How SEC Football Stadiums Got Their Names

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

    April 4, 2016

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

    From benefactors to memorials, each SEC football stadium has its own unique flavor and history – except for places like Tiger Stadium in LSU, for obvious reasons.

    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 SEC 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.

    Alabama – Bryant-Denny Stadium

    Named for … George Denny and Paul “Bear” Bryant
    Who were they? Beginning in 1912, Denny was the Bama president for nearly a quarter of a century. Of course, Bryant was the iconic Tide coach who won six national championships in Tuscaloosa. In 1975, the Alabama state legislature voted to add Bryant’s name to then-Denny Stadium.

    Arkansas – Frank Broyles Field at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium

    Named for … Frank Broyles and Donald W. Reynolds
    Who were they? A one-time media mogul with a penchant for philanthropy, Reynolds’ foundation is one of the most generous in the country. A $20 million gift to the university in 1999 was instrumental in the expansion of Razorback Stadium. Broyles is synonymous with Arkansas sports, serving as either the head football coach or AD for five decades.

    Auburn – Jordan-Hare Stadium

    Named for … Ralph Jordan and Cliff Hare
    Who were they? Hare was a player on Auburn’s first football team, longtime chairman of the school’s Faculty Athletic Committee and former president of the old Southern Conference. “Shug” Jordan coached the Tigers to a school-best 176 victories from 1951-1975. Cliff Hare Stadium became Jordan-Hare in 1973.

    Florida – Ben Hill Griffin Stadium

    Named for … Ben Hill Griffin Jr.
    Who was he? Considered to be one of the most influential Floridians of the 20th century, Griffin was a wealthy philanthropist who donated an estimated $20 million to the university throughout his lifetime.

    Georgia – Sanford Stadium

    Named for … Dr. Steadman Vincent Sanford
    Who was he? Sanford was one of the most important educational leaders in the South during the first half of the 20th century. He served as Georgia’s president from 1932-1935 and then as chancellor of the University System of Georgia until his death in 1945.

    Missouri – Faurot Field

    Named for … Don Faurot
    Who was he? The playing field at Memorial Stadium adopted the new name in 1972 in honor of the former Mizzou graduate student, head coach and athletic director. Faurot’s innovative Split-T formation of the early 1940s gave birth to the option play.

    Ole Miss – Vaught-Hemingway Stadium

    Named for … Judge William Hemingway and John Howard Vaught
    Who were they? Hemingway was a professor of law and longtime chairman of Ole Miss’ Committee on Athletics. Legend says Hemingway approved the name Rebels when the program was known as the Flood. Vaught compiled a stellar 190-61-11 record as the Rebel’s head coach and brought the school a national championship in 1960.

    Mississippi State – Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field

    Named for … Floyd Davis Wade Sr. and Don Magruder Scott
    Who were they? Scott was an Olympic sprinter and one of the Bulldog’s first football stars. He was inducted into the Mississippi State Sports Hall of Fame for track and football in 1970. One of the co-founders of AFLAC, Wade was a longtime benefactor of MSU athletics, supporting the expansion of the football facilities at the beginning of this century.

    South Carolina – Williams-Brice Stadium

    Named for … Martha Williams-Brice
    Who was she? During the early 1970s, then-Carolina Stadium was undergoing an extensive renovation. The facelift was made possible, in large part, by a $2.75 million gift from the estate of Mrs. Brice. Her husband, Thomas, was a letterman on the Gamecock football team in the early 1920s. The name was officially changed prior to the 1972 season opener.

    Tennessee – Shields-Watkins Field at Neyland Stadium

    Named for … Col. W. S. Shields, Alice Watkins-Shields and General Robert R. Neyland
    Who were they? Shields was a local bank president, who provided the startup capital to build and equip the football field. When the field was completed in 1921, it was named in honor of the executive and his wife, Alice Watkins-Shields. General Neyland served as the Vol head coach from 1926-1952, and was the man most responsible for the growth of the program. His 173-31-12 record included seven conference and four national titles.

    Texas A&M – Kyle Field

    Named for … Edwin Jackson Kyle
    Who was he? Kyle was a former dean of agriculture and president of the university’s athletic council, posts he held from 1902-1944. The following year, President Roosevelt appointed him ambassador to Guatemala.

    MORE: SEC Football Schedule 2016: Ranking Every Game


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