The Virginia Tech football team has enjoyed more than a decade of success, going to 19 straight bowl games and winning four ACC championships since joining the league prior to the 2004 season. A big part of that success is the home-field advantage the Hokies enjoy at Lane Stadium/Worsham Field.
Billed as the toughest place in college football for opponents to play by Rivals.com, the Hokies play on not only one of the best playing surfaces in the nation, but also with the south end zone and west side additions, the Hokies compete in one of the best stadiums in the nation.
Now entering its 48th season as an arena of collegiate football competition, Lane Stadium/Worsham Field has gone through numerous changes, renovations and additions. But through it all, it has always been regarded as one of the finest places to watch – and toughest places for opponents to play – a college football game.
Lane and Worsham
The stadium is named for the late Edward H. Lane, a graduate of the university and a former member of the Board of Visitors. Lane headed an educational foundation project that raised more than $3 million for the original construction. Lane’s personal donation was the first received by the fund.
Before moving to Lane Stadium, Tech played its home games in Miles Stadium, which had a seating capacity of 17,000. The late Stuart K. Cassell proposed the new stadium as a part of a general plan for a number of new facilities for the school.
The original cost was $3.5 million compared with $3.2 million spent for the addition on top of the east stands. The stadium’s original capacity was 40,000, but the addition, completed in 1980, raised that number to 52,500. The relocation of bleacher seats dropped the total capacity to under 50,000.
Today, after additions and renovations, Lane Stadium has a capacity of 65,632, making it the biggest stadium in the commonwealth of Virginia.
The Hokies’ playing field is called Worsham Field. On Sept. 5, 1992, Worsham Field was officially dedicated in honor of Wes and Janet Worsham, longtime Hokie supporters from Kilmarnock, Va. The Worshams pledged $1 million to the university’s Second Century Campaign. The Campaign raised over $18.6 million, almost $1.7 million more than the original goal, thanks to the support of people like the Worshams.
Through the Years
Original construction of Lane Stadium began in April of 1964 and was completed four years later. The Hokies did not wait for completion, playing their first game in the stadium on Oct. 2, 1965. Tech defeated William and Mary by a score of 9-7 that day, with only the west stands and the center section of the east bleachers completed. Official dedication ceremonies took place Oct. 23 before a 22-14 win over Virginia.
Through the years, the stadium has seen several changes and renovations. In 1982, a lighting system was added to the facility. The system was first used in Tech’s nationally televised 21-14 Thanksgiving Day victory over Virginia that season. The game was broadcast on WTBS and was the first nationally televised game from Lane Stadium.
Prior to the 1989 season, Lane Stadium underwent further improvements. Tech received a donation of 16 flags with the “VT” logo for the stadium. Lane Stadium also received a new paint job that included the addition of maroon and orange stripes around the inner walls of the facility.
In 1991, a new scoreboard bearing BIG EAST Conference logos replaced the old scoreboard at the south end of the stadium, while a new auxiliary scoreboard was placed at the north end. In the spring of 1994, renovations were completed on seven lower sections of the east stands. Renovations included replacing concrete risers and the addition of wheelchair seating.
Before the 1994 season, plaques bearing retired jerseys of Tech heroes Bruce Smith, Carroll Dale, the late Frank Loria and Jim Pyne were added to the wall in the north end zone. With the addition of the north end zone seats, the four retired numbers now fly on flagpoles above those stands.
In 2002, three more flags – those bearing the names and numbers of Frank Beamer, Michael Vick and Cornell Brown – were added, retiring their jerseys, but not their numbers. In 2007, a banner for center Jake Grove was added to that collection.
In 2008, banners were placed on both the east and west sides on beams honoring conference player of the year and national award honorees, including Bronko Nagurski Trophy and Lombardi Award winner Corey Moore and Outland Trophy honoree Bruce Smith.
Before the 2000 season, the athletics department purchased a new scoreboard again, one complete with “Hokievision.” This was installed behind the north end zone bleachers.
The South End Zone
Following Tech’s appearance in the 2000 national championship game, the athletics department decided it wanted to add to the capacity of the stadium, and prior to the 2002 season, Tech added 11,120 seats in the south end zone to enclose that end of the stadium. The double-deck structure is similar to the Cleveland Browns’ “Dawg Pound” section and has bleacher, bench-back and club seats. The structure is enclosed, but has gaps between the existing structure and the new one. This is because of new building codes and a desire to get fans closer to the field.
Below the south end zone stands are several features: A football visitor’s locker room that can be divided and used for other sports’ visiting teams in the winter and spring, and the June Oblinger Shott Media Center, which houses a press room, two press conference areas, three radio rooms, a dark room and several storage rooms.
The outside of the facility also received a new look, making the entrance more inviting. Walkways and landscaping give the south and west sides a more appealing entrance for fans and teams.
A Towering New Look
The biggest upgrade to Lane Stadium, though, came prior to the 2006 season, as the athletics department tore down the press box and proceeded to start a magnificent project that added club seating, luxury suites and much, much more.
Ground was broken in November of 2004 for the project, and crews began building around the former press box, laying the above and below ground settings, as well as removing the two light towers on that side of the stadium. At the conclusion of the 2004 season, the old press box was removed and the structure was filled in to match what was built up during the 2004 season.
A new press area on the west side, toward the south end zone with a dining area and improved overall facilities, was just the tip of the iceberg. Additional luxury suites, a new President’s area, four private club seating areas, new concession stands, a ticket office, Hokie Club offices, an athletics memorabilia area and a new student academic services area were also included in the project.
In addition, the fencing that surrounded the stadium was removed and the area on the west side exterior of the newly renovated stadium was landscaped with walkways and a weekday parking lot for ticket patrons as well as memorabilia-area and Hokie Club visitors. This included a flagpole plaza near the southwest entrance. Dedicated to former football player and current Hokie Club supporter John Moody, it is a terrific meeting place with the U.S. flag flying alongside the commonwealth of Virginia flag and a Tech flag.
In 2005, the inside of the stadium was also given a new look as Hokie Stone was added to the walls in each of the end zones, so there’s no question as to where the game is being played for fans watching on television.
New kicking nets were installed in both end zones and a new video board – one-third larger – replaced the old one on the existing scoreboard. New lights that doubled the candlepower and reduced shadows on the field were added as part of the renovation.
Another addition to the facility is a turf and drainage system that was replaced in the summer of 2001 as Tech became the first collegiate football team to have a new state-of-the-art GreenTech ITM natural Bermuda grass sports field system. It provides excellent drainage with irrigation lines and a vacuum system that can handle up to 16 inches of rain an hour. In the winter of 2003-04, a heating system was installed to keep the grass at an optimum temperature during the winter months.
This innovative system is in place in just a handful of other stadiums in the world and makes Worsham Field one of the finest playing fields around.
Also, since the start of the 2008 football season, fans have had the opportunity to visit Virginia Tech’s new Hall of Fame museum located on the west side of the football stadium. Covering two stories, the museum features all Hokie sports, with galleries, display cases and interactive screens. Individual athletes honored include All-Americans, Academic All-Americans and Tech’s Hall of Fame members. Fans are able to review the history of Tech athletics through a photo timeline. The museum is open to the public Monday through Friday between 9 a.m., and 3 p.m. It is closed on weekends and on game days.
A Winning Tradition
On Sept. 22, 1994, Tech won its 100th game in Lane Stadium in memorable fashion before a national television audience watching on ESPN, beating West Virginia 34-6.
On Nov. 1, 2003, Tech upset No. 2 Miami 31-7 to pick up its 150th all-time win at Lane Stadium. The victory also marked the highest-ranked opponent the Hokies have ever defeated.
Tech’s overall record at Lane Stadium is 196 wins, 69 losses and six ties in 47 years of play. The Hokies are 132-32-1 at home during Coach Frank Beamer’s tenure at Virginia Tech, and more impressively, are 105-18 in Blacksburg during the last 19 seasons.
Since joining the ACC prior to the 2004 season, Tech has accumulated a record of 46-7 at home, including a conference mark of 26-6. The Hokies went 32-9 at Lane Stadium/Worsham field while a member of the BIG EAST.
A large part of that impressive record is the home-field environment created by the fans as Lane Stadium has been sold out for 87 consecutive games entering the 2011 season, starting with the final home game of the 1998 season against Virginia.
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History Of Lane Stadium
April, 1964 - Construction began on Lane Stadium, named after Edward H. Lane, a 1910 graduate of the school and a former member of the Board of Visitors who headed an educational foundation project that raised more than $3 million for the stadium’s construction.
Sept. 24, 1965 - Stadium used for first time, a freshman football game between Tech and Maryland
Oct. 2, 1965 - Tech’s varsity team plays in the stadium for the first time. The Hokies knocked off William & Mary 9-7.
Oct. 23, 1965 - Stadium was dedicated at Homecoming and first Governor’s Day game. Tech beat UVa 22-14.
Summer, 1968 - Construction completed on Lane Stadium at a cost of $3.5 million. The stadium seated 35,050 and featured a three-tiered press box for guests, writers and stats crews, and scouts and coaches.
1980 - Additional stands were constructed on the East side to raise the capacity to 52,500.
1982 - The Tech athletics department had a modern lighting system installed, which was first used in Tech’s 21-14 Thanksgiving Day win over UVa. WTBS broadcast the game, the first ever nationally televised game at Lane Stadium.
1991 - A new scoreboard bearing the Big East Conference logos replaces the old one at the South end of the stadium, with a new auxiliary scoreboard being placed at the North end.
1994 and 1998 - Various renovations were done to the stadium. These included replacing concrete risers, adding handicapped seating, waterproofing and coating the standings, and replacing certain wooden bleachers.
Summer, 1999 - Approximately 2,100 permanent seats were built in the North end zone. Also, the interior block walls and concourse tunnels were sealed and coated to match the exterior of Cassell Coliseum and the Merryman Center.
Summer, 2000 - Approximately 3,000 permanent bleacher seats were added to the North end zone. Also, a new scoreboard, “Hokievision,” was installed behind the North end zone bleachers.
Summer, 2001 - Roughly 600 new, permanents seats were built next to the field in the North end zone for both of Tech’s marching bands.
2002 - Construction is completed on the South end zone, which added more than 11,000 seats, 15 luxury suites, a new football visitor’s locker room that can be divided for other sports’ visiting teams in the offseason, a new press room, a press conference area, two radio rooms and several storage rooms. The entire project cost nearly $37 million.
2004-2005 - The old press box tower is torn down to make room for a new edifice which will run the entire length of the west side stands. A new press area and dining room, along with additional new luxury suites, a new President’s area, four private club seating areas, new concession stands, a new ticket office, new athletic fund offices, an Athletics Hall of Fame and a new student academic services area are also included in this project.
2012 –The outdoor club seating area was completed renovated. New, wider seats were installed and the aisles were widened to allow for more legroom.
Milestone Games In Lane
|First Win||Oct. 2, 1965||William & Mary||W 9-7|
|First Television Game (ABC)||Oct. 29, 1966||Florida State||W 23-21|
|25th Win||Oct. 11, 1975||Florida State||W 13-10|
|50th Win||Oct. 3, 1981||Memphis State||W 17-13|
|First CBS Game||Sept. 18, 1982||Miami (Fla.)||L 8-14|
|First Night Game||Nov. 25, 1982||Virginia||W 21-14|
|First TBS Game||Nov. 25, 1982||Virginia||W 21-14|
|First Game Under Coach Beamer||Sept. 12, 1987||Clemson||L 10-22|
|First Win Under Coach Beamer||Oct. 3, 1987||Navy||W 31-11|
|75th Win||Oct. 3, 1987||Navy||W 31-11|
|First ESPN Game||Nov. 24, 1990||Virginia||W 38-13|
|First BIG EAST Game||Sept. 26, 1992||West Virginia||L 7-16|
|First BIG EAST Win||Oct. 16, 1993||Temple||W 55-7|
|100th Win||Sept. 22, 1994||West Virginia||W 34-6|
|First Thursday Night Game||Sept. 22, 1994||West Virginia||W 34-6|
|Program’s 1,000th Game||Sept. 4, 1999||James Madison||W 47-0|
|125th Win||Sept. 23, 1999||Clemson||W 31-11|
|First ESPN GameDay Appearance||Oct. 16, 1999||Syracuse||W 62-0|
|Second ESPN GameDay Appearance||Nov. 13, 1999||Miami (Fla.)||W 43-10|
|Frank Beamer’s 100th Win at Tech||Sept. 1, 2001||Connecticut||W 52-10|
|Virginia Tech’s 600th win overall||Sept. 6, 2003||James Madison||W 43-0|
|150th Win||Nov. 1, 2003||Miami (Fla.)||W 31-7|
|First ACC Game and Win||Sept. 18, 2004||Duke||W 41-17|
|250th game at Lane Stadium||Nov. 6, 2008||Maryland||W 23-13|
Virginia Tech’s All-Time Record at Lane Stadium: 185-67-6 (45 years)
Longest Winning Streak at Lane Stadium: 16 games
(first, 47-0, James Madison, 1999 - last, 34-20, Boston College, 2001)
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