On autumn Saturdays, Mountaineer Field is where fans from throughout the state gather for West Virginia University football action. The stadium on the Evansdale Campus in Morgantown is a first-class facility. It was not always that way after WVU football began in 1891. Various fields were used in the early years, including pastures and fields used for other sports such as baseball.
The first Mountaineer Field opened in 1924 and was completed in 1925. The 34,000-seat football field was located at the Falling Run site between Sunnyside and the original, downtown campus. Fans cherish the memory of games there. The top stadium crowd was 38,681 on November 10, 1979, the last home game at Old Mountaineer Field.
As expansion became necessary, many wanted simply to upgrade and add seats to the existing field. In 1977, Governor Rockefeller and others decided West Virginia needed a facility that would show the state moving forward and create pride among its people. A major college football stadium opened in Morgantown on September 6, 1980, with a 41-27 win over Cincinnati. It was the first game of new coach Don Nehlen, who would become the most successful coach in Mountaineer history. The stadium opened with seating for 50,000, but expansions increased the seating to 63,500. Every seat was needed for its largest crowd of 70,222 on November 20, 1993, when West Virginia, in the midst of an undefeated season, beat Miami of Florida 17-14, to win the university’s first title in the Big East Conference.
Today, Mountaineer Field is a modern sports complex. In 1994, luxury skyboxes were added, providing great views of the field. In 1998, the Caperton Indoor Facility was completed, allowing practice to take place regardless of weather. The plush Puskar Center houses office and lounge space, as well as team trophies, tributes to past Mountaineers, and a weight room. The most recent additions include a state-of-the-art video screen in the South bowl and a new lighting system for televised night games. In 2003, WVU announced that the stadium had been renamed Milan Puskar Stadium, home of Mountaineer Field, in recognition of benefactor Milan Puskar.
This Article was written by Charles W. Morris III
Last Revised on October 20, 2010