Boone Pickens Stadium

(Redirected from Lewis Field)

Boone Pickens Stadium (previously known as Lewis Field) has been home to the Oklahoma State University Cowboys football team in rudimentary form since 1919, and as a complete stadium since 1920. Aligned in an east-west direction since 1920, the field is the oldest in the Big 12 Conference.

Boone Pickens Stadium
"The Boone"
Interior of Boone Pickens Stadium during the 2017 season opener
Boone Pickens Stadium is located in Oklahoma
Boone Pickens Stadium
Boone Pickens Stadium
Location in Oklahoma
Boone Pickens Stadium is located in the United States
Boone Pickens Stadium
Boone Pickens Stadium
Location in the United States
Former namesLewis Field (1920–2002)
Location700 West Hall of Fame Avenue, Stillwater, OK 74078
Coordinates36°7′33″N 97°3′59″W / 36.12583°N 97.06639°W / 36.12583; -97.06639
OwnerT. Boone Pickens
OperatorOklahoma State University
Capacity53,885 (2023)[1]
55,509 (2019–2022)[2]
56,790 (2017–2018)[3]
60,218 (2009–2016)[4]
60,000 (2008)
44,700 (2007)
43,500 (2006)
48,000 (2005)
47,800 (2004)
48,500 (1999–2003)
50,614 (1993–1998)
50,440 (1972–1992)
39,000 (1950–1971)
30,000 (1947–1949)
13,000 (1930–1946)
8,000 (1920–1929)
Record attendance60,218
SurfaceFieldTurf Vertex CORE (2022-present)[5]
AstroTurf 3D Decade (2013–2022)[6]
Desso Artificial Grass (2005–2013)[7]
Astroplay (2000–2004)
AstroTurf (1972–1999)
Grass (1920–1971)
Broke ground1920
OpenedOctober 2, 1920
Expanded1924, 1929, 1947, 1950, 1971, 2009
Construction cost$50,000[8]
($760,465 in 2023 dollars[9])
$286 million (renovation)[10]
($406 million in 2023 dollars[9])
ArchitectGary Sparks (Renovation) Crafton Tull Sparks
Oklahoma State Cowboys (NCAA) (1920–present)
Orange Peel Concert (1996–2006)

With the resurgence of Cowboy football, sparked by the 2001 victory over the Oklahoma Sooners in the annual Bedlam Series game and the subsequent 2002 Houston Bowl season, interest grew for a major overhaul of Lewis Field. An ambitious fund-raising project for the renovation dubbed "The Next Level" became the flagship effort of the Oklahoma State athletic department.

The stadium has a capacity of 53,885.[2]

The "Lewis Field" era edit

Oklahoma State, then known as Oklahoma A&M, first began playing at what would become the original Lewis Field in 1901. Located just north of Morrill Hall and originally known simply as "Athletic Field,"[11] it was renamed Lewis Field in 1914 after Lowery Laymon Lewis, a former dean of veterinary medicine and science and literature and one of the most popular figures in the school’s history.[12] In addition to his duties as dean and instructor at OAMC, Lewis served as the school's acting president in 1914. Under his brief administration, OAMC established the first school of commerce and marketing in the nation and developed experimental stations around the state. In addition to naming the field after him, the students also dedicated the 1914 yearbook, its first, to Lewis.

Lewis Field was relocated to its current site at Boone Pickens Stadium for the 1919 season, following a traditional north-south orientation.[12] In 1920, the school constructed a wooden 8,000-seat grandstand, which approximately corresponds to the lower level of the current facility's north grandstand. The field's orientation was adjusted to an east-west direction to mitigate the impact of strong prevailing winds. It stands as one of only a few major stadiums in the United States with goals positioned at both the east and west ends. Notably, it is the lone stadium with this orientation within the Big 12. As a result, the sun provides a strategic advantage to the team defending the west end zone during sunny afternoon games, while the team defending the east goal must contend with direct and intense sunlight glare.

The university planned to build a horseshoe-shaped stadium, similar to Ohio State University's Ohio Stadium, in the 1920s to be called War Memorial Stadium. These plans were scrapped before any construction of the proposed stadium started, and the first addition to Lewis Field came in 1924 with the first steel and concrete portion of the current stadium built on the south side.[12] During the 1929–1930 seasons, 8,000 permanent seats were built on the north side for an overall capacity of 13,000. In 1947 the south stands were increased from 20 to 53 rows and capacity climbed to nearly 30,000. For the first time, a permanent press box was then added.

Prior to the 1950 season, 10,600 seats were added to the north stands, increasing capacity to 39,000 (including temporary endzone bleachers). After the 1971 season the cinder track was removed, lowering the field 12 feet and making the space between the field and the stadium retaining walls among the smallest in college athletics. Twenty rows of permanent seats were also added to both sides of the stadium. This expansion, including a complete conversion to an artificial turf playing surface, cost $2.5 million and was financed through private donations.

Press box construction was completed in 1980 for $1.8 million. The press box has seating for more than 200 members of the print media, with separate levels for radio/television broadcasters, photographers and VIP seating on the first level capable of handling 300. A lighting system for night games was installed in time for the 1985 season and cost approximately $750,000.

The all-time attendance record for Lewis Field is 51,458 for the Bedlam Series game in 1979.[13]

On August 7, 1976, the field hosted an NFL exhibition game between the Cleveland Browns and the Atlanta Falcons. The field also hosted the Oklahoma Outlaws and the Houston Gamblers of the USFL professional football league in 1984. Due to a conflict at Tulsa's Skelly Stadium, the Outlaws were forced to play their last Exhibition game in Stillwater, losing to the visiting Gamblers by a score of 34–7. Only 6,120 attended the cold February 19 game.[14]

Boone Pickens and "The Next Level" edit

Construction work at Boone Pickens Stadium in February 2006

Lewis Field was officially renamed Boone Pickens Stadium during a halftime ceremony at the 2003 football game versus the University of Wyoming. The stadium’s name was changed to honor OSU alumnus T. Boone Pickens, a Texas oilman and entrepreneur who founded Mesa Petroleum Company in 1956 and served as its CEO from 1956 to 1996. Pickens donated $165 million overall to the university, the largest single donation for athletics to an institution of higher education in American history, to create an “athletic village” on campus, but the construction of the village was postponed due to the economy's downturn.

Pickens' gift helped build the west end zone at Boone Pickens Stadium, a multi-purpose indoor practice complex, new soccer, track and tennis facilities, a new equestrian center, a new baseball stadium (completed in 2020) and new outdoor practice fields. During the 2003 football season, OSU broke ground on a $260 million upgrade to Boone Pickens Stadium which included a brick exterior to match the modified Georgian architecture of the OSU campus, and a connection to the Gallagher-Iba Arena. The stadium turf was replaced in 2005. Boone Pickens Stadium was the second NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision program to install the Desso Sport System's Football Pro Artificial Grass Surface. The first installation was at University of Wyoming's War Memorial Stadium, also in 2005.

The funds used for the expansion of the stadium have been a topic of controversy and discussion among students and the public, including the city of Stillwater. The athletic village came under intense scrutiny within the community and garnered statewide attention. In 2005 and 2006, OSU held "town hall meetings" to allow members of the community to express their concerns. At one meeting in the Stillwater Public Library, Commissioner Hank Moore told then-OSU President David Schmidly, the meeting's moderator, that OSU's actions in implementing the athletic village under the Campus Master Plan contradicted the principles of democracy.[15]

Another hotly contested issue between the Stillwater city commissioners and OSU administrators was the closing of Hall of Fame Avenue, the street running parallel with the north side of the stadium. At the same meeting, Moore said OSU broke a trust agreement with the city on the closing of the street.[citation needed] In January 2007, an agreement was reached regarding Hall of Fame Avenue granting the city ownership, which could revert to OSU if the city opens a roadway specifically to replace it.

During Spring Commencement exercises at the stadium on May 6, 2006, President George W. Bush gave the commencement address, becoming the third U.S. president to speak at an OSU commencement (following George H. W. Bush and Richard Nixon).

Official rededication edit

The stadium was officially re-dedicated as Boone Pickens Stadium on Sept. 5, 2009, when the #9 Cowboys opened the fall football season against #13 Georgia Bulldogs. Prior to the game, there was a grand-opening ceremony outside the stadium. On hand for the ribbon-cutting were coach Mike Gundy, university president Burns Hargis, athletic director Mike Holder and Boone Pickens. Attendance for the game was 53,012, which was a new Oklahoma State Football attendance record surpassing the 52,463 from the 2008 meeting with Troy University.

Attendance records edit

With their success on the football field under Mike Gundy, the Cowboys have set numerous attendance records at Boone Pickens Stadium. The following are the top crowds in the history of Boone Pickens Stadium.

Top 10 Single Game Attendance

Rank Attendance Date Opponent Score Source
1 60,218 Nov. 23, 2013 #3 Baylor W, 49-17 [16]
2 59,638 Oct. 19, 2013 TCU W, 24-10 [17]
3 59,486 Oct. 24, 2015 Kansas W, 58-10 [18]
4 59,124 Oct. 25, 2014 #22 West Virginia L, 10-34 [19]
5 (tied) 59,061 Nov. 7, 2015 #5 TCU W, 49-29 [20]
Sep. 14, 2013 Lamar W, 59-3 [21]
7 58,895 Nov. 5, 2011 #17 Kansas State W, 52-45 [22]
8 58,841 Oct. 5, 2013 Kansas State W, 33-29 [23]
9 58,669 Nov. 22, 2015 #10 Baylor L, 35-45 [24]
10 58,520 Dec. 7, 2013 #18 Oklahoma L, 24-33 [25]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "OSU sells out season tickets for 2023 football season". 14 August 2023.
  2. ^ a b "2019 Oklahoma State Football Media Guide" (PDF). Oklahoma State University Department of Athletics. July 18, 2019. p. 1. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 7, 2019. Retrieved July 27, 2019.
  3. ^ Cooper, Mark (February 20, 2017). "Boone Pickens Stadium Capacity to Shrink, Seats to Widen in 2017". Tulsa World. Retrieved February 21, 2017.
  4. ^ " - Boone Pickens Stadium". Archived from the original on 2011-06-06. Retrieved 2011-02-28.
  5. ^ "Oklahoma State Cowboys Replace Football Field with Latest FieldTurf Technology".
  6. ^ "Oklahoma State Picks Astroturf for Boone Pickens Stadium". Astroturf. March 19, 2014. Archived from the original on August 8, 2014. Retrieved July 25, 2014.
  7. ^ "Oklahoma State University - Data Sheet [PDF File]" (PDF). 1st Turf. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 15, 2006.
  8. ^ "Boone Pickens Stadium History". November 28, 2008. [dead link]
  9. ^ a b 1634–1699: McCusker, J. J. (1997). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States: Addenda et Corrigenda (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1700–1799: McCusker, J. J. (1992). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1800–present: Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved February 29, 2024.
  10. ^ Boone Pickens Stadium Reborn
  11. ^ "Boone Pickens Stadium". Archived from the original on January 23, 2018. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
  12. ^ a b c "Boone Pickens Stadium". Oklahoma State University Athletics. Retrieved 2021-04-25.
  13. ^ BPS History - Lewis Field Legends Archived September 15, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ "Gamblers Trounce Outlaws 34–7". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Associated Press. February 20, 1984. p. 9B. Retrieved July 27, 2019.
  15. ^ "Athletic village — it could be all for nothing". The Daily O'Collegian. Archived from the original on January 30, 2013.
  16. ^ "#3 Baylor (9-1, 6-1) -VS- #11 Oklahoma State (10-1, 7-1)". Oklahoma State University Department of Athletics. November 23, 2013. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
  17. ^ "TCU (3-4, 1-3) -VS- #21 Oklahoma State (5-1, 2-1)". Oklahoma State University Department of Athletics. October 19, 2013. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
  18. ^ "Kansas (0-7, 0-4) -VS- #14 Oklahoma State (7-0, 4-0)". Oklahoma State University Department of Athletics. October 24, 2015. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
  19. ^ "#22 West Virginia (6-2, 4-1) -VS- Oklahoma State (5-3, 3-2)". Oklahoma State University Department of Athletics. October 25, 2014. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
  20. ^ "#5 TCU (8-1, 5-1) -VS- #12 Oklahoma State (9-0, 6-0)". Oklahoma State University Department of Athletics. November 7, 2015. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
  21. ^ "Lamar (1-2) -VS- #12 Oklahoma State (3-0)". Oklahoma State University Department of Athletics. September 14, 2013. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
  22. ^ "#14 Kansas State (7-2, 3-2) -VS- #3 Oklahoma State (9-0, 6-0)". Oklahoma State University Department of Athletics. November 5, 2011. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
  23. ^ "Kansas State (2-3, 0-2) -VS- #21 Oklahoma State (4-1, 1-1)". Oklahoma State University Department of Athletics. October 5, 2013. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
  24. ^ "#10 Baylor (9-1, 6-1) -VS- #4 Oklahoma State (10-1, 7-1)". Oklahoma State University Department of Athletics. November 22, 2015. Retrieved July 27, 2019.
  25. ^ "#18 Oklahoma (10-2, 7-2) -VS- #6 Oklahoma State (10-2, 7-2)". Oklahoma State University Department of Athletics. December 7, 2013. Retrieved November 14, 2015.

External links edit