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Gaylord Family - Oklahoma Memorial Stadium is one of America's most recognized college football cathedrals. Situated on the east side of the Norman campus, this historical facility is the largest sports arena in the state and ranks among the 15 largest on-campus facilities in the nation.
Oklahoma currently has the longest home win streak in the nation and is riding the longest home win streak in the program's history. Every home game of the Stoops' era has been a sellout.
Memorial Stadium's rich heritage has not hindered its evolution, a never-ending growth fueled by the football program's overwhelming popularity. Almost since its inception, the stadium has been a work in progress.
In 1921, University of Oklahoma students started a movement for construction of a student union. By 1925, the idea had grown to include a combined football stadium/student union. In the original architect's drawings, the north end of the proposed structure was strikingly similar to the present Oklahoma Memorial Union, which eventually was constructed separately when head coach Bennie Owen suggested it would be best to raise funds for a union and a stadium.
The first game played at the site took place Oct. 20,1923 (a 63-7 win over Washington, Mo.), before the stadium/union plan got under way. The field was named Owen Field after Owen, who became a charter member of the National Football Hall of Fame.
In 1925, the first contest was played in front of the new stands on the west side of the field. The 16,000-seat Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, named in honor of University personnel who died in World War I, was erected at a cost of approximately $293,000.
Stands on the east side of the stadium were added prior to the 1929 season. That addition increased the seating capacity to 32,000, where it stood for 20 years. In 1949, OU president George L. Cross pushed for expansion and the result was a six-foot lowering of the old playing surface and the elimination of a running track that surrounded the playing area. The changes produced 7,000 new ringside seats and brought capacity to 55,000. The north end of the stadium also was enclosed. In 1957, green grandstand bleachers were added to the south end of the field, enabling the stadium to hold 61,836 fans.
Eighteen years later came the addition of the upper deck and new press box. Another 8,436 seats were added at a cost of $5,726,345. Capacity for the 1975 National Championship season was 71,187. Before the 1980 season, the old green bleachers were replaced with the new south end zone facility. In addition to improved seating, the complex included coaches' offices, the weight room, meeting rooms, a training room, the equipment room and two locker rooms. The addition brought the stadium capacity to 75,004. Capacity was decreased to 72,765 prior to the 1998 season to provide more wheelchair seating.
In July, 1970 the original natural grass surface was removed and artificial turf was installed. That tartan turf was replaced with super turf before the 1981 season. Owen Field returned to grass in 1994.
A stadium master plan was approved by the OU Board of Regents in June 1994. Construction of nine west side suites began in April 1995 and was completed that year. The suites are leased annually. Eight of the suites seat 12 and the President's suite seats 24. Subsequent improvements in 1997 included the installation of stadium lights to allow night games, a new scoreboard and a video screen.
The Barry Switzer Center, named after the former OU head football coach, opened in April 1999. That complex includes a sports medicine facility with the latest equipment and technology to better accommodate OU's student-athletes; the Robin Siegfried and Family Strength and Conditioning Facility, which will accommodate more than 400 athletes; new locker rooms; new coaches offices; the Anderson All-American Plaza and the OU Touchdown Club Legends Lobby.
In 2002, OU enacted plans to upgrade the entire stadium through four phases. Phase I replaced all stadium seating; expanded and renovated the north end athletics offices and Prentice Gautt Academic Center; expanded the stadium with the east side club, suites, and upper deck (total: $75 million).
Phase II included a second level of suites on the east side, renovation and expansion of the Santee Lounge and club seats;, fan amenities on the east concourse; and expansion and improvements to the team meeting rooms in the Switzer Center (total:$ 9 million).
Phase III included fan amenities on the west side, expansion and improvements to the coaches' offices and Legends Lobby of the Switzer Center (total: $12 million). All phases included improvements to disability accessibility to the stadium and support facilities.
For Phase IV, OU's football facilities -- especially those which the student-athletes use daily -- were further upgraded in 2009. Improvements included a 9,000 square-foot football locker room including grooming areas, cold plunge hydrotherapy pools and players' lounge, a 10,000 square-foot athletic training space to include additional hydrotherapy for all teams, a 6,500 square-foot equipment room, a 4,000 square-foot team meeting room equipped with the latest technology, sound, and video equipment, and seating for more than 200 added to the more than 8,000 square feet of existing team meeting rooms.
Phase IV also included expansion of HD and other technology-driven enhancements to the SoonerVision studio and production facilities. The final phase of the stadium project totaled $15 million, bringing the total for all improvements to the stadium and its support areas to more than $125 million since 1998.
|Stadium | Individual Bests|
|Rushing Yards||274, Mike Gaddis vs. Oklahoma State (1989)|
|Rushing Attempts||53, Steve Owens vs. Iowa State (1969)|
|Rushing Touchdowns|| 5, DeMarco Murray vs. North Texas (2007)
5, Steve Owens vs. Nebraska (1968)
|Passing Completions|| 41, Kliff Klingsbury of Texas Tech (2000)
By OU: 37, Josh Heupel vs. Baylor (1999)
|Passing Attempts|| 61, Kliff Klingsbury of Texas Tech (2000)
By OU: 54, Josh Heupel vs. Baylor (1999)
|Passing Yards||468, Sam Bradford vs. Kansas (2008)|
|Passing Touchdowns|| 6, Landry Jones vs. Tulsa (2009)
5, Sam Bradford vs. Nebraska, Washington & Cincinnati (2008)
5, Sam Bradford vs. North Texas & Miami (2007)
5, Jason White vs. Texas A&M (2003)
5, Josh Heupel vs. Indiana State (1999)
|Receiving Yards|| 269, Dezmon Briscoe of Kansas (2008)
By OU: 206, Manuel Johnson vs. TCU (2008)
|Receptions||12, Manuel Johnson vs. TCU (2008)|
|Receiving Touchdowns||4, Jermaine Gresham vs. Texas A&M (2007)|
|Punting Average (Minimum 3)||56.33, Mike Keeling vs. Kansas (1981)|
|Tackles||19, Daryl Hunt vs. Vanderbilt (1977)|
|Interceptions||3, by two players|
|Sacks||5, Cedric Jones vs. Texas Tech (1994)|
|Stadium | Team Bests|
|Rushing Yards||768 vs. Kansas State (1988)|
|Passing Yards||468 vs. Kansas (2008)|
|Total Yards||829 vs. Kansas State (1988)|
|Points||79 vs. North Texas (2007)|
|First Downs||38 vs. Kansas State (1988)|
|Stadium | Longest Plays|
|Rush||96, Jeff Frazier vs. North Texas (1995)|
|Pass|| 99, Troy DeGar of Tulsa to Wes Caswell (1996)
By OU: 86, Bobby Boyd to Wahoo McDaniel vs. West Virginia (1958)
|Field Goal||60, Tony DiRienzo vs. Kansas (1973)|
|Punt||87, Joe Wylie vs. Kansas State (1970)|
|Punt Return||96, Darrell Royal vs. Kansas State (1948)|
|Kickoff Return|| 100, Buster Rhymes vs. Kansas State (1980)
100, Mack Heron of Kansas State (1968)