Penn State in 1980.
Mizzou packed in a modern-day record crowd of 71,004 on Oct. 24, 2009 against Texas – marking the largest crowd to see a game at Faurot Field since 1983.
Mizzou’s average attendance for six home games in 2008 was a stout 64,520, which was the highest season average since 1980, followed by an average of 64,120 in 2009.
Coach Don Faurot’s powerhouse Split “T” teams in the late ‘30’s and ‘40’s helped pay off the stadium bonds – along the Faurot’s brave scheduling of Ohio State for nine straight years at Columbus, and big paydays from games with NYU and Fordham back east.
Peak attendance in the Tigers’ single-tiered football arena was 30,832, who crammed into temporary bleachers and sat on the hillside to watch Faurot’s team upset SMU, 20-14 in 1948.
A year later, the stadium underwent its first facelift with the addition of sections in the center of the west side, boosting the number of rows from 40 to 78. Those piecemeal additions continued sporadically until the summer of 1965, when the final two sections on the southeast corner were completed in the two-tired horseshoe.
The playing field adopted a new name in 1972 – Faurot Field – in honor of the legendary Mizzou football coach and athletic director whose teams and administrative leadership helped mightily to pay off the mortgage. As a matter of fact, Faurot a graduate student in 1926, helped lay the stadium’s sod. He made one last symbolic contribution to the field, dropping in the last square of turf in June 1995, when Mizzou converted its previous artificial surface to natural grass. He died later than year, during Homecoming week.
The traditional block “M,” carved from stone by the freshman class in 1927, guards the stadium’s north endzone and gives Memorial Stadium one of the more unique landmarks around the country.
The “M,” formed by whitewashed rocks, is 90-feet wide and 95-feet high. Mizzou’s yearbook, the Savitar, recounted the debut of the Missouri landmark on Oct. 1, 1927, when the Tigers defeated Kansas State, 13-6:
“Five-hundred freshmen joined hands and encircled the cinder track in a single line while the bland played ‘Old Missouri’ in the center of the field. The pennants of all the Missouri Valley fluttered and danced above the stadium on the long line at the open end of the gridiron. A huge stone M – the work of the Frosh the night before – loomed up white and threatening against the bankment.”
The “M” has weathered the good and bad times. In 1957, a group of pranksters changed the “M” to an “N” the night before the Missouri-Nebraska game. But, the Mizzou groundskeeper, with the help of some young boys who gained free admission to the game in exchange for their assistance, restored the “M” to his proper form before kickoff.
In 1995, Mizzou converted Faurot Field from an artificial surface known as OmniTurf (which graced the field from 1985-1994) to natural grass. The field was not the only cosmetic change made to Faurot Field in 1995. Grass-covered terraces now extend upwards from field level to the grandstands, where they meet a brick wall that adds a traditional collegiate ambiance to the stadium. The hill on the north end of the field was re-graded to provide a consistent “bowl” and is now framed by nearly 600 bushes.
Over the last 20 years, upgrades to the stadium’s superstructure have been made, giving the natural bowl the tender loving care it needs to remain as the home of the Tigers for many years to come. In 1991, all of the stadium’s old cypress bleachers were replaced with aluminum. Work in the stadium in 1995 also addressed accessibility issues. Seating sections and vomitories were modified to allow wheelchair access on both the east and west sides. Restrooms and concessions stands were replaced, as were the concourse surfaces beneath the grandstands in the next phase of the project, which was completed in 1997. The $12 million effort also included new ticket booths, a reconfigured north entrance, more brickwork to accent what was installed at field leve in 1995, and parking lot improvements. A portion of the project was completed in 1996, installing four light towers for night games. On gamedays, the Tigers enjoy a spacious locker room, completed in 1992.
Tucked beneath the south stands is the facility which includes large and comfortable dressing quarters for players and coaches, state-of-the-art medical facilities including X-ray equipment, and a large interview room which enables 50 reporters to comfortably execute their post-game duties.
Prior to the 2006 season, scoreboards were installed above the south end zone stands, complete with messaging capability that keep fans updated on key game statistics and national scores.
Faurot Field had an artificial surface once before 1985 – for its very first game in 1926. Construction of the sunken stadium seating 25,000 spectators went down to the wire in the fall of ’26 with the heaviest September rainfall in 35 years contributing to the delay.
Time ran out before the playing surface could be sodded for the Oct. 2 opener with Tulane. Constant rains washed out a bridge east of Columbia, and though repaired in time, slightly more than 10,000 drenched fans showed up for the opening ceremonies.
Without sod, sawdust and tanbark were spread on the field as an alternative, and the Tigers and the Green Wave played to a “scoreless, mudpie tie,” bob Broeg wrote in his two historical books on Mizzou football.