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Autzen Stadium
102707-Oregon-AutzenStadium-ext
Location 2727 Leo Harris Parkway
Eugene, Oregon 97401
USA
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Broke ground 1966
Opened September 23, 1967[1]
Renovated 2002
Expanded 2002
Owner University of Oregon
Operator University of Oregon
Surface FieldTurf – (2002–present)
NexTurf – (2001)
Omni Turf – (1984–2000)
AstroTurf – (1969–1983)
Natural grass – (1967–1968)[2]
Construction cost US$2.5 million
$80 million (2002 renovation)
Architect Skidmore, Owings and Merrill
Ellerbe Becket (2002 renovation)
Tenants University of Oregon Ducks – (NCAA)
(1967–present)
Capacity 54,000 (2002–present)
41,698 (1988–2001)
40,000 (1967–1987)

Autzen Stadium is an outdoor football stadium in Eugene, Oregon, United States. Located north of the University of Oregon campus, it is the home field of the Oregon Ducks of the Pacific-12 Conference. Opened in 1967, the stadium has undergone several expansions. The official capacity is 54,000, although attendance is routinely around 59,000 and has exceeded capacity for every game since the most recent expansion in 2002.[3]

HistoryEdit

Prior to 1967, the Ducks typically played only three games a year on campus at Hayward Field; the higher-attended games (against schools like Washington and USC) were played Script error north in Portland at the larger Multnomah Stadium. With the recognition that the football team had outgrown the campus facility and with popular support to bring all the home games to Eugene, Oregon athletic director Leo Harris led a campaign to build a new stadium on Script error that the school had acquired for the purpose in the 1950s on his recommendation.[1][2][3]

The stadium, designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, was built within an artificial landfill (over the refuse) to eliminate the need for multilevel ramps. As a result, construction took just nine months and cost approximately $2.5 million. $250,000 was contributed by the Autzen Foundation, headed by the son of Portland lumberman and philanthropist Thomas J. Autzen, for whom the stadium was named.[4] Ironically, Thomas J. Autzen is actually an alumnus of archrival Oregon State University. The foundation's donation to the University of Oregon was linked to his son's attendance at the school during the late 1930s and early 1940s.

On September 23, 1967, Oregon hosted Colorado in the first game played at Autzen Stadium, a 17-13 loss. Oregon won their first game in the new facility on October 21 over Idaho 31–6 in their only home victory of the season. The facility opened with a natural grass playing field; artificial turf was installed for its third season in 1969.

The stadium alternates with Reser Stadium at Oregon State as host of the Civil War, the annual rivalry game.

Autzen hosted the inaugural Pac-12 Conference Championship game on December 2, 2011 as the Pac-12 North champion Ducks defeated the Pac-12 South champion UCLA Bruins.

RenovationsEdit

File:102707-Oregon-Autzen-oldside.jpg

In 1981, a $650,000 meeting room complex, the Donald Barker Stadium Club, was constructed on the east rim above the end zone. The addition gave the stadium its first meeting facilities.[5]

In 1988, a $2.3 million renovation built a new press box on the south side of the stadium and converted the original north side press box to luxury suites. The renovation was designed by architecture firm Ellerbe Becket.[5]

In 1995, the field was named Rich Brooks Field, after the Ducks' coach from 1977 to 1994. Brooks led Oregon to its first outright Pac-10 championship, and its first Rose Bowl appearance in 37 years, in his last season. Brooks left Oregon after the 1994 season to become head coach of the St. Louis Rams of the National Football League.

In 2002, a $90 million facelift and expansion added seating and luxury boxes to the south sideline, bringing the stadium seating capacity up to its current level.[5]

In 2007, the large yellow "O" was added onto the south end of the stadium exterior when ESPN's College GameDay was on location. That season, "Gameday" originated two of its Saturday shows from Eugene.

In 2008, a new, 33-by-85-foot high-definition LED scoreboard and replay screen—known as DuckVision or "Duckvision 2.0"-- was installed; it replaced the original video screen installed prior to the 1998–1999 football season. It is the third largest video screen in the Pac-12.[6]

In 2010, the field was replaced with new FieldTurf that featured the new Pac-10 logo (even before the logo was officially revealed to the public). During the process, the crown was removed to make the field flat. In addition, new paneling was added to the walls surrounding the field.[citation needed]

Stadium recordsEdit

102707-Oregon-Autzen-UOentrance

The Oregon Ducks take the field for the 2007 USC game, the tenth largest crowd ever at Autzen.

The Ducks have a current streak of 83 straight sellouts at Autzen Stadium, dating back to the 1999 season. The highest attendance at Autzen was 60,055 on October 15, 2011, when the Ducks beat the Arizona State Sun Devils, 41-27.[7] This stands as the largest crowd for a sporting event in the state of Oregon.

From 1997 to 2001, the Ducks had a 23-game home winning streak at Autzen Stadium. The streak ended with a 49–42 loss to Stanford.[5] In 2011, the USC Trojans defeated the Ducks 38-35 ending a 21-game home winning streak as the Trojans handed Chip Kelly his first loss at Autzen as Oregon's head coach.

Autzen Stadium Attendance Records
Opponent Attendance Date Note
1 Arizona State 60,055 October 15, 2011 [8]
2 Washington 60,017 November 6, 2010 [9]
3 Arizona 59,990 November 26, 2010 [10]
4 USC 59,933 November 19, 2011 [11]
5 Stanford 59,818 October 2, 2010 [12]
6 Oregon State 59,597 December 3, 2009 [13]
7 USC 59,592 October 31, 2009 [14]
8 Arizona State 59,379 November 3, 2007 [15]
9 UCLA 59,277 October 21, 2010 [16]
10 USC 59,277 October 27, 2007 [17]

Location and configurationEdit

File:Autzen from butte.JPG

The stadium is located just north of the Willamette River, next to Alton Baker Park. Students typically walk to the stadium from the University of Oregon campus over the Autzen Footbridge, which passes over the Willamette, then through Alton Baker Park. The FieldTurf playing field is at an elevation of Script error above sea level and is laid out in a non-traditional east-west orientation, slightly skewed so that players will not have the sun shining in their eyes in late fall.

Crowd noiseEdit

Autzen is known for its crowd noise. Due to the stadium's relatively small footprint, the fans are very close to the action, and the field is sunken. These factors contribute to the loudness of the stadium even though it is smaller than other 'noise comparable' stadiums.[1] According to many in the Pac-10, it was actually even louder prior to the most recent expansion because the noise reverberated all the way up the stadium and bounced back down to the field—the so-called "Autzen bounce." Oregon officials say that any future expansions will trap more noise.[2]

On October 27, 2007, during a 24–17 victory against the USC Trojans, a then-record crowd of 59,277 fans was recorded at 127.2 decibels. A similarly loud 31–27 upset of third-ranked Michigan in 2003 prompted a Michigan Daily columnist to write[3]

Autzen's 59,000 strong make the Big House collectively sound like a pathetic whimper. It’s louder than any place I’ve ever been, and that includes The Swamp at Florida, The Shoe in Columbus, and Death Valley at Louisiana State. Autzen Stadium is where great teams go to die.

Michigan coach Lloyd Carr later said that Autzen Stadium was the loudest stadium he'd ever been in.[4]

File:102707-Oregon-Autzen-USC-UO-02.jpg

In 2006, a Sporting News columnist named Autzen the most intimidating college football stadium in the nation.[5]

Lee Corso of ESPN College Gameday frequently says that; "Per person Autzen Stadium is the loudest stadium that I have ever been in my entire life!"[6]

Jahvid Best, the current starting running back for the Detroit Lions, visited Autzen while playing for the California Golden Bears in 2007. He later said, "The biggest thing I remember about that game is the crowd. The crowd noise is crazy up there. Honestly, any other away game I don't really even hear the crowd. Oregon was the only place where it really got on my nerves."[7]

TraditionsEdit

Since 1990, Don Essig, the stadium's PA announcer since 1968, has declared that "It never rains at Autzen Stadium" before each home game as the crowd chants along in unison. He often prefaces it with the local weather forecast, which quite often includes some chance of showers, but reminds fans that "we know the real forecast..." or "let's tell our friends from (visiting team name) the real forecast..." If rain is actually falling before the game, Essig will often dismiss it as "a light drizzle," or "liquid sunshine" but not actual rain by Oregon standards.[8] Also, because of the use of Autzen Stadium and the University of Oregon campus in National Lampoon's Animal House, the toga party scene of the movie featuring the song "Shout" is played at the end of the third quarter, with the crowd dancing to the song.

Prior to the football team taking the field, a highlight video of previous games is shown on the jumbotron, nicknamed "Duckvision". The last highlight on the clip is almost always Kenny Wheaton's game-clinching 97-yard interception return for a touchdown against the Washington Huskies in 1994. "The Pick" is often seen as the turning point for Oregon football, which went on to the Rose Bowl that year and have enjoyed success for the most part ever since after years of losing records.

After the video, the team takes the field behind a motorcycle with the Oregon Duck riding on back to the strains of Mighty Oregon. This is followed by the north side of the stadium chanting "GO" with the south side chanting "DUCKS!".

After every Duck score and win, a foghorn blares.

Other usesEdit

Autzen Stadium is the largest sports arena in the state of Oregon. State high-school football championship games were played at Autzen Stadium, until 2006. Four Eugene high schools played their home football games in the stadium, from 1969–2001. It also hosts football camps and coaches' clinics, marching band competitions and musical concerts.

The Grateful Dead used the stadium as a tour stop ten times between 1978 and 1994,[9] including a 1987 show with Bob Dylan during which portion of their collaborative live album entitled Dylan & the Dead was recorded.

It was also used as the location for the fictional Faber College football stadium in the 1978 movie, National Lampoon's Animal House.

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

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Template:University of Oregon buildings

Template:Oregon college football venues

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