As surprising as it may be to all but the most diehard of Mississippi State football fans, Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field in Starkville, Miss., is the second oldest among Football Bowl Series (FBS) schools and fifth oldest in all of college football.
The only FBS stadium older than MSU’s 104-year-old facility is Georgia Tech’s Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta (built in 1913). Overall, it falls in line behind Penn’s Franklin Field in Philadelphia (1895), Harvard Stadium in Boston (1903), the Yale Bowl in New Haven, Conn., (1913) and Bobby Dodd on the list of truly historic college football venues.
Built in 1914 as a replacement for Hardy Field, it was originally called New Athletic Field. In 1920, the MSU student body adopted a resolution to name it Scott Field in honor of Don Magruder Scott, one of the stars of the school’s 1915 and 1916 squads and an Olympic sprinter. Scott, from Woodville, Miss., finished fifth in the 800 meters in the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium, and ninth in the modern pentathlon in the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris.
The stadium was called simply Scott Field for the next 80 years until…
Prior to the 2001 season, it was named Davis Wade Stadium in honor of longtime MSU supporter Floyd Davis Wade Sr., co-founder of the Aflac insurance company, because of a large financial contribution he made towards the facility’s expansion.
The playing surface retained the name Scott Field, and the official name of the facility is Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field.
While the facility’s seating capacity when it was constructed in 1914 is unclear, a 1928 expansion added 3,000 permanent seats on the west side and 3,000 other temporary seats to bring the capacity to 6,000. Since then, a total of eight renovations and expansions have brought the seating capacity to its current 61,337, which ranks it 12thamong the 14 Southeastern Conference stadiums.
When the original Bulldogs mascot, Bully I, died in 1939, he was buried on one sideline at the 50-yard-line. After his life was cut short by a campus bus, Bully I lay in state in a glass coffin until he was accompanied by the Famous Maroon Band and three ROTC battalions in a half-mile funeral procession to his final resting place inside the stadium – an event covered by Life Magazine.
- First game: MSU 54, Marion (Ala.) Military Institute 0, Oct. 3, 1914.
- Darrell Royal’s first game: MSU 27, Memphis 7, Sept. 18, 1954.
- Darrell Royal’s last game: Ole Miss 26, MSU 0, Nov. 26, 1955
- Jackie Sherrill’s first game: MSU 47, Cal State-Fullerton 3, Aug. 31, 1991.
- Jackie Sherrill’s second game: MSU 13, Texas 6, Sept. 7, 1991.
- Jackie Sherrill’s last game: Ole Miss 31, MSU 0, Nov. 27, 2003.
- Sylvester Croom’s first game: MSU 28, Tulane 7, Sept. 4, 2004.
- Sylvester Croom’s last game: MSU 31, Arkansas 28, Nov. 27, 2008.
- Dan Mullen’s first game: MSU 45, Jackson State 7, Sept. 5, 2009.
- Dan Mullen’s last game: Ole Miss 31, MSU 28, Nov. 23, 2017.
256-141-13 (.640) [includes five games forfeited by the NCAA from 1975-77] H&A