Veterans Memorial Stadium (Troy University)


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 coach with the most wins in Troy history.

Veterans Memorial Stadium, Larry Blakeney Field
"The Vet"
Veterans Memorial Stadium Aerial view.jpeg
Aerial view of Veterans Memorial Stadium, 2018
Veterans Memorial Stadium is located in Alabama
Veterans Memorial Stadium
Veterans Memorial Stadium
Location in Alabama
Veterans Memorial Stadium is located in the United States
Veterans Memorial Stadium
Veterans Memorial Stadium
Location in the United States
Former namesVeterans 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)
LocationGeorge C. Wallace Dr, Troy, Alabama 36081
Coordinates31°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
Public transitTrojan Transportation
OwnerTroy University
OperatorTroy University
Capacity30,420
Record attendance29,612 September 1, 2018 vs Boise State
SurfaceMatrix Helix RealFill
ScoreboardDaktronics 15HD (3,150 sq. ft.)
Daktronics 15HD (1,240 sq. ft.)
2 Daktronics Slim-LED Ribbon Boards
Construction
Broke ground1950
OpenedSeptember 16, 1950
Expanded1998, 2003, 2017
Construction cost$65,000 (Original)
ArchitectHOK Sport (2003 renovation)
Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood (2017 renovation)
Main contractorsWhaley Construction
Tenants
Troy Trojans (NCAA) (1950–present)
Charles Henderson High School
Blue-Gray Football Classic (2003)

HistoryEdit

 
Movie Gallery Stadium 2005 & The Sound of the South

Early historyEdit

Veterans Memorial Stadium was originally dedicated in 1950 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 has been expanded or renovated several times over the past few decades.

1998 renovationEdit

In 1998, the stadium underwent a major renovation. A large upper deck was added on the west side of the stadium, increasing capacity from 12,000 seats to 17,500 seats. A new scoreboard with a small video board was also added.

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 in 2003; he was later tried for these, but acquitted. (Scrushy was later convicted of other unrelated crimes, along with former Alabama governor Don Siegelman.)

2003 renovationEdit

Renovations were again carried out in 2003, just two seasons after 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. A much larger, 6-story press box/box tower was built behind the newly-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 east grandstand seating was completely demolished and rebuilt, adding a new lower deck and upper deck. As a result of the seat additions and renovations, the stadium's seating capacity expanded to 30,000. The stadium was now a flattened "U" shape. A large-screen end zone replay board was installed in 2003 in the North end zone, along with a state-of-the-art Danley sound system.

The natural grass surface was also removed in 2003, being 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.

Construction costs for the 2003 renovation/expansion 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,[citation needed] at which point the venue reverted to its original name.

2012/2014 renovationsEdit

During this time, no major renovations were performed that would affect seating capacity. A few moderate renovations were performed, with the first being that the AstroPlay synthetic grass surface was replaced by the new ProGrass synthetic turf system in 2012.

In 2014, the next renovation was to add a 1,240-square-foot (115 m2) Daktronics 15HD LED video board in the eastern corner of the south end zone above the lower stands. In addition to this, new 300 feet (91 m) long Daktronics Slim-LED video ribbon boards were installed front of the both the east and west upper decks. A new sound system was also installed.[citation needed]

2017 renovationEdit

On November 12, 2016 ground was broken on the $24-million North End zone Facility with a completion date for 2018. The facility will add 402 club-level seats and the plans call for a first-floor that houses a 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 3,150-square-foot (293 m2) Daktronics 15HD LED video board is also being installed on the top of the facility, which will be the largest video board in the Sun Belt Conference, as well as one of the largest video boards among Group of Five programs.[citation needed]


 
2018 Panorama of Veterans Memorial Stadium at Larry Blakeney Field

FeaturesEdit

  • Six-story box/press box tower that houses 27 sky-boxes, a media hosting facility, a Club area that houses more than 1,000 guests, and floors dedicated to sports medicine, academics, strength and conditioning, and media relations.
  • Three-story north end zone facility with 402 stadium-club seats, locker rooms, strength & conditioning center, athletic training facility, nutrition station, cool-down pools, team lounge, recruiting lounge, football staff offices, and meeting rooms. with Daktronics installed a 1,250-square-foot (116 m2) video board in the corner of the south end zone. Also installed were 1,800-square-foot (170 m2) of video ribbon boards that were placed on the front of both the west and east upper decks from end zone to end zone. A new sound system was also installed.
  • ProGrass synthetic grass turf.
  • Daktronics 15HD LED video board in the north end zone (3,150 sq ft (293 m2))
  • Daktronics 15HD LED video board in the south end zone corner (1,240 sq ft (115 m2))
  • Two Daktronics Slim-LED ribbon boards on both east and west upper decks.
  • Tailgate Terrace just outside of the stadium main entrance.
  • Multiple concession areas serving a variety of foods and drinks, including Domino's Pizza and Chick-fil-A. Troy is also one of the less than 30 universities that sell alcoholic-drinks during football games. The university has an exclusive deal with Anheuser-Busch.[citation needed]

Attendance recordsEdit

The largest crowd to see a Troy football game in Veterans Memorial Stadium was 29,612 on September 1, 2018, when the Trojans hosted Boise State. Troy lost by a final score of 59-20.

Rank Date Attendance Opponent Result
1 September 1, 2018 29,612 No. 22 Boise State L 59–20
2 September 9, 2017 29,278 Alabama State W 34–7
3 September 15, 2012 29,013 Mississippi State L, 24–30
4 September 23, 2017 27,324 Akron W, 22–17
5 September 14, 2019 27,108 Southern Miss L, 42–47
6 September 9, 2004 26,574 No. 17 Missouri W, 24–14
7 September 28, 2019 26,437 Arkansas State L, 43–50
8 September 2, 2006 26,265 Alabama State W, 38–0
9 September 27, 2003 26,000 Marshall W, 33–24
10 November 12, 2016 25,782 Appalachian State W, 28–24

Gameday traditionsEdit

 
Veterans Memorial Stadium.

Trojan WalkEdit

Before each Troy home football game, hundreds of Troy fans and students line University Avenue on campus to cheer on the team as they march with the Sound of the South band and cheerleaders from the Quad to Tailgate Terrace, surrounded by fans who pat them on the back and shake their hands as they walk toward Veterans Memorial Stadium.

Trojan FanfareEdit

During the pre-game show at Veterans Memorial Stadium, the Sound of the South will perform what is known as the "Trojan Fanfare." It is a favorite among most fans and energizes the fanbase leading up to kickoff.

"Havoc!"Edit

One of the more popular traditions of gameday, during the pre-game show the band marches onto the field to prepare for the football team to run out of the gates. The band falls silent, and the announcer then recites the phrase from William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. Fans in the stadium will yell out "Havoc!" in unison along with the announcer before the last line of the phrase:

And so, with mighty warriors clad in strongest armor
and well prepared to receive the lot dealt by fate
the contest is at hand.
And the commander's spirit, ranging for revenge
shall in a monarch's voice cry, 'Havoc!'
and let slip the dogs of war.

Trojan WarriorEdit

Before every game and after every touchdown, the Trojan Warrior or Trojan Princess would blaze down the football field on a horse named "Big Red." This tradition is no longer used because the football field turf was changed from real grass to artificial grass.

Blue–Gray Football ClassicEdit

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.

GalleryEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit