For 10 seasons, Morse Field at Alfond Sports Stadium has served as one of the finest football facilities in the Northeast.
Morse Field at Alfond Sports Stadium, a facility made possible by the generous donation of Harold Alfond, and Phillip and Susan (Keene) Morse, opened in grand fashion on Sept. 12, 1998.
A crowd of 9,244 was on hand to watch the Black Bears' defeat New Hampshire, 52-28, in the inaugural game. The football opener also featured pre-game and halftime dedication ceremonies and a fireworks display after the game.
The stadium has instilled pride and excitement throughout the university, particularly within the football and track & field programs that it supports.
The stadium was the site of the 2000 commencement ceremony, Maine's first outdoor graduation since 1994.
The facility, constructed and designed mostly by in-state companies was paid for entirely by private donations totalling $6.1 million. The grandstand, which increases the capacity of the stadium to 10,000, was made possible by a $3.1 million dollar donation from Harold Alfond. Morse Field is named for Phillip and Susan Morse, Class of 1964, who contributed $2.15 million for the playing surface, lights and scoreboard. The University Development Office led a fundraising effort with key volunteer leaders to raise additional private monies for the project.
Funds were also raised through brick purchases. The bricks, with people's names or other messages, are displayed in the southeast area of the stadium.
The grandstand provides seating for approximately 6,000 people. While most of the seating is bench style, there are also a number of molded chairback seats available to preferred donors and season-ticket holders. The molded chairs are mostly blue with some white seats forming a large letter "M". The aisles throughout the stadium are considerably wider than the previous structure, allowing for increased traffic flow. All of the seats provide a clear unobstructed view of the field.
Under the grandstand are concrete structures that serve as men's and women's restrooms (more than double previous capacities), a ticket office and concession stands. The entrance to the elevator is also located in this area, providing handicap access to the mezzanine, luxury and press box areas.
The press and luxury box levels, standing approximately 90 feet off the ground, provide both a great view of the contests and the entire athletic complex. On a clear day, one also enjoys a picturesque view of the Stillwater River and Mt. Katahdin.
The top level of the building is devoted to media, including booths for three radio stations, a television broadcast area, and a print media room. There are also operations, coaches and statistician booths. Opposite those booths on the pressbox level are a restroom, elevator entry, media workroom, small kitchen and storage areas.
The lower level has eight luxury boxes, and a University Administration box. Each box is similar to the boxes in Alfond Arena, featuring theatre seating and cable TV access. The boxes also have sliding glass doors to allow air circulation and "pad sound." There is also a men's and women's restroom at the luxury box level. All boxes provide a great view of the field.
The Daktronics scoreboard was donated by Phillip and Susan Morse. The scoreboard stands 32-feet, five-inches wide and 18-feet, five-inches tall. The monochrome full matrix board can provide information for football and track meets, and can also provide simple animation.
The board also has two trivision advertising panels on the bottom. The panels rotate at timed intervals. The back of the scoreboard, the portion facing campus, features a 20-foot, four-inch by three-feet, nine-inch message center which promotes upcoming campus and athletic events.
In 2004, an average of 6,746 fans (an Alfond Stadium record) watched the Black Bears play in five home games. A crowd of 10,048 spectators were on hand to see Maine make its home debut against Northern Colorado on Sept. 11, 2004, establishing a facility record.
The 2006 season was a special one for the stadium and the Black Bear football program, as the facility topped a quarter of a million fans (250,000) in attendance since the stadium opened in 1998.
The 2007 campaign was also a special year as it marked the 10th anniversary since construction of the stadium was completed and varsity athletic events were held on it.
NEW STATE-OF-THE-ART FIELDTURF IN PLACE FOR 2008 SEASON
Morse Field at Harold Alfond Sports Stadium got a makeover during the summer of 2008 as new, state-of-the-art FieldTurf was installed.
The new surface was made possible by the generous donation of $1 million by Phillip and Susan Morse (Class of '64). It marked the second gift made by the couple in the last 11 years, as they also donated $2.15 million for the playing surface in 1997.
The new surface was installed by Northeast FieldTurf Hue Inc., which is owned by former Black Bear football great John Huard (Class of '67).
The new surface replaces the AstroTurf surface, which had been in place since the stadium's opening in 1998.
"The University of Maine football program can't thank Phil and Susan Morse, and John Huard enough for their help on this project," head coach Jack Cosgrove said. "Our student-athletes will benefit the most from this and we are all grateful for the gift."
The new surface began installation in June and will be in place for Maine's 2008 home opener versus Stony Brook on Sept. 13.
The endzones will be navy blue with "Maine" being painted on in block lettering. A block "M" will be displayed at midfield.
Source: University of Maine