Memorial Stadium/Faurot Field
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.
Fans will see many changes for 2013 when they visit the stadium, including a newly-renovated west press box/luxury suite tower, as well as a change to the historical hill beyond the north end zone.
The hill was moved closer to the field over the summer to allow for an expansion of the north concourse area – -providing much more space for fans to congregate during games. The historic Rock M was broken down and stored away safely during the summer and brought back to be reconstructed with the same rocks to maintain the important historical landmark that Tiger fans have grown to love.
One other project will be visible for the next two years – -the construction of a brand-new suite and club lounge tower on the east side of the stadium which will mirror the current structure on the west side. Plans call for the east side structure to be completed in time for the 2014 season. The east side construction will impact some seating on the east side for 2013, and as of March, details weren't yet known exactly how that will affect the official capacity of the stadium for the upcoming season.
Prior to the 2012 season, a sparkling brand-new FieldTurf field was installed on Faurot Field, to commemorate Mizzou's first year in the Southeastern Conference, as well as to reflect a new graphic identity partnership with Nike.
An exciting new 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 give Tiger fans some of the best HD viewing in the Midwest, to go along with an improved sound system throughout the stadium.
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.
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. That was matched in 2010 against Oklahoma during Mizzou's memorable Homecoming win over the top-ranked Sooners, and matched again in 2011 against Iowa State, and in 2012 versus Georgia, Arizona State and Alabama.
Mizzou's average attendance for seven home games in 2013 was a stout 67,476, which was the highest season average since 1980, and which ranked Mizzou 24th in the NCAA in average attendance.
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 piece-meal 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 25 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. The Tigers gameday lockerroom, located underneath the south stands, was 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.
MU at Memorial Stadium
- Record:265-172-20 (87 seasons)
- Most Consecutive Winning Seasons: 6, 1938-43
- Most Games, Season: 7, 1956 (3-3-1), 1981 (5-2), 1983 (5-2), 1985 (0-7), 1987 (4-3), 2006 (6-1), 2012 (3-4)
- Most Wins, Season: 6, 2003 (6-0), 2006 (6-1), 2007 (6-0), 2010 (6-0)
- Most Losses, Season: 7, 1985 (0-7)
- Most Consecutive Wins: 20, 1938-43
- Longest Unbeaten Streak: 20, 1938-43
- Most Consecutive Losses: 8, 1984-85
- Undefeated Seasons: 15, 1926 (3-0-2), 1927 (3-0), 1936 (4-0), 1939 (4-0), 1940 (4-0), 1941 (4-0), 1942 (4-0), 1945 (3-0), 1948 (4-0), 1960 (5-0), 1962 (4-0-1), 1969 (5-0), 1974 (5-0), 1982 (5-0-1), 2003 (6-0), 2007 (6-0), 2010 (6-0)
- Winless Seasons: 5, 1932 (0-3-1), 1934 (0-4), 1955 (0-5), 1985 (0-7), 1994 (0-6)
- Record on Natural Grass (1926-84, 95-2002): 198-119-17 (.618)
- Record on Omniturf (1985-94): 20-38-3 (.352)
- Record on FieldTurf (2003-Present): 47-15 (.758)
|HOME GAMES* ||OPPONENT ||DATE
|1. ||75,298 ||Penn State ||Oct. 4, 1980
||Oct. 13, 2012
||Oct. 4, 1975
|2. ||75,136 ||Texas ||Sept. 29, 1979
||Sept. 15, 2012
||Oct. 18, 2008
|3. ||74,575 ||Nebraska ||Nov. 3, 1979
||Sept. 8, 2012
||at Ohio State
||Sept. 19, 1998
|4. ||73,655 ||Alabama ||Sept. 16, 1978
||Oct. 15, 2011
||Nov. 3, 2012
|5. ||72,348 ||Nebraska ||Oct. 15, 1983
||Oct. 23, 2010
||Nov. 10, 2012
|6. ||72,333 ||Colorado ||Oct. 18, 1980
||Oct. 24, 2009
||at Ohio State
||Sept. 25, 1976
|7. ||72,001 ||Nebraska ||Oct. 24, 1981
||Oct. 6, 2007
||at Texas A&M
||Nov. 24, 2012
|8. ||71,291 ||Oklahoma ||Nov. 17, 1979
||Nov. 8, 2008
||at Texas A&M
||Oct. 29, 2011
|9. ||71,096 ||Colorado ||Oct. 28, 1978
||Oct. 25, 2008
||Oct. 30, 2010
||6x, most rec.
||Oct. 13, 2012
||Oct. 11, 2008
||Oct. 24, 2011
||Oct. 11, 2003
|* - Note: The current seating capacity was lowered to 68,349 in 1995, and raised to 71,004 in 2009.