American Football Database
American Football Database
Walter J. Zable Stadium at Cary Field
Former namesCary Field (1935–1989)
Walter J. Zable Stadium at Cary Field (1990–present)
LocationStadium Drive
Williamsburg, VA 23186
Broke ground1934
OpenedSeptember 21, 1935[1]
OwnerCollege of William & Mary
OperatorCollege of William & Mary
SurfaceFieldTurf Pro
Construction cost$138,395 (1935)
($2.21 million in 2021 dollars[2])
ArchitectHOK Sport (renovations)
CapacityOfficial: 12,259
Record (Official): 18,054 (1985)
Record (Unofficial): 19,000+ (1949)
William & Mary Tribe Football and Track & Field

Walter J. Zable Stadium at Cary Field, named for Walter J. Zable, former member of the College of William & Mary Board of Visitors, is located in Williamsburg, Virginia and is the home of the William and Mary Tribe football team. It is located centrally in the William & Mary campus, adjoining the Sadler Center (formerly the University Center) building and situated on Richmond Road. The stadium is used for football and track & field. It has an official capacity of 12,259 fans. The attendance figures for William and Mary football games are usually inexact, however, since students are not counted among the official results in an accurate fashion. The area of Cary Field behind the stadium was the baseball field for William and Mary until the opening of Plumeri Park in 1999.


The Stadium at Cary Field was constructed in 1935 at a cost of $138,395 under a grant from President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Public Works Administration. The namesakes of the stadium are Walter (W&M class of 1937) and Betty Zable (class of 1940), who made a $10 million contribution to William & Mary in 1990, adding the Zable moniker to the existing Cary Field. The construction of the stadium is distinct in that the primary entrance to the stadium is at the 50 yard line on one side, eliminating prime midfield seating locations. In order to secure the stadium, college officials had it designed for agriculture expositions with a cattle entrance at midfield. No expositions, however, were ever held, but the midfield seats remained lost.

The first football game played at the stadium was the 1935 season opener, a 0-0 tie against the University of Virginia. Zable himself played in the game.

Recent developments

The largest crowd in Zable Stadium history was more than 19,000 in the 1949 loss against the University of North Carolina. Zable did not feature permanent lighting for evening games until 2005, when gifts of $650,000 allowed the construction of lights over the stadium. The gifts were spurred by the 2004 NCAA Division I-AA playoff game that William & Mary hosted against James Madison University. The game was nationally televised by ESPN2, and portable lights were brought in on trucks to allow the game to be played in ESPN's evening time slot. The game featured the largest crowd in recent Zable history and created a demand for additional night games. Previously, displeasure from the Williamsburg community over night games had kept the demand for lights to a minimum.

In 2006, Cary Field's natural grass surface was replaced with FieldTurf pro, the same turf used in over twenty NFL football stadiums. The project cost an estimated $840,000.

A new scoreboard was recently installed at Zable Stadium at an estimated cost of $800,000. The scoreboard is 53’-3” wide × 27’-5” high (16.2 × 8.4 m) and features video replay capabilities.

In March 2013, the College announced that it was pursuing a project to expand the seating capacity of the stadium by 3,330 seats for the 2015 football season by constructing an elevated section above the existing stands on the west side of the stadium. As part of the plan, luxury suites and a new press box would be added. The project is estimated to cost $35 million, but has yet to be officially confirmed by the William & Mary athletics department.[3]

See also



Template:The College of William & Mary

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