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Scott Stadium

October 21, 2010

The northwest end during the summer...

I don’t normally bother to write about an opposing team’s stadium, but this one is worth an exception.

Scott Stadium, built in 1931, is the oldest active football stadium in the Old Dominion State, and bears the name of donor and university rector Frederic Scott. When it first opened it had a single level capable of seating 25,000 spectators, and it was something of a hybrid between a bowl and a horseshoe design — you could call it a bowed horseshoe, or a bowl with an open end — and it featured a view of the Blue Ridge Mountains (specifically Monticello Mountain) out the southeast end. Speaking of the southeast end, the stadium’s alignment is somewhat unusual; most football stadia (particularly more recent purpose-built stadia) are aligned north-south, while a few are aligned east-west (which results in the sun being directly in the face of one team), but Scott Stadium is aligned northwest-southeast.

...and as it will look this weekend.

In 1974 an artificial turf system (Astroturf) was installed, which brought an end to the tradition of a costumed cavalier riding into the stadium on a horse. In 1981 a grass seating/standing area in the northwest end and a partial upper level were added, allowing it to accomodate 41,000 fans. In 1995, a donation from David A. Harrison III allowed the school to switch back to a grass field and resume the tradition of the mounted cavalier. In 2000, another set of donations, this time from Carl Smith, allowed the school to finish the upper level, bringing the stadium to its current seating of 61,500. Smith’s donation also funded the construction of a pergola atop the hill at the northwest end. This string of donations has resulted in the stadium’s unweildy official title, “Carl Smith Center, Home of David A. Harrison III Field at Scott Stadium”. In 2009, a new scoreboard and larger video screen were added.

Traditionally, attendees were expected to dress up for football games, with men wearing coats and ties and women wearing dresses. Beginning in 2003, then-head coach Al Groh encouraged fans to wear orange t-shirts, sparking a campus dispute that was ongoing at least through 2008. Though there seems to be a fair amount of sentiment on the side of tradition, my sense is that the t-shirt wearers are slowly winning out.

Panoramic view of Scott Stadium in 2003

One Comment leave one →
  1. October 21, 2010 8:47 am

    One other aspect of Scott Stadium that I love is the end zone decoration spelling out “Virginia” with each letter in a diamond. I don’t know if there’s any special significance or history to that, but I do like it.

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