Vaught-Hemingway Stadium

Vaught-Hemingway Stadium at Hollingsworth Field is an outdoor athletic stadium located in Oxford, Mississippi. The stadium serves as the home for the University of Mississippi Rebels college football team. The stadium is named after Johnny Vaught and Judge William Hemingway.

History

Built starting in 1915 as a federally-sponsored project, a series of expansions and renovations have gradually expanded the stadium and modernized its amenities, allowing the Rebels to play all of their home games on campus. Prior to the early-to-mid 1990s, Ole Miss would play many of its big rivalry games, including the heated feuds with LSU, Mississippi State, Tennessee, University of Southern Mississippi, and Arkansas at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium in the state capital of Jackson, located approximately 170 miles (270 km) south of the Ole Miss campus; and to a lesser extent, the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis. The Ole Miss-MSU game, commonly referred to as the Egg Bowl, was held in Jackson every year from 1973 through 1990 before returning to a home-and-home series.

Namesake

When the stadium opened, it was named for Judge William Hemingway, a professor of law and chairman of the University's Committee on Athletics. October 12, 1982 saw the addition of legendary Ole Miss coach Johnny Vaught's name to the stadium. September 5, 1998 saw the field named for longtime supporter Dr. Jerry Hollingsworth, bringing the current official title to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium at Hollingsworth Field.

Expansions and upgrades

The most recent expansion, completed in 2002, replaced the south end zone bleachers with a rounded bowl, adding luxury boxes and covered club seating in an upper deck, as well as additional general admission seating for students and season ticket holders; these renovations expanded seating capacity by nearly 10,000, giving Vaught-Hemingway a capacity equal to that of the stadium in Jackson. In 2009, following record season ticket sales, it was reported that the University was looking into another expansion to possibly complete the stadium "bowl" in the north endzone.

Other notable upgrades include the installation of lights in 1990, a jumbotron in 1997 and the replacement of the natural grass turf, which had become increasingly hard to maintain, with an AstroPlay artificial turf surface in 2003. Ironically, the stadium had been among the first in the nation to switch from a natural grass playing surface to artificial turf in 1970, and then one of the first of those stadiums to switch back to natural grass in 1984. The field surface was again changed in 2009 from AstroPlay to FieldTurf, making Ole Miss the first team in the Southeastern Conference to play their home games on the surface (other SEC teams use it on their practice fields but Ole Miss was the first to use it on their game field).

Attendance record

On October 10, 2009, 62,657 spectators were in attendance when the #20-ranked Rebels faced the #3-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide. The Rebels fell to the Crimson Tide with a final score of 22–3. The previous record was set in 2003, when the Rebels lost 17–14 to eventual national champion LSU in front of a crowd of 62,552.

Indoor practice facility

In 2004, a 150,000-square-foot (14,000 m2) indoor practice facility and locker room facility was opened. This facility is linked to the existing stadium via a secured, underground tunnel that provides players with gameday access to and from the state of the art training features and expansive meeting areas housed there.

Video display

For the 2008 season, Vaught-Hemingway Stadium got a new high definition Daktronics video board to replace the Sony Jumbotron that had been installed in the north Endzone in 1997. The new board is the eighth largest scoreboard in NCAA college football (fourth in the Southeastern conference, second in Mississippi), measuring in at 48 ft (15 m) by 84 ft (26 m) (4,032 square feet). Ole Miss' board cost $6 million, all of which was paid for by Telesouth Communications as part of a multimedia rights agreement with the University.

Building Activity