Peden StadiumEdit profile
Peden Stadium is a football stadium on the banks of the Hocking River in Athens, Ohio. It has been the home of the Ohio Bobcats football team since 1929, and today has a capacity of 24,000. Peden Stadium is the oldest college football venue in the Mid-American Conference and among the oldest in the nation.
The facility, originally known as Ohio University’s Athletic Plant, was built at a cost of $185,000 and was completed in 1929. Often referred to as the 'Wrigley Field' of college football due to its intimate and picturesque setting, the stadium originally sat only 12,000 fans with grandstands on each side of the playing field. The first ever game at the venue featured a 14-0 Bobcats victory over archrival Miami University in front of a sellout crowd. Following the retirement of legendary Ohio football coach Don Peden in 1946, the stadium was renamed Peden Stadium. The stadium has undergone several modifications through the years. In 1986, the seating capacity was increased to 19,000 with the addition of two new grandstands in the north endzone. Four years later, a five story tower, called the Peden Tower, was added to the stadium's west side. Today, this state-of-the-art facility houses press boxes, gameday suites, football offices, athletic training facilities, team meeting rooms, a recruiting lounge, a ticket office, the football locker room, and Ohio Athletics' academic services and compliance departments. In 1999, a new 10,000-square-foot (930 m 2) strength and conditioning center called The Carin Center was added to the ground level of Peden Stadium. Several other historically memorable events have occurred at the Stadium, including a visit by then President Lyndon B Johnson, as well as an event which featured a landing, by helicopter on the 50-yard line, by former President Eisenhower. At the suggestion of Michael A Massa, an alumnus, Peden Stadium was formally designated an official Ohio Historical Site, and an Ohio Historical Marker was placement at the front of the stadium, in August of 2010.
Some of the most extensive renovations, though, occurred after the 2000 football season. This $2.8 million project removed the track, lowered the stadium's playing surface by 10 feet (3.0 m), and increased the seating capacity to its current mark of 24,000 with the addition of lower-level, bleacher-back seats collectively called the Phillips Club. Also during this renovation, permanent seating for Ohio's marching band, The Ohio University Marching 110, was created in the north end zone and Victory Hill, a grass berm for overflow seating, was added to the south end of the field. In 2002, the natural grass playing surface at the stadium was replaced with FieldTurf, and in 2003 a new Daktronics video scoreboard was added to the south endzone. Following the completion of the 2004 season, the stadium underwent another large project that renovated/expanded the stadium's athletic training facilities, added a large team auditorium, improved position meeting rooms, expanded the recruiting lounge, and enlarged office space for the football coaches. In 2009 the Marching 110's former permanent location in the north end zone was transformed into "Touchdown Club" donor seating, and the band will return to their former location in the general admission seating by the Ohio University students .
Peden Stadium brought in its largest crowd on September 5, 2009, when 24,617 fans were in attendance to watch the Bobcats drop a 23-16 decision to the Connecticut Huskies. This mark overtook the previous record set on September 9, 2005 of 24,545 fans when the Bobcats defeated the Pittsburgh Panthers 16-10.
In addition to serving as the home of Ohio Bobcats football games, the stadium has been used for several other purposes. It has hosted numerous local high school football games and high school state playoff games. In addition, the stadium serves as the home of Ohio's "O Zone" Student Cheering Section and an annual homecoming "Yell Like Hell" pep rally and has been the site of several concerts.