Fawcett Stadium is named for John A. Fawcett. Mr. Fawcett was a former member of
the Canton Board of Education and a well-known athlete. He died of pneumonia at the age of 44, a few years before the stadium was built.
The stadium was built from 1937-1939 at an estimated cost of $500,000. The
federal government in the form of man power, the WPA, paid for $400,000 while a school board bond issue paid for the materials. The stadium originally seated 15,000 and was the largest high, school stadium in the country at that time. On
the grounds of the facility was a park, aptly named "Stadium Park". This park still exists although presently is much more disjointed from the stadium as part of the park was used as the site of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and also because what is left of the park is separated from Fawcett Stadium by Interstate 77.
In 1997 Fawcett Stadium underwent a major renovation and a name change. Backed by the Canton community, $4.3 million worth of improvements were completed on the stadium. Some of the major improvements included state-of-the-art Astroturf with a player friendly rubber base, new locker room facilities, new scoreboard with graphics display screen, new lighting, new sound system, new electrical services, structural repairs, vinyl caps for all wooden seats, and a renovated press box. The newly renovated stadium was also renamed to include the words Pro Football Hall of Fame Field.
When the Hall of Fame game went prime time in 1998, engineers told ABC Sports,
which broadcasts the game, that the stadium needed better lighting for a night game. The NFL responded by paying $365,000 for the addition of five light poles to bring the total to nine.
A total of five local teams play their home games at Fawcett Stadium. They include NAIA rivals Malone College and Walsh University as well as three high schools: Glen Oak, McKinley, and Timken.
Fawcett Stadium, home to the Canton McKinley (HS) Bulldogs, recently underwent a $3.9-million stadium renovation which was completed in time for the 1997 NFL Hall of Fame game. Highlights of the project include the installation of an artificial turf playing surface, new lockerrooms, and a new scoreboard.
Prior to the renovations, players for the annual Hall of Fame game dressed in the adjacent Canton Civic Center, owned by Canton City Schools.
Source: Tom Hunter, thanks Tom
Browns back in business
Monday 9 August 1999 (Associated Press)
Never has an exhibition game meant so much.
To the NFL, tonight's Hall of Fame Game is the fulfilment of a promise kept.
To Cleveland, it is the return of pro football and a way of life.
To Browns fans, it is a chance to bark, scream and cheer their beloved team again.
After a three-year absence, the Cleveland Browns are being reborn, in of all places, football's birthplace.
Following pre-game ceremonies which will include past Cleveland greats, and with a national TV audience looking on, the new Browns will take the field in their familiar orange helmets to play the Dallas Cowboys.
When the moment arrives, Fawcett Stadium, packed with Browns fans and complete with its own Dawg Pound, will erupt with a roar that may be heard clear to Cleveland.
The Browns will be back, and for many it will be a dream come true.
"Somebody is going to have to pinch me," said team president Carmen Policy. "And then I'm going to have to pinch them."
Cleveland's fans have not seen their team play since December 1995, and this year's Hall of Fame Game was switched from its traditional Saturday slot to Monday in prime time by the league to showcase the Browns' return as the first expansion team with a history.
The game will cap an unforgettable football weekend in Northeast Ohio. On Saturday, former Browns tight end Ozzie Newsome was enshrined in the Hall of Fame along with Tom Mack, Eric Dickerson, Billy Shaw and Lawrence Taylor.
"For us to go down there and be able to play as a local team in that whole setting, coming back new ƒ," said Browns coach Chris Palmer, who will be making his debut as an NFL head coach. "I won't be the only one with butterflies."
When the Browns were awarded a new franchise after former owner Art Modell took his team to Baltimore in 1996, the NFL agreed Cleveland could keep its nickname, colours, uniforms and statistics.
"I have a hard time thinking the Cleveland Browns are new," said Cowboys coach Chan Gailey, a former assistant coach in Pittsburgh. "That doesn't sound right."