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Davis Wade Stadium At Scott Field HOME OF MISSISSIPPI STATE FOOTBALL

Davis Wade Stadium, the home of the Mississippi State football team, enters a new decade and remains one of the loudest and most unique venues in all of college football.

All of the top 20 crowds in stadium history have come during the last six seasons of competition.

Christened after Olympic sprinter Don Magruder Scott, one of State’s first football superstars, the 105-year-old historic facility (the nation’s second-oldest FBS campus football stadium) has undergone seven renovation and expansion projects during its history. The first game at Scott Field came with an MSU win over Marion (Ala.) Military Institute, 54-0, on Oct. 3, 1914.

On the left is Scott Field pictured in 1923. On the right is Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field today.

More than $100 million in football projects have been initiated in the last few years. Of that figure, $75 million of it went towards the nationally praised 2014 expansion.

The latest addition of note was a new, state-of-the art locker room in the north end zone of Davis Wade Stadium, which was completed in August 2018.

The locker room, which housed the Bulldogs for the first time during the 2018 season, features 11,100 square-feet of space and includes custom-built lockers, separate coach and staff locker rooms, an expansive athletic training room, as well as an equipment room.

The players’ locker room features high-gloss metal panel ceiling, color-changing LED linear lighting, internally lit ceiling logos and a state-of-the-art sound system.

In addition, a new recruiting lounge spanning over 3,000 square feet is adjacent to the locker room. The previous home locker room in the south end zone now serves as the visiting team locker room.

The $3.6 million project was privately funded through the Bulldog Club. LPK Architects was the project’s architect. ICM was the construction manager, and Copeland and Johns served as the general contractor.

Completed in August 2014, the north end zone expansion increased capacity to 61,337, provided additional premium seating, elevators, restrooms and concessions along with a completely new west side concourse. Construction began in August 2012.

The construction contract for the project was awarded to the Harrell Contracting Group of Jackson, Mississippi. Harrell won the construction project in a university sealed bid process.

The north end zone addition created a total of 8,815 new seats, which, factored with the loss of the previously existing bleacher seating in the north end zone, resulted in a net 6,255-seat increase. Included in those 8,815 seats were 7,076 grandstand seats, 1,155 Scoreboard Club seats, 236 loge seats, 22 traditional suites, totaling approximately 288 seats, and 60 field-level suite seats. Additionally, standing room availability and ADA-compliant seating were also included in the project.

Also included in the north end zone is a non-seated, field level premium area, The Gridiron, which provides club-like amenities to any season ticket holder who buys a membership regardless of that person’s stadium seat location. The new area has become a fan favorite as the Bulldogs sing the alma mater and take a victory lap in front of The Gridiron.

The north end also features a high-definition video board similar in size to the one currently standing on the stadium’s south end, which is among the largest in college football.

The west side renovation showcases a rebuilt concourse under the west stands, the addition of four high-capacity elevators, an increase in restroom and concession point of sale facilities and a brick facade that matches the new construction on the north side.

In 2014, fans saw the number of elevators at Davis Wade Stadium more than double (from five to 12), the restroom fixture total nearly double (from 313 to 621), and permanent concession point of sale positions increase by over 40 percent (from 110 to 156).

For media, the project included a new television compound away from the stadium propriety. The TV compound is now located west of the stadium, allowing network broadcast trucks to connect to stadium equipment via underground cable runs.

The renovation and expansion was funded by the sale of $68 million in bonds and $7 million in private giving. Private contributions for the stadium project were part of the Bulldog Club’s “Today. Tomorrow. Forever” Athletics Facilities Initiative, which is completely independent of annual giving and priority seating donations.

Construction and renovation design for the Davis Wade Stadium expansion and renovation was handled by local architect LPK of Meridian, Mississippi, along with national sports consultants 360 Architecture of Kansas City. The design team engineered the north end zone facility to support future expansion of approximately 5,000 seats, including 22 additional suites and an upper deck.

The 2014 renovation and expansion came on the heels of installing $1.4 million LED ribbon boards in the summer of 2011. The project, funded by the Bulldog Club, is located on the upper deck facades on the east and west sides, and brings fans in-game graphics, scores, stats and other pertinent information to improve the gameday experience.

One of the most talked about features at Davis Wade, however, is one of college football’s largest high-definition video boards, located in the south end zone of the stadium. The $6.1 million true HD board spans the roof of the Leo Seal M-Club Center in the south end zone at Scott Field. The board measures 152 feet wide by 135 feet, 6 inches tall, with a main HD screen 111 feet wide by 47 feet high.

The previous expansion came in the summer of 2000 and raised capacity to 55,082 with the addition of 50 skyboxes and 1,700 club-level seats. The expansion continued into the 2001 season with the addition of 7,000 upper-deck seats. The entire project, completed at a cost in excess of $30 million, was made possible, in large part, by a financial commitment from the late Floyd Davis Wade Sr., of Meridian, Mississippi, for whom the stadium itself is now named.

Earlier building efforts in 1936 and 1948 brought capacity at Scott Field to 35,000 seats and provided the basic concrete grandstand structure (35 years after the 1948 expansion, the end zone seating structures were removed, lowering the capacity to 32,000 in 1983). But after 25 years, Scott Field was ready for another facelift and an expanded seating potential for the school’s growing following.

A $7.2 million drive in 1986, spearheaded by former MSU athletic director Carl Maddox and an active group of university and community leaders, financed the addition of 9,000 seats to Scott Field’s capacity without the use of appropriated state funding. A 5,500-seat upper deck, an additional 1,700 chair back seats that extend from the stadium’s original structure, and another 1,000 chair back seats flanking the Bob Hartley Press Box on the second level were added to the west side. Two 1,700-seat sections were added to the east side stands to bring capacity to 40,656.

Scott Field’s playing surface, which hosted 16-straight home victories from 1998 to 2000, is lush Hybrid Bermuda Grass (Certified Tifway 419), complete with a brand-new underground drainage and irrigation system. The field is encircled by a holly-lined sideline fence and end zone landscaping. In 2019, the Sports Turf Managers Association named Scott Field the top playing surface in all of college football, an honor it received for the third time. 

ATTENDANCE RECORDS

Earning a reputation of being one of the nation’s toughest places to play, the facility has been host to average attendances in excess of 55,000 the last six seasons. In fact, the last 10 years have seen the largest cumulative totals in the stadium’s history.

In 2011, the program watched as each game recorded a then top-15 all-time attendance mark at Davis Wade Stadium, including 57,871 against Alabama (second) and 56,924 vs. LSU (then fourth). The 335,695 total fans to watch a game in Starkville was then the highest ever for a six-game schedule at the venue.

State fans broke the school record for total attendance again in 2013 with 389,868 total fans, including a seven-game record average of 55,695. On Nov. 16, 2013, 57,211 people wrapped in Maroon and White attended the Alabama game, the fourth-largest crowd in school history.

During the memorable 2014 campaign, the first in the new expansion, MSU set attendance records for single-season total attendance (427,892), single-game average attendance (61,127) and single-game attendance (62,945). The 2014 Bulldogs also tied the school record for home wins as their 7-0 mark matched the 1999 team. The seven home victories also helped State to the first 10-win regular season in program history.

MSU broke total attendance (432,490) and single-game average attendance (61,784) for the third straight year in 2015. That year, the Bulldogs eclipsed 50,000 in season ticket sales for the first time in program history. The previous high for season ticket sales was 45,575 in 2014, and prior to that was 43,894 in 2013.

National media have proclaimed the new north end zone expansion makes Davis Wade Stadium arguably the noisiest from start to finish in college football. A sea of Maroon and White in The Junction turned out for the first-ever SEC Nation broadcast in Starkville on the SEC Network prior to State’s thumping of Texas A&M on Oct. 4, 2014. One week later, ESPN College GameDay made its first appearance in Starkville as No. 3 MSU battled No. 2 Auburn in a matchup of the highest ranked teams in the stadium’s history. ESPN personality Lee Corso donned a Bulldog mascot head to a roar from the crowd. Hours later, MSU topped Auburn, 38-23, before a record crowd of 62,945 in the loudest game in school history. The victory ascended the program to its first No. 1 national ranking.

Entering the 2020 season, a total of 10,835,296 Bulldog fans have entered the turnstiles at Davis Wade Stadium since 1970.

AGE BEFORE BEAUTY

In 2014, MSU celebrated 100 years of Scott Field in conjunction with the expansion and renovation of Davis Wade Stadium, which was originally built in 1914. Scott Field is the second-oldest stadium in FBS behind Georgia Tech’s Bobby Dodd Stadium.

OLDEST STADIUMS IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL

PACKED HOUSE

MSU is second nationally in percentage of average attendance increase in the last 10 years based on stadiums over 60,000 capacity. In 2004, State’s average attendance was 43,792, while in 2014 it was 61,127, marking a percentage increase of 39.6. MSU trails only Texas A&M, which saw a 41.1 percentage increase from 2004-14.

State ranked ninth among FBS teams in largest average attendance increase from the previous year with a jump from 55,695 in 2013 to 61,127 in 2014 - a change in average of 5,432.

HISTORY OF SCOTT FIELD