Michie Stadium, splendid in its scenic beauty and long recognized as one of the most popular stadiums in the nation, will celebrate its 82nd season as the home of Army football during the 2005 campaign.
The original structure was completed for the 1924 season and formally dedicated to the memory of Dennis Mahan Michie, who was instrumental in starting the game of football at the U.S. Military Academy in 1890. It was Michie who organized, managed and coached the first football team in history at West Point. There have been several facelifts since that first game in 1924 when Army defeated St. Louis University 17-0.
Temporary East stands and upper stands were added before construction of permanent East stands was completed in 1962. In the summer of 1969 an upper deck on the West side was added, bringing the seating capacity to 41,684. Capacity has since been adjusted to 39,929.
A major change occurred on the playing field in 1977 when AstroTurf replaced the natural grass surface. The artificial turf greatly reduced maintenance costs and guaranteed the Army team an excellent practice facility for use all fall while providing for multiple uses. SuperTurf replaced the AstroTurf in 1984, which was in turn replaced by AstroTurf 8 three years ago.
Army teams have experienced great success while playing at Michie. In 71 years, the Cadets have won 281 while losing only 95 and tying six. There have been 27 undefeated home seasons and two undefeated but tied campaigns. From the time of that first game in 1924, Army teams played 39 games at home without losing, spanning seven years.
The wishbone offense certainly has had a lot to do with the recent success of Army
football--winning seasons in seven of the last 11 years, the only three postseason bowl appearances in school history, and three Commander in Chief's Trophy titles outright (while sharing another) during that span. But much of the prosperity can be directly related to the exceptional athletic facilities in place at West Point.
Michie Stadium, with its recently installed artificial playing surface, offers an excellent practice field in all types of weather. Directly adjacent to the stadium is Howze Field, spacious and well-groomed with its natural grass surface. It is big enough to allow the offense to work at one end and the defense at the other, without the fear of one interfering with the other.
A year-round weight and strength development program is another important plus, offering players the very best in modern equipment. Under the supervision of Tim Swanger, the weight room is second to none with its wide variety of apparatus.
Each player has his own locker in a luxurious, carpeted locker room located one floor below the weight room and one floor above the equipment and training rooms. Here the players are free to unwind from a busy academic schedule before putting on the pads for practice.
Blend all of the above together, and it's easy to see why Army teams have combined to win anaverage of nearly seven games per season over the past decade.
Michie Facts Army's Record at Michie: 284-97-7 (.741) First Game: October 4, 1924 -- Army 17, St. Louis University 0 Dedication: November 15, 1924 -- Army 14, Columbia 14 First Loss: October 17, 1931 -- Harvard 14, Army 13 Longest Home Winning Streak: 42 games (1941-50) Largest Home Crowd: 42,765 (Missouri, Oct. 2, 1971)
Michie Through the Years
1924 -- Original structure completed and dedicated. Seating capacity of permanent stands: 16,000 with temporary seating for an additional 5,000. Temporary East stands and upper stands were later added, increasing capacity to 26,491.
1962 -- Construction of permanent East stands completed.
1969 -- Upper deck on West side added, increasing seating capacity to 41,684.
1977 -- AstroTurf installed, replacing original natural grass playing surface.
1984 -- SuperTurf installed, replacing AstroTurf playing surface.
1992 -- Third resurfacing procedure completed with AstroTurf 8 newly installed.
Source: U.S. Army Sports Information Office
Michie Stadium CNN/SI - Century's Best - SI's Top 20 Venues of the 20th Century - June 3, 1999
Game day at West Point begins three hours before kickoff with the cadet parade on The Plain. It's a scene straight from The Long Gray Line, surpassed only by the view of the Hudson River from the west stands at Michie Stadium. The Corps of Cadets, seated together and dressed in gray and black, evokes memories of when Army was one of the most formidable of college football powers, and cannon blasts shake the 76-year-old edifice to its foundation every time the Black Knights score. It doesn't matter in the least that national championships are no longer decided here.