The History of Jordan-Hare Stadium
by Van Plexico

vplexico (at) gmail.com

Addendum 1: 1996 
The World's Largest Classroom: Dr. Kicklighter Fulfills a Dream (or a least an idle fancy)

On June 3, 1996, squirrels knocked out Auburn's campus electricity (they were forever getting into the transformers and blowing them up), just as Dr. Joseph Kicklighter prepared to administer final exams for his freshman history class. As he later put it, he was "fulfilling my lifelong fantasy to teach in the stadium" when he led his 325 students out of their darkened classroom and across the street. There, in the bright sunshine, he turned Jordan-Hare Stadium into the world's largest classroom.

 

Addendum 2: 1998 
Murals, Upgrades and Ads  

As part of an overall stadium upgrade prior to the start of the 1998 season, and in conjunction with upgrades to Plainsman Park (the baseball facility), the long ban on interior advertising gave way to a "corporate sponsorship package" that included a variety of ads for companies such as Alabama Power and HealthSouth. During this time, the concourses were somewhat upgraded, including the addition of small televisions overhead along the concourse, and the interior of the stadium experienced a new paint job. 

This overhaul also included the addition of a big-screen television to the scoreboard (all the big programs were adding them that year), within an attractive display filling nearly the entire width above the South Stands. The display included pictures of past Auburn greats such as Bo Jackson, Tracy Rocker, Pat Sullivan, and Pat Dye, above featured advertisers' logos. The stadium's sound system enjoyed an upgrade that year, too-- a custom-built, computer-driven system that fills a small room and is capable of directing roughly the same level of sound to any point within the stadium (though admittedly, at times, this fluctuates due to wind conditions and computer readjustments).

Ten giant murals covering Auburn's football history were added to the exterior of the East Stands.  View these murals here.


Addendum 3: 2001
Reconfiguring the Locker Rooms and Restoring the End Zones


The capacity of Jordan-Hare Stadium actually increased by a relatively small amount, to 86,063, prior to the 2001 season, as Coach Tommy Tuberville ordered the locker rooms reconfigured. This operation moved the visitors' locker room from underneath the South Stands to a new location in the northeast corner, giving the visitors a new tunnel from which to emerge onto the field. The home locker room was dramatically upgraded and expanded, and a new tunnel was added, allowing Auburn's team to come onto the field from the center of the South Stands. A giant "AU" logo in the center of the home locker room floor was declared off-limits to foot traffic by that year's seniors, and has been roped off ever since.


Addendum 4: 2003 and Beyond
A North Upper Deck?


The plan assembled during the Dye years had called for the eventual enclosure of each end of the stadium by connecting the Upper East and Upper West decks across the end zones. Had this been done, Jordan-Hare would surely have surpassed even Neyland Stadium in Knoxville in capacity, given the wider distance between the decks in Auburn. The University came very close during the 1990s to enclosing the south end in this manner, which would have taken the capacity to 91,714, making it the fourth-largest stadium in the country at that time, but for various reasons this never came to fruition. 

A study after the 2002 season, however, revealed that scholarship seating and additional skyboxes were the real items in demand, not more general seating. In response, Auburn prepared new plans to build a free-standing smaller deck and skybox enclosure above the North Stands within the next couple of years, in a configuration similar to what Florida added to Ben Hill Griffin Stadium during the 1990s. This addition would take Jordan-Hare's capacity closer to 90,000, though probably not much over that total. The section numbers 62-99 have never been assigned within the stadium, and some will probably be used for numbering within this new deck.

At the end of the 2004 season, work began on a compromise solution to the need for more skyboxes.  The existing Upper East deck was expanded slightly, lengthening it at each end.  This provided more space underneath for additional skyboxes, while also adding a relatively modest number of Upper East deck seats above.  The stadium's capacity following this project reached 87,451.

Between the 2006 and 2007 seasons, a major renovation of the walkways and related facilities underneath the stadium was set to overhaul the appearance and capacity of the pedestrian areas.  A major portion of this project was to include the addition of many new, and much-needed, women's restrooms.

CONCLUSION

The evidence shows the main motivation for expanding the stadium over the years has been to persuade larger or more prestigious schools to come to Auburn to play Auburn's home games. This in turn increased Auburn's prestige and share of the profits. Unfortunately, accomplishing this was never easy. Visitors such as Georgia and Tennessee and especially Alabama much preferred to play at nearby neutral sites, especially if as many or more seats were available there.

To bring the teams to Auburn, the stadium was expanded. To secure the Alabama game, Pat Dye virtually forced through a second deck only seven years after the first was added. Eventually all of the teams, even the Crimson Tide, could no longer refuse to come.

Yet even as Auburn's stadium grew to a size competitive with the others, Auburn still needed fans buying tickets and sitting in the seats. Anyone can build a large stadium only to have it stand half-empty on game day. Auburn built a large stadium to attract big home games, but for the program to be successful, the seats had to be filled. To fill the stadium, the team's success on the field became a priority. The Tigers have indeed been successful on the field. The one factor has fed the other. The teams have been competitive, the fans have come, and the stadium has grown.

 

SOURCES CONSULTED

“Jordan-Hare Stadium Compared to Alabama Cities,” 1995 Auburn Football Media Guide (1995): 239.

Jeff Beard, “Jordan-Hare Stadium Down Through the Years,” Auburn University Football Illustrated (1989): 10, Buildings, Jordan-Hare Stadium Miscellaneous Folder, Series I, Auburn University Archives.

Deborah J. Miller-Wood, “Remembering...Auburn’s Stadium Through the Years,” Display script, University Archives exhibit at Foy Union Building, (Summer, 1987): 1, Buildings, Jordan Hare Stadium Miscellaneous Folder, Series II, Auburn University Archives.

Dru McGowen, “Anniversary,” Inside the Auburn Tigers (March 1989): 12, Buildings, Jordan-Hare Stadium Miscellaneous Folder, Series II, Auburn University Archives.

“Vast Program of Building on at A.P.I.,” Miscellaneous newspaper clipping, (Dec. 18, 1938): 1, Buildings, Jordan Hare Stadium Miscellaneous Folder, Series I, Auburn University Archives.

Mark Murphy, “Jordan-Hare,” Inside the Auburn Tigers (Jan. 1985): 21, Buildings, Jordan Hare Stadium Miscellaneous Folder, Series II, Auburn University Archives.

“Mr. Arnold G. Wurz, 82, Retired Engineer and General Contractor” (obit), Atlanta Journal-Constitution, (Aug. 19, 1989): C-6, Buildings, Jordan-Hare Stadium Miscellaneous Folder, Series I, Auburn University Archives.

Dan Hollis, Auburn Football, the Complete History, 1892-1987, (Auburn:  Auburn Sports Publications, 1987),  233.

“Auburn Stadium is Named Cliff Hare,” News Bureau, Alabama Polytechnic Institute, Release to Weeklies (Dec. 31, 1948): 1, Buildings, Jordan-Hare Stadium Miscellaneous Folder, Series I, Auburn University Archives.

“Alabama Poly Faculty Chairman Athletics,” Auburn-Georgia Official Program (1934): 5, Buildings, Jordan-Hare Stadium Miscellaneous Folder, Series I, Auburn University Archives.

David Housel, “Jordan-Hare: Afternoon Talks,” Auburn Football (Oct. 6, 1973): 40, Buildings, Jordan-Hare Stadium Miscellaneous Folder, Series I, Auburn University Archives.

Minutes of the Board of Trustees, April 29, 1955, Alabama Polytechnic Institute (Oct. 30, 1955-March 14, 1957): Vol. 14, Auburn University Archives.

Minutes of the Board of Trustees, Alabama Polytechnic Institute, (July 26, 1955): Vol. 14 (Oct. 30, 1953-March 14, 1957), Auburn University Archives.

Jeff Beard, Memorandum to President Ralph B. Draughon, (June 3, 1955), Buildings, Jordan-Hare Stadium Miscellaneous Folder, Series II, Auburn University Archives.

L. E. Funchess, Memorandum to G.W. Beard, (March 3, 1960), Buildings, Jordan-Hare Stadium Miscellaneous Folder, Series I, Auburn University Archives.

Minutes of the Board of Trustees, Auburn University, (Oct. 25, 1968), Vol. 17 1965-1969, Auburn University Archives.

John S. Moore, letter to G.W. Beard, (March 24, 1969):  1, Buildings, Jordan-Hare Stadium, Miscellaneous Folder, Series I, Auburn University Archives.

Minutes of Recessed Meeting of the Board of Trustees of Auburn University, (Nov. 22, 1969), Vol. 17, 1965-1969, Auburn University Archives.

John R. Burgess, Memorandum to Col. L. E. Funchess, (March 31, 1971): 2, Buildings, Jordan-Hare Stadium Miscellaneous Folder, Series II, Auburn University Archives.

Buddy Davidson, “The Game Today,” Auburn Football Illustrated, (Oct. 6, 1973): 25, Buildings, Jordan-Hare Stadium Miscellaneous Folder, Series I, Auburn University Archives.

Misc. Papers (untitled, no author given), (1980), Buildings, Jordan-Hare Stadium, Miscellaneous Folder, Series I, Auburn University Archives.

David Housel, “Jordan-Hare: A Tiger Trap,” Auburn Football Illustrated (Oct. 6, 1973): 46, Buildings, Jordan-Hare Stadium Miscellaneous Folder, Series I, Auburn University Archives.

“Jordan-Hare Stadium,” Auburn Football Media Guide (1989): 228, Buildings, Jordan-Hare Stadium Miscellaneous Folder, Series I, Auburn University Archives.

Minutes of the Board of Trustees, Auburn University, Dec. 3, 1977, Vault F-2, Box 1, 1977-1983, Auburn University Archives.

“Facts and Figures on Stadium,” Auburn Bulletin, (Sept. 23, 1979): A-6, Buildings, Jordan-Hare Stadium Miscellaneous Folder, Series II, Auburn University Archives.

Minutes of the Board of Trustees, Auburn University, Dec. 3, 1984, Vault F-2, Box 2, 1984-1987, Auburn University Archives.

Murphy, Mark, sidebar to “Jordan-Hare,” Inside the Auburn Tigers, (Jan., 1985): 20-21, Buildings, Jordan-Hare Stadium Miscellaneous Folder, Series II, Auburn University Archives.

“Jordan-Hare Stadium to be Expanded,” press release, Auburn Sports Information (Dec. 2, 1984): 1, Buildings, Jordan-Hare Stadium, Miscellaneous Folder, Series II, Auburn University Archives.

Keith Jackson, CBS Sports television interview (Dec. 2, 1989), video recording, author’s collection.

Perry Ballard, “Jordan-Hare: More Seats Needed?” Opelika-Auburn News (Sept. 30, 1990), Buildings, Jordan-Hare Stadium Miscellaneous Folder, Series II, Auburn University Archives.

Jason Sasser, “Jordan-Hare Addition Ahead of Schedule,” press release, Auburn Sports Information, (April 15, 1987):  1, Buildings, Jordan-Hare Stadium, Miscellaneous Folder, Series II, Auburn University Archives.

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