University StadiumEdit profile
University Stadium is an outdoor football stadium on the south campus of the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It is the home field of the New Mexico Lobos football team of the Mountain West Conference. The stadium opened in September 1960 and currently has a seating capacity of 39,224. The natural grass playing field runs in the traditional north-south configuration and sits at an elevation of 5100 feet (1554 m) above sea level.
The stadium replaced Zimmerman Field, a 16,000-seat stadium which was located just south of the current library. Needing more room for campus facilities, the university purchased land south of campus, near the corner of Avenida Cesar Chavez and University Boulevard. This land became the "south campus", which, includes The Pit and Isotopes Park, the Lobo Tennis Club, Lobo Field, Lobo Softball field, the Rudy Davalos Basketball Center and buildings housing the athletics department as well as the football stadium.
When it opened in 1960, University Stadium consisted of the east and west stands and press box. The stadium was built in an existing arroyo with the grandstands built up from moved earth for an earthen fill that was then cemented over. This "berm" style construction placed the field below ground level with seats above and below the natural ground level. Initial costs for the stadium were just over $4 million. University Stadium opened on September 17, 1960 with UNM defeating an overmatched National University of Mexico by a score of 77-6.
A new press box with private suites was built in 1976 at a cost of $1.8 million. Because the stadium had been built on earthen fill, the press box had to be supported on large concrete cylinders that went down to the pre-existing ground level. In 1995 the next major addition to University Stadium came when UNM built the L.F. "Tow" Diehm Athletic Facility, a field house and athletic training facility located in the southern end zone.
University Stadium's current expansion began in 2001 with stands, new bathroom and concessions facilities in the north end zone. UNM also added a large, then state-of-the-art scoreboard that included the "LoboVision" video screen. In 2004, portable bleachers were donated to UNM by the city of Albuquerque in 2004 to take the stadium's capacity beyond 39,000.
Expansion is currently continuing. The next phase of expansion includes renovations of the stadium's southwest and southeast corners as well as adding an additional 5,000 seats to the south end of the stadium as well as a tunnel leadning into the Tow Diehm facility . By the time renovations are completed, the stadium will seat over 42,000.
In December 2006, it hosted the inaugural New Mexico Bowl. The game was funded by a $2 million line of credit from ESPN and featured the San Jose State Spartans of the Western Athletic Conference and the University of New Mexico of the Mountain West Conference. SJSU defeated UNM 20-12. The game was the first Division I bowl game played in the state of New Mexico. University Stadium had hosted the Division II national championship, named the Zia Bowl, in early December 1979 and 1980. In Zia Bowl I, Delaware defeated Youngstown State 38-21. In Zia Bowl II, Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo (now simply Cal Poly) beat Eastern Illinois 21-13. Attendance was 4,000 or less for both Zia Bowls, and in 1981 the Division II championship was moved to McAllen, Texas.
University Stadium hosted a U.S. women's national soccer team FIFA World Cup qualifying match against Mexico in May 2004 and a friendly match between the U.S. men's national soccer team and Honduras in March 2005.
The stadium has hosted concerts by many famous artists, including Led Zeppelin, Metallica & The Rolling Stones, among others.