September 7, 1991, a new era in Marshall University history was entered when a record crowd of 33,116 jammed into Marshall University Stadium for the facility’s inaugural game. The audience was the biggest in the state that day for a football game as West Virginia University attracted only 32,597 for its encounter with Bowling Green.
Not one person was turned away disappointed from that inaugural game as the hometown Thundering Herd edged their opponents from the northeast, the University of New Hampshire Wildcats, 24-23. The game was not decided until 1:21 was left on the clock when defensive back Charles McGregor knocked away a fourth down pass attempt by New Hampshire quarterback Matt Griffin.
A new stadium attracted an average of 20,854 fans per game in 1991, 21,715 in 1992, 20,923 in 1993, 21,846 in 1994 and 20,650 in 1995. Those figures were the best of any school in the Southern Conference .
Early in 1992, the NCAA awarded the I-AA national championship game for 1992 and 1993, with the option of 1994-95-96, to Marshall University.
A 30,000-seat, state-of-the-art facility, the MU Football Stadium has been constructed so the capacity can be expanded to 55,000. A modern scoreboard stands 37 feet high and measures 54 feet long and features video display capabilities.
The press box can seat up to 75 media representatives and a photo deck extends from the front of the press box for television cameras and other photographers. The 20 deluxe indoor sky suites include closed circuit television, a high tech audio system, and each box seats from 12 to 36 people.
Fan comfort was a high priority when designing the stadium. As a result, 4,332 of the seats are chairbacked. In addition, there are 16 restrooms, eight men’s and eight women’s. The concessions areas have been improved with 78 point of service locations in 14 well-appointed stands.
More than 1,100 parking spaces surround the stadium and several thousand more spaces are within a three block radius of the stadium. A “Tent City” tailgate area is set up one half block from the stadium and students find it extremely convenient to walk to the game. Accommodations have also been made to seat nearly 300 handicapped people throughout the stadium.
All in all, the Marshall University Football Stadium is one of the most modern and well thought-out facilities in the nation.
Important Dates in Marshall University Stadium History
Jan. 16, 1986 — Gov. Arch Moore, in a meeting with area business and campus leaders, said money for a new football stadium is available if Marshall puts together a package asking for it.
June 1986 — Board of Regents gives the go ahead for Marshall University to begin acquiring property east of campus for a proposed new football stadium.
Sept. 9, 1986 — Marshall’s first purchase of land in the targeted area for the location of the new football stadium was approved by the Board of Regents. The property was purchased from the Cabell County Board of Education for $94,000. The parcel of land is located at 21st St. and 4th Avenue.
Jan. 15, 1987— In his State of the State address, Gov. Arch Moore asked the Board of Regents to approve funding for the sale of bonds to finance the stadium.
June 7, 1988 — The Legislature passed a state budget that gave the Regents authority to construct a new 30,000 seat facility if they can find a way to fund it.
July 9, 1988 — The state Board of Regents passed a resolution that endorsed the construction of the new football stadium.
Oct. 4, 1988 — An architect’s drawing of the new stadium is revealed to the Board of Regents by Stafford Consultants of Princeton. Stafford, along with Rosser Fabrap of Atlanta, will design the stadium. Regents were given an 1,800 square foot piece of property on the stadium site by the Huntington Area Chamber of Commerce.
Nov. 1, 1988 — The BOR voted to buy an $8,900 parcel of land for the new stadium and hired investment bankers who will decide how to finance the project.
Jan. 11, 1989 — Board of Regents approves a $70 million bond sale which includes $30 million for the MU football stadium.
Dec. 9, 1989 — Demolition begins to clear a site for stadium construction.
July 18, 1990 — Groundbreaking ceremonies take place for the new stadium at 2:00 p.m.
Oct. 1990 — Steel beams that will support the press box, Big Green Room and luxury suites on the west side of the stadium are erected.
Dec. 16, 1990 — Marshall athletic officials announce that the first game in the new stadium will feature Marshall hosting the University of New Hampshire on Sept. 7, 1991 at 7:00 p.m.
Sept. 7, 1991 — The stadium opens as a school record crowd of 33,116 watches the Thundering Herd edge New Hampshire, 24-23.
Feb. 10, 1992 — The Huntington Sports Committee announced that the NCAA has awarded Huntington the National I-AA Championship for 1992 and 1993 with an option for 1994.
Dec. 19, 1992 — Marshall defeats Youngstown State, 31-28, to win the National Championship in front an NCAA championship game record-crowd of 31,304.
Sept. 3, 1993 — James F. Edwards Field is dedicated in pre-game ceremonies at Marshall University Stadium prior to the Marshall-Morehead State contest.
July, 1995 — Construction of 2,000 south end zone seats increase the stadium’s capacity to 30,000.
Dec. 21, 1996 — Marshall ends a perfect 15-0 season with a convincing 49-29 win over Montana.
Dec. 5, 1997 – Marshall defeats Toledo, 34-14, to win the inaugural Mid-American Conference Championship.
Oct. 5, 1998 – Marshall avenges its only MAC loss of 1997 by defeating Miami, 31-17, in front of a record crowd of 33,204.
Dec. 4. 1998 – Marshall wins its second consecutive Mid-American Conference Championship by beating Toledo, 23-17, before 28,021 fans. With the win, Marshall extended it school record to 24 straight victories at home.
The Marshall University Stadium is located on the corner of 20th Street and 3rd Avenue. Built in 1991, the Stadium was completed in 1992 at a cost of $30 million, and constructed of brick, concrete and exposed steel. The 30,000 seat stadium has an Onmi-Turf artificial playing surface of 53,147 square feet, however the turf is scheduled to be replace next season with a new type of artificial turf. The four-story press box on the west side of the stadium houses a Big Green meeting room, 12 small private luxury boxes, 8 large private luxury boxes, working press area, and coaches boxes. There is a facilities building in the north endzone which houses the football offices and clubhouses. The stadium has 16 concession stands, 8 women's rest rooms, 8 men's rest rooms. There are 484 paved parking spaces on the west side of the stadium and 295 gravel parking spaces on the east side of the stadium. Also, on the east side of the stadium is a 129,000 square foot grass practice field.
Copyright by project one hundred nineteen
May 18, 1998 - Jeff Sheets writes: The turf if being replaced during the week May 11-15, 1998. There has been some controversy over the mid-field and end-zone logos. The president of the university wanted to use a logo at mid-field that is very unpopular. It is the "M" (gold state map) "u" logo. Most fans wanted the "Marco" mascot logo at mid-field. The president also wanted to have "MARSHALL" in both end-zones but most fans want "MARSHALL" in the north end-zone and "THUNDERING HERD" the south end. President Gilley has now decided to scrap the "Mu" logo but will now leave the mid-field blank.
He says the reason is cost over-run.
By the way the new turf is AsrtoTurf 12 and the yard lines, numbers and logos are actually colored fibers that are sewn directly into the carpet. That is why the logo controversy happened. Most fans did not want that logo to be permanent. At this point I do not know what will be in the end-zones.
PS There may be a new baseball stadium in the works for Marshall and the City of Huntington. Marshall has committed $1 million to the project and the city can issue bonds for 60% of the remaining cost. The cost of the project is estimated to be $5-6 million. The rest must be raised through private donations. There also is a rumor that
actor-comedian Billy Crystal, who attended Marshall on a baseball scholarship in the '60's, may return for a benefit concert in Joan C. Edwards Stadium. The proceeds would help offset the private portion of the cost of construction.
Joan C. Edwards Stadium's capacity will be increased sometime in the near future. President J. Wade Gilley announced recently that the stadium will be renovated to increase the capacity by 10 to 15 thousand. That would bring total capacity to 40 to 45 thousand. So far, the plan is to renovate the south end-zone to increase the capacity. That would complete the horseshoe. But that is just a rumor at this point.
MARSHALL SEEKS FUNDS FOR STADIUM EXPANSION
February 18, 2010
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures
Charleston, W.Va. - Marshall University officials are preparing to ask the state to help with a
$24 million expansion of the school's football stadium.
Bill Bissett, Marshall's chief of staff, said the expansion of the Joan C. Edwards Stadium, which would cost $24 million over two years, is on the school's "long-range radar."
With the addition of new head football coach Doc Holliday, Marshall officials believe it may be time for an upgrade.
Currently, the stadium seats about 40,000. Bissett could not say how many the expanded stadium would possibly hold. He said it's too early in the planning process.
Marshall, for example, also has identified needs for an $8 million baseball field, a $3.3 million indoor tennis complex, a $1.75 million track stadium and a $1.2 million soccer field.
However, before any proposed construction projects can go before the Legislature in search of state funding, the state's Higher Education Policy Commission has to approve the requests and submit them to the governor's office.
SPONSORSHIP DEAL TO HELP MARSHALL STADIUM
March 11, 2010
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures
Huntington, W. Va. - A contract extension with International Sports Properties of Winston-
Salem, N.C., will help upgrade facilities at Marshall University. The new deal will run through 2021.
ISP develops, produces and markets a variety of sponsorship opportunities at Marshall, including live radio play-by-play and call-in shows, advertising in athletic department publications and on the official department Web site and signage in MU athletics facilities.
The new 11-year agreement extends a relationship that has been in place since 1998 and includes a $10-million guaranteed increase in revenue for Marshall Athletics, most notably securing $3 million for the addition of two new state-of-the-art video boards and a new sound system for Joan C. Edwards Stadium, new digital signage and lighting upgrades for the Cam Henderson Center, upgrades to scoreboards at Dot Hicks Field and Sam Hood Field and additional signage upgrades at athletic venues.
In addition to Marshall, ISP is also the multimedia rights holder for six other Conference USA institutions - East Carolina, Houston, Southern Miss, UAB, UCF and UTEP.