How ACC Football Stadiums Got Their Names

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

    April 1, 2016


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


    From benefactors to memorials, each ACC 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. 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 ACC 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.

    Duke – Wallace Wade Stadium

    Named for … Wallace Wade
    Who was he? After being known as Duke Stadium for 37 seasons, the university’s Board of Trustees agreed in 1967 to rename the stadium in honor of the Blue Devil coach, who led the program to 110 wins and a pair of Rose Bowl appearances in 1939 and 1942.

    Florida State – Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium

    Named for … Bobby Bowden and Doak Campbell
    Who were they? As Florida State’s president from 1941-1957, Campbell was an integral figure in the institution’s growth. Under his guidance, the school reverted back to being coed in 1947. For the prior four decades, it had been known as Florida State College for Women. Bowden led the Noles for 34 seasons, during which time he won 304 games, 12 ACC titles and two national championships.

    Georgia Tech – Bobby Dodd Stadium at Historic Grant Field

    Named for … Bobby Dodd and Hugh Inman Grant
    Who were they? In 1988, the Georgia State Board of Regents voted to add Dodd’s name to what had long been known as Grant Field. The “Gray Fox” had a brilliant 57-year affiliation with the Institute that included 22 years as head coach and stints as director of athletics and consultant for the alumni association. Grant was the son of John W. Grant, a prolific railroad builder and original backer of the stadium.

    Louisville – Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium

    Named for … Papa John’s Pizza
    Who are they? Papa John’s is the popular pizza chain founded by John Schnatter in 1984. Schnatter initially ponied up $5 million for naming rights, and then another $10 million in 2007 toward expansion to extend his naming agreement through 2040.

    Miami – Sun Life Stadium

    Named for … Sun Life Financial
    Who are they? The Miami Dolphins, which share this facility with the Hurricanes, struck a five-year naming rights deal with Sun Life Financial worth $7.5 million annually that expired earlier in 2016. The Fins are in the process of rebranding their building, and expect to have a new name prior to the start of the next campaign.

    North Carolina – Kenan Memorial Stadium

    Named for … William Rand Kenan Jr.
    Who was he? A Carolina graduate in 1894, Kenan went on to become an affluent international industrialist. His many years of generosity toward his alma mater began with a gift that paved the way for the construction of the stadium in 1927.

    NC State – Carter-Finley Stadium

    Named for … Nick Carter, Harry Carter and Albert Earle Finley
    Who were they? The Carter brothers were graduates of the NC State Textile School and later became top execs at JP Stevens Company. They contributed large amounts of funding toward the building of the stadium. Finley was another successful businessman and an active supporter of the Pack athletic programs.

    Pittsburgh – Heinz Field

    Named for … H.J. Heinz Company
    Who are they? The 146-year old food company won the naming rights to the state of the art facility when it opened in 2001. Heinz agreed to pay $2.85 million a year for 20 seasons for a stadium shared by the Panthers and the NFL’s Steelers.

    Syracuse – Carrier Dome

    Named for … Carrier Corporation
    Who are they? When the dome was being constructed in 1980, Carrier Corporation, the heating and cooling giant, paid $2.75 million for naming rights. The company was well ahead of its time with this investment and got a bargain by today’s standards.

    Virginia – David A. Harrison III Field at Scott Stadium

    Named for … David A. Harrison III and Frederic and Elisabeth Scott
    Who were they? Harrison, a UVA grad and former football player in the 1930s, pledged a $5 million donation to the Cavaliers’ athletic department during the 1990s. Seventy years ago, the stadium was a gift of the Scott family and was dedicated to their parents.

    Virginia Tech – Worsham Field at Lane Stadium

    Named for … Edward H. Lane and Wes & Janet Worsham
    Who were they? Lane, a Hokie grad and a former member of the Board of Visitors, headed an educational foundation project, which raised more than $3 million for the original facility in 1965. The Worshams, longtime Tech supporters, pledged $1 million to the university’s Second Century Campaign. The field was officially dedicated in their honor in 1992.

    Wake Forest – BB&T Field

    Named for … BB&T Corporation
    Who are they? Groves Stadium gave way to BB&T Field in 2007, when the financial services giant struck a 10-year naming rights deal that will expire next year.

    MORE: ACC Football Schedule 2016: Ranking Every Game

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