How Big 12 Football Stadiums Got Their Names

    How did each Big 12 football stadium get its name? What are the stories behind the names to college football’s shrines?

    September 24, 2016


    How did each Big 12 football stadium get its name? What are the stories behind the names to college football’s shrines?


    From benefactors to memorials, each Big 12 football stadium has its own unique flavor and history.

    So what’s in a name?

    Their names are as much a part of the sport as the players that wear the school colors or the coaches that prowl the sidelines – with the exception of those places named after nicknames or schools. They’re integral fragments of your autumn vernacular, yet you often know not who they are. You’ve spent countless hours and memorable moments in their houses, but you’d struggle to identify them in a photo.

    They are the names behind the football stadium names. The men, women and corporations, who’ve been honored for their unwavering service, dedication and generosity to institutions of higher learning.

    Those surnames on the outside facing of your favorite Big 12 football stadiums and the face of your Saturday afternoon ticket stubs are real people. Real special—and philanthropic—people in most instances. Their backgrounds and paths to immortality are as diverse as the architecture of the arenas themselves. Their drive for success and love for a school are the ties that bind this unique collection of individuals.

    Baylor – McLane Stadium

    Named for … Drayton McLane, Jr.
    Who is he? McLane is a Baylor alum, benefactor to the school and one of America’s richest individuals. Also the owner of the Houston Astros, he helped build a wholesale grocery distribution center established by his grandfather in 1894.

    Iowa State – Jack Trice Stadium

    Named for … Jack Trice
    Who was he? In 1923, Trice became the first African-American athlete in Cyclone history, participating in both track and football. In his first game, he suffered a broken collarbone that forced him into a Minneapolis hospital. Two days after being declared fit, he tragically succumbed to internal bleeding.

    Kansas State – Wagner Field at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium

    Named for … David and Carol Wagner and Bill Snyder
    Who are they? Two decades ago, the Dodge City couple donated $1 million to buy Kansas State new artificial turf. The Wagners—perennial $25-a-year contributors—won $37 million in a 1991 national lottery drawing, allowing them to dramatically improve their support for the ‘Cats. KSU Stadium became Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium in 2005 in honor of the current coach, who remarkably put the sad-sack program on the map in the 1990s.

    Oklahoma – Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium at Owen Field

    Named for … Edward L. Gaylord and Bennie Owen
    Who were they? In 2002, the Board of Regents honored Gaylord, founder of the Daily Oklahoman newspaper, and his family for the more than $50 million they’ve donated to the university. In his illustrious 22-year career as the Sooners’ head coach, Owen led OU to a 122-54-16 record and four undefeated seasons. He was a charter member of the National Football Hall of Fame.

    Oklahoma State – Boone Pickens Stadium

    Named for … T. Boone Pickens
    Who is he? The stadium name changed from Lewis field, in honor of Laymon Lowery Lewis. He received this honor in 1914 when he was Oklahoma A&M’s acting president. Considered one of the most popular individuals in school history, he also served as the dean of veterinary medicine, science and literature. Of course, that got swept away when Pickens, an oil tycoon, came in and gave a ton of cash to the school earlier this century.

    TCU – Amon G. Carter Stadium

    Named for … Amon Giles Carter Sr.
    Who was he? Carter was a renowned member of the Fort Worth community and the founder and publisher of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. His endeavors and philanthropy helped put Fort Worth and TCU on the national map in the first half of the 20th century.

    Texas – Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium/Jamail Field

    Named for … Darrell K. Royal and Joseph Jamail
    Who were they? Royal is the most popular and successful coach in the storied history of Longhorn football. During his 20 years in Austin, he compiled a 167-47-5 record, 11 SWC championships and national titles in 1963, 1969 and 1970. Jamail was one of the most conspicuous and wealthy trial lawyers in America. He has donated more than $5 million to his alma mater.

    Texas Tech – Jones AT&T Stadium

    Named for … Clifford Jones and AT&T
    Who were they? Jones was a former president of the university and a contributor of $100,000 when the stadium was constructed in the 1940s. Known as Jones SBC Stadium in 2000, the name changed in 2006 when SBC Communications purchased—and adopted the name of—AT&T.

    West Virginia – Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium

    Named for … Milan Puskar
    Who was he? In 2004, the stadium was named in honor of Puskar, a Morgantown resident and philanthropist who donated $20 million to the university. He co-founded in 1961 Mylan Pharmaceuticals, a multinational company that generated more than $7 billion in 2014.

    MORE: Big 12 Football Schedule 2016: Ranking Every Game

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