The home of Wake Forest Football is BB&T Field, considered one of the most beautiful stadiums of its size in the nation.
The facility, which celebrated its 42nd season in 2009, has undergone significant changes in recent years which have added to both its appearance and utility.
Wake Forest is currently in the middle of a six-phase plan to completely renovate BB&T Field.
Prior to the 2005 season, the facade along the sidelines and south endzone were re-faced with approximately 89,000 bricks, specifically created for this project by Pine Hall Brick Company. The bricks are in the same style of those that adorn the buildings on Wake Forest's Reynolda Campus, less than a mile away.
In 2006, a state-of-the-art, "next generation" FieldTurf surface was installed.
In January 2007, construction began on Deacon Tower, a massive seven-story pressbox that houses luxury suites, club seats, boxes for the University President, home and visiting athletic directors and print and electronic media. Construction was completed in August, 2008. The new Deacon Tower is located on the west side of the stadium.
Prior to the 2009 season, the East Side bathrooms and concession stands were all remodeled, enhancing the fan experience for all in the stadium.
Dedicated on September 14, 1968, in a 10-6 loss to rival NC State, BB&T Field represents an extensive fund-raising effort undertaken by the college during the mid-1960s which, for all practical purposes, made possible Wake Forest's continued membership in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The stadium, which has 31,500 permanent seats, is located between Reynolds and Deacon Boulevards, one mile from the Wake Forest campus. It also is part of the athletic center of Winston-Salem which includes Lawrence Joel Coliseum, home of the Demon Deacon basketball teams, as well as the Wake Forest Baseball Park, the home of Demon Deacon baseball.
The most modern technology available is also present at BB&T Field with its state-of-the-art scoreboard and computerized display and message center at the south end of the playing field.
The history of BB&T Field can be traced back to the original home of the university in the eastern North Carolina village of Wake Forest. When the school announced its planned move to Winston-Salem in 1948, the Groves family, led by Henry (the original stadium's primary benefactor) and his brother Earl, made an additional financial commitment to insure that their family name would remain on whatever new facility that the football program would construct.
The new stadium, however, remained only a dream for nearly two decades. The actual cost of the campus' relocation to Winston-Salem was much greater than first anticipated, and more pressing physical needs in academic areas took precedence.
The Deacons had scheduled frequent dates in Winston-Salem's Bowman Gray Stadium in the years preceding the college's move and made that 16,000-seat facility their permanent home in 1956. Winston-Salem philanthropist Charles H. Babcock donated a 77-acre plot of land for the building of a new stadium, but each time that the project seemed on the verge of becoming a reality, other needs would emerge.
Finally in 1966, a fund-raising campaign was initiated. And while the $1.5 million raised was less than half of the total price tag, construction began the following year.
After dropping its opening contest at BB&T Field to NC State, the Demon Deacons played Clemson to a 20-20 tie the following Saturday, September 21, 1968. That contest also marked the first televised football game in Wake Forest history, as ABC broadcast the game as part of its regional package. Wake Forest's first victory in the facility had to wait until after three-straight road dates, when on October 26th of that season, Wake defeated North Carolina, 48-31.
Through the 2009 season, Wake Forest has compiled a 102-129-4 record at BB&T Field. That mark includes two undefeated home seasons, which not surprisingly are two of the finest overall years in Deacon football history. Wake was 4-0 at home during its ACC Championship season of 1970; the 1979 squad improved that figure by one win to a 5-0 mark on its way to a Tangerine Bowl bid. One of the most dramatic BB&T Field victories also occurred during that 1979 season when the Deacs rallied from a 38-20 halftime deficit to defeat Auburn, 42-38. That game marked the first time that two nationally-ranked teams met at BB&T Field.
In 1987, Wake Forest and NC State, the same two schools that met in BB&T Field's first game, played the 100th contest in the facility's history. This time the Deacons came out on top, 21-3.
In 1990, a BB&T Field milestone of sorts was reached when the University of Virginia became the first (and still the only) No. 1-ranked team to appear there.
In 1997 and 1998, BB&T Field hosted its first-ever national telecasts as part of ESPN's popular Thursday night series. In both games, the Deacons emerged victorious, defeating NC State, 19-18, in 1997 on a last-minute field goal by Matthew Burdick, then downing Navy, 26-14, in 1998, scoring 23 unanswered points after falling behind 14-3 in the first half.
In 1999, BB&T Field hosted another dramatic victory as the Demon Deacons upset 14th-ranked Georgia Tech, a team featuring the nation's top ranked offense. The 26-23 win, which prompted fans to swarm the field and quarterback Ben Sankey to climb the goalpost, secured a winning season and a bowl bid for Wake Forest for the first time since 1992.
Wake Forest won its second ACC Championship in 2006 by going 11-3, beating Georgia Tech in the ACC Championship game, and earning a bid to the FedEx Orange Bowl.
Wake Forest broke its single-game attendance record in 2004 when temporary bleachers were installed for the North Carolina game, attracting a crowd of 37,623. Nine of the 13 largest crowds in stadium history have congregated since 2003. The Deacons have been among the national leaders in attendance as based on percentage of capacity. Wake Forest had averaged better than 100 percent of capacity each year from 2006 through 2009.
Through the end of the 2009 season, over 5.7 million fans had watched Wake Forest football games at BB&T Field.
Source: Robert J. Demetrious of Wake Forest Athletics,
Whom We Thank Very Much
Original Groves Stadium
Wake Forest has been playing its intercollegiate football in "Groves Stadium" since 1940 when the school, then located in Wake Forest, NC, first dedicated a 20,000-seat facility by that same name on its original campus.
The stadium was named in honor of Henry H. Groves, Sr., who passed away in 1985. It was his generous gift that made possible the construction of that structure, which would be the site of some of the finest moments in Wake Forest athletic history. Here the legendary coach D. C. "Peahead" Walker led the Deacons to many memorable victories before standing room only crowds.
The Deacs played their final game in old Wake Forest in 1955 before the school moved to Winston-Salem. But the old Stadium had not seen its last action.
In 1957, the facility was sold to Wake Forest High School (now Wake Forest-Rolesville High) for the sum of $10 and became the home of high school football and other community events. It was later renamed Trentini Stadium, in memory of the late Tony Trentini, a Wake Forest football player and 1956 graduate, who later returned to serve as the high school team's coach.
The current Demon Deacons returned to the original Groves Stadium themselves this past spring, staging a Saturday scrimmage there before an enthusiastic group of former players and alumni.
Directions By car:
From I-40 business (eastbound and westbound):
Take Silas Creek Parkway North for approximately 4 miles. Bear right at the Wake Forest University exit.
From I-40 Bypass (eastbound):
Take Exit 188 (Business I-40) to Silas Creek Parkway North exit.
From I-40 Bypass (westbound):
Take Exit 188 (Business I-40) to Silas Creek Parkway North exit.
From U.S. 52 (northbound):
Take I-40 Business West to Silas Creek Parkway North
From U.S. 52 (southbound):
Take University Parkway exit and turn right at off ramp. Drive south to the campus.
Winston-Salem is served primarily by the Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro, NC. Commercial airlines serving the Piedmont Triad airport include AirTran, American Airlines, Continental, Delta, Northwest Airlines, United Airlines and USAirways.
The Smith Reynolds Airport in Winston-Salem is available to charter and private aircraft as well as some commuter flights.
Amtrak provides rail service to Greensboro and the Piedmont Triad through its Carolinian route. For reservations, call 1-800-USA-RAIL.
THE ULTIMATE SPORTS ROAD TRIP
By: Andrew Kulyk & Peter Farrell
November 13, 2004 - There are two dominant things that hit you as you make your way to Winston-Salem and Wake Forest University... first of all, just look at the name of the city and you know you are in the middle of tobacco country. Non-smoking section in a restaurant? HAH! Well, maybe we're exaggerating. Second, bring your Bible because just church talk is pretty standard around here... flip the AM dial and 9 out 10 channels have some sort of religious programming going. Had enough holy roller talk? OK we park and car and walk into Lawrence Joel Coliseum, time enough to tour the concourses, take some pics and scout out some cool memorabilia. So what's going on in there? Some church convention! Aaarrgghhh! We are outta here.
But we're getting ahead of ourselves...To find the venue, you pass downtown and the Wake Forest campus, then head up University Pkwy about one mile, and you will come up to Groves Stadium and the college's basketball venue, Lawrence Joel Coliseum. Built in 1968, Groves Stadium seats just over 31,500 with sideline seating decks and chair back seats running along each sideline. On the west side is a five level press box and suite seating, and a fieldhouse in the north end zone. In the south end zone is a large lawn seating area and a scoreboard and video board. On this day the lawn areas was put to good use, as the rival Tar Heels were in town playing a game with bowl implications. As a result a stadium record crowd of over 37,200 bought tickets to see this game, and the house was packed.
Besides lawn seating, a couple of other elements make the seating bowl here unique and special. Both end zones are bordered by hedge rows. Also, a platform separates the grandstands from the seating bowl, and the cheerleaders use these platforms to entertain the crowd close up and personal.
Atlantic Coast Conference competition is better known for basketball, yet don't tell that to the fans who were here, a decidedly bipartisan crowd and the visiting NC fans especially were loud and boisterous. Their efforts didn't go unrewarded, as the Tar Heels took a 24-10 lead by the 4th quarter and seemed to be coasting to a win. The Deacs came roaring back to tie the score, but North Carolina took the final drive to the end zone, scoring the go ahead touchdown with 36 seconds left and hanging on to win. Final score... North Carolina 31, Wake Forest 24.