Joe Aillet (pronounced eye-a) Stadium was named after former football coach Joe Aillet, who complied a 151-86-8 record and nine conference championships from 1940-66. He is a member of the Louisiana Tech Athletic Hall of Fame and the National Football Foundation College Football Hall of Fame. In 1985, a Sky Box was added over the press box. Four years later the stadium itself was expended to the present capacity in order to join Division I-A. The first touchdown pass in the stadium was completed between Terry Bradshaw and Buster Herren as the Bulldogs went on to win the inaugural game against East Carolina.
Joe Aillet Stadium has been home to Louisiana Tech football for the past 40 years and the Lady Techster soccer team since 2005.
Bulldog football fans have watched legends such as Terry Bradshaw, Roger Carr, Fred Dean, Pat Tilley, Matt Dunigan, William Roaf, Troy Edwards and Tim Rattay all don the Tech Red and Blue.
Opened in 1968 at a capacity of 23,000, Joe Aillet Stadium -- which wasn't given its current name until Nov. 11, 1972, when it was dedicated in honor of the former Tech coaching legend -- has proven instrumental in some of the biggest wins in the program's 100-plus year history.
The facility was upgraded in 1985 when a luxury sky box was added to the press box and again in 1989, when an additional 7,600 seats were added, increasing the seating capacity to 30,600.
In the summer of 2006 Joe Aillet Stadium received a new surface as Fieldturf Mono -- which is considered the top of the line artificial turf -- was installed by FieldTurf Tarkett. A totally new lighting system was also installed that same summer as the top-of-the-line television quality lights were installed, replacing the old system.
The stadium's namesake -- Joe Aillet is now a member of the Louisiana Tech Athletics Hall of Fame and the National Football Foundation College Football Hall of Fame -- guided his Tech teams to a 151-86-8 record and nine conference championships from 1940-1966. The winning tradition Aillet established during his days of coaching at Louisiana Tech has continued as the Bulldogs have posted 10 perfect seasons in the facility's history.
From the first game ever played in the stadium, a 35-7 win over East Carolina on Sept. 28, 1968, to arguably the biggest win in the program's Division I-A history, a 28-21 upset victory over No. 17 Fresno State on Oct. 2, 2004, Joe Aillet Stadium's grass surface has been the site of some of the most magical moments in Louisiana Tech football history.
Joe Aillet Stadium has proven to be a tough place for opposing teams to play for four decades. Over the course of the stadium's history, Tech has dominated opponents as the 118-48-2 record indicates, a winning percentage of 70-percent. Since Tech moved up to Division I-A in 1989, the Bulldogs have registered a mark of 56-22 at Joe Aillet Stadium, a winning percentage of almost 72-percent.
In that inaugural game against East Carolina at Joe Aillet Stadium, a young quarterback named Terry Bradshaw guided the Bulldogs to the victory as Tech fullback Buster Herren scored the first touchdown ever at the stadium on a two-yard run with 6:20 remaining in the second quarter. It was just the first of many memorable moments for Tech fans in Ruston.
On two different occasions over the past 40 years, Tech has registered streaks of 18 straight wins at Joe Aillet Stadium.
The first such streak started with a 23-0 win over UL-Monroe in the final game of the 1971 season and ended with a 49-20 win over Tennessee-Chattanooga in the fifth game of the 1975 season. That run by coach Maxie Lambright's teams included two small college and one Division II national championship seasons.
During the late '80s and early '90s, the Bulldogs won their first 18 home games after joining the Division I-A ranks. Tech defeated Northern Illinois 42-21 in the first home game of the 1989 season to begin the streak with the last of the 18 wins being a 17-16 victory over Northern Illinois in 1993.
Included in that string of wins was a 31-30 victory over Colorado State on Nov. 17, 1990, that catapulted the Bulldogs into the 1990 Independence Bowl. Tech trailed 30-14 late in the third quarter before scoring 17 unanswered points, capped by Gene Johnson's 16-yard touchdown pass to Bobby Slaughter with 2:14 to play. The Bulldog defense held the Rams to four and out on their final possession as a wild celebration ensued, which ultimately ended in the goalposts in the south end zone being torn down by Tech fans.
One of the biggest individual matchups in the stadium's history came on Sept. 5, 1998, when two future NFL quarterbacks squared off as Central Florida's Daunte Culpepper led his team to a 64-30 win over Tech's Tim Rattay and the Bulldogs. Culpepper (Oakland Raiders) passed for 370 yards and four scores while rushing for 69 yards and two more touchdowns while Rattay (Arizona Cardinals) passed for 524 yards and three touchdowns.
The 2000 season saw a milestone reached at Joe Aillet Stadium as the Bulldogs under head coach Jack Bicknell recorded the 100th win in the facility's history. True freshman quarterback Luke McCown tied an NCAA Division I freshman record by tossing six touchdowns in the milestone 48-14 victory over UL-Lafayette on Oct. 14, 2000.
Joe Aillet Stadium hosted its first nationally televised game on Dec. 5, 2002, when ESPN came to town to produce Louisiana Tech's game against Fresno State. Although Tech fell in the contest, it was another milestone for the program and the facility it has called home.
The 2004 season opened with another nationally televised home game, as the Bulldogs defeated Nevada 38-21 Sept. 6 on ESPN2. This was just a preview of things to come during the season at Joe Aillet Stadium.
Less than one month later, Tech fans were able to witness one of the greatest games in Joe Aillet Stadium history, as Louisiana Tech downed No. 17 Fresno State 28-21 on Oct. 2. Tech trailed 13-0 early in the second quarter before running back Ryan Moats and the Bulldog defense turned up their level of play. Moats rushed for 236 yards and four scores, including the game-winner with just under four minutes to play, which was set up by an interception deep in Fresno State territory.
The win was sealed when Tramon Williams intercepted Paul Pinegar with less than 30 seconds remaining, starting a wild celebration that saw the goalposts in both end zones torn down.
These games and many more are what have made Tech fans the real winners over the years.
The first Lady Techster soccer game in the stadium was played Aug. 28, 2005. In that contest the Techsters earned the program's inaugural victory with a 2-0 win over Mississippi Valley State.
Following the installation of the new FieldTurf surface, Tech soccer moved into the stadium permanently beginning with the 2006 season. The Lady Techsters boast an overall record of 9-9-3 through the 2007 season in games played at the stadium.
Joe Aillet Stadium Facts
Capacity: 30,600Source: Louisiana Tech University Sports Information Office
Playing Surface: FieldTurf
Lighting: Eight banks of lights with 1,500-watt metal halite bulbs in the
middle and incandescent bulbs on the outside of each set suspended on poles
150 feet above the field's surface.
Scoreboards: Two computerized scoreboards complete with message
centers located in both the north and south end zones.
Press Box: A three-level structure with 67 seats on two seating platforms
for the print media on the lower level, and eight radio/scouting booths and
camera deck on the second level. Facility includes concessions service and
lavatories. Levels one and two are served by a private elevator.
Skybox: Located on the third level of the press box, it features plush
theater-type seating for more than 200 fans. Fully air-conditioned and
heated, it is accessible by private elevator. Has two kitchen areas and
lavatories. Guests are provided parking downstairs and are served a
delicious catered meal.