Rising high into the mountainous sky of the New River Valley, Virginia Tech’s Lane Stadium enters its 50th year of football competition in 2014. The Tech football team has enjoyed over two decades of success, going to 21 straight bowl games and winning 10 or more games eight straight seasons from 2004-11. 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 in 2005 and one of the scariest places to play by ESPN.com in 2007, the Hokies play on not only one of the best playing surfaces in the nation, but with the south end zone and west side additions, the Hokies compete in one of the best stadiums in the nation.
Sitting at roughly 2,057 feet above sea level, the stadium is the second-highest among all FBS schools in the eastern United States, trailing only Appalachian State (3,300).
Completed in 1965, 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.
A Towering New Look
The third in a series of upgrades was completed at Lane Stadium/Worsham Field prior to the 2006 season, finishing off a magnificent project on the west side of the stadium.
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, is 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, athletic fund offices, an athletics memorabilia area and a new student academic services area were also included in this 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 includes 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 the summer of 2003, $1.9 million was raised to fund the ongoing planning of the west side expansion, allowing for the ground breaking of the west side project.
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.
With continuous additions and improvements, Lane Stadium has kept up its reputation as one of the best places for college football.
The South End Zone
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 which can be divided and used for other sports’ visiting teams in the winter and spring.
The June Oblinger Shott Media Center, which houses a press room, two press conference areas, three radio rooms, a photo work 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.
Another addition to the facility is the 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 surfaces around.
A Winning Tradition
On Sept. 22, 1994, Tech won its 100th game in Lane Stadium in memorable fashion before a national television audience on ESPN with a 34-6 win over rival West Virginia.
On Nov. 1, 2003, Tech upset No. 2 Miami 31-7 to pick up its 150th all-time win at Lane Stadium, marking the highest-ranked opponent the Hokies have ever defeated.
Tech’s overall record at Lane Stadium is 205 wins, 72 losses and six ties in 49 years of play. The Hokies are 131-35-1 at home during Coach Frank Beamer’s tenure at Virginia Tech and more impressively, are 113-21 in Blacksburg during the last 21 seasons.
Since joining the ACC prior to the 2004 season, Tech has accumulated a record of 55-10 at home, including a conference mark of 31-9. 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 was sold out for 94 consecutive games, starting with the final home game of the 1998 season against Virginia and running through last season.
Lane and Worsham
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.
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 which raised more than $3 million for the original construction. Lane’s personal donation was the first received by the fund.
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.
Lane Stadium, featuring a modern lighting system and a seating capacity of 65,632 for this season after a new section of club seats were replaced on the west side in 2012, ranks as one of the nation’s finest collegiate football facilities.
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.
Through the Years
Original construction of Lane Stadium began in April, 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 & Mary, 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, the 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 which 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 flag poles 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 2006, a banner for center Jake Grove was added to that collection, as well as one for Corey Moore in 2009.
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.
Prior to the 1998 season, the oldest bleachers were replaced with new locust wood and the stands were waterproofed and top coated. On the east side, the roof on the former visitors’ locker room was replaced along with the wooden bleachers in the three sections above the dressing room. Also, additional handicapped seating was added.
In addition to the seats in the north end zone constructed before the 1999 season, the interior block walls and concourse tunnels were seal-coated to match the exterior of Cassell Coliseum and the Merryman Center.
Before the 2000 season, a new scoreboard, complete with “HokieVision” was installed behind the north end zone bleachers. That board was replaced by a massive structure prior to last season.
The south end zone construction project eliminated the old wooden bleachers in that area. But the north end zone bleachers were expanded down to the field, adding close to 600 new, permanent seats to make the north end zone look similar to the new south end zone. This is where The Marching Virginians – one of Tech’s two marching bands – sit. These moves cut the capacity to 53,662.
Prior to the 2000 season, approximately 3,000 permanent bleacher seats were added in the north end zone, and, prior to the 1999 season, 2,100 permanent seats were added in the same end zone. In 2003, permacaps were installed over all the wooden seats to enhance fan comfort.
In the 2013-14 academic year, a distributive antennae system (DAS) was erected behind the east stands as part of a campus-wide upgrade of cellular phone service. It increases cell phone capacity across campus and particularly on game days when nearly 60,000 people — many with smart phones — enter the stadium.
285 Spring Road
Blacksburg, Va. 24061
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|
|200th win at Lane Stadium||Oct. 13, 2012||Duke||W 41-20|
Virginia Tech’s All-Time Record at Lane Stadium: 205-72-6 (49 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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