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Athletic Facilities


Proper athletic facilities in the early days were non-existent. Students desiring to play baseball merely found the most level spot available and played there. The first rugby football was played in the fall of 1891 on a far-from-level area behind Barracks No. 1 (Lane Hall), a wheat field located about where Shanks Hall stands today. President John M. McBryde offered part of the horticulture farm, a small ungraded area, known as Sheib Field and located near the present Memorial Chapel, for both athletic and military drill use in 1894. The area was enlarged in 1902, a small wooden grandstand was erected, and the name was changed to Gibboney Field. In 1909 the area was graded and leveled, the grandstand enlarged, and the name changed to Miles Field. Miles Field was used for football, baseball, and track until Miles Stadium was completed in 1926. Miles Stadium was razed following the 1964 football season and was superceded by the present Lane Stadium.

The first gymnasium, known as the Pavilion, was converted to that use from a mess hall in 1894. It remained in use as a gymnasium until a wooden field house was built and turned over to the Athletic Association in January 1915. However, intercollegiate basketball was played in the building originally called the Chapel, which was used during one period as an auditorium, dance hall, and gymnasium, from 1909 to 1914 before moving into the field house in 1915. Fire totally destroyed the field house, the first building erected primarily for use as a gymnasium, on Nov. 4, 1923. The Pavilion was used once again as a gymnasium until the construction in 1926 of the War Memorial Gymnasium. That facility served as the home for varsity basketball until January 1962, when the first game was played in the present Cassell Coliseum. A new field house, named the Rector Field House and supplementing the War Memorial Gymnasium and Cassell Coliseum, was completed in late 1971 across Spring Road from Lane Stadium.

A listing of major athletic facilities follows. Facilities appearing in italics no longer exist:

Auditorium and Chapel—See Library (Old) under Buildings.

Baseball Field—Located between Lane Stadium and Cassell Coliseum. Completed 1954. Replaced by English Field in 1997

Buford Meredith Cross-country Course—Opened for racing 1993; 3.1-mile course. One of few courses in the country located on a college campus. Used for training and competition. The start-finish line sits behind the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, and it winds the 3.1 miles past historical Smithfield Plantation and across Stroubles Creek. The course is named after Buford Meredith, a longtime athletics department employee who passed away in January of 2013 at the age of 78. At the time of his passing, Meredith, a grounds foreman, oversaw the mowing and landscaping of the cross country course and the areas surrounding it, and caring for the course was one of his most beloved tasks.

Burrows/Burleson Tennis Center—Addition to Rector Tennis Pavilion. Constructed 1992; 24,960 sq. ft. Dedicated and opened 1992, added three new indoor and six new outdoor courts. In 2004, both the men’s and women’s locker rooms underwent upgrades and renovations. In 2007, two large scoreboards were added indoors to allow spectators to follow the action on all six courts. In 2008, the chair-back bleachers were added to the indoor portion of the facility. Digital video cameras added to each indoor court in 2008. In 2009, the athletics department and the recreational sports department teamed up to add six new outdoor courts, and had lights installed to allow for nighttime tennis. All men’s and women’s home tennis matches played here, but the recreational sports department also uses the courts. The 1992 expansion was made possible by gifts from Dave and Betty Burrows of Roanoke; their son, Jack Burrows, and his wife, Lee, of Roanoke; and their daughter, Beverly, and her husband, Bobby Burleson, of Tallahassee, Fla. Jack Burrows and Bobby Burleson were former members of the university’s tennis team, and Burrows was inducted into Tech Sports Hall of Fame.

Cassell Coliseum—Constructed September 1960 to December 1964; 187,000 gross sq.ft.; cost approximately $2,775,000. Originally contained 10,052 permanent seats, removal of some seats to make room for more seating for the handicapped, and also renovations in certain areas forced the need to eliminate some seating. The capacity of the building now sits at nearly 9,900. Also houses locker rooms, two auxiliary gymnasiums, offices, and other athletic facilities. Roof supported by laminated wood arches. First used Jan. 3, 1962, for basketball game with Alabama—Virginia Tech won 91-67—before building had been completed. First used for commencement exercises June 9, 1963; first used for a presidential inauguration (T. Marshall Hahn’s) April 4, 1963; first used for concert purposes (Mantovani Orchestra) Nov. 19, 1963. Jamerson Center added 1984 (see Jamerson Athletic Center below); spring-loaded playing floor added 1988; new lighting system installed 1989. Restoration work, including roof reinforcement, renovation, and changes to the floor, completed 1997; cost $3.335.000. Addition and restoration work completed 1998; 2,680 sq. ft. Now contains 229,297 sq. ft., including 2,108 sq. ft. lobby. In 2001-02, the seats were stripped of their original paint and refinished to retain their natural wood look. Prior to the 2003-04 season, the concourse area was renovated and now features more accessible concession areas, new flooring, video monitors that allow fans to watch the action when not in the arena, and the addition of Hokie stone to many of the entrances to the seating area. In the fall of 2013 Tech officials hired Panasonic to install two new video scoreboards with high-definition LED displays on each end of the arena. The scoreboards are 18 feet high and 29 feet wide. Initially known as Student Activities and Physical Education Building, it soon was called Virginia Tech Coliseum. Renamed Cassell Coliseum Nov. 5, 1976, in memory of Stuart K. Cassell, chief business officer 1945-66 and vice president for administration1966-76. Dedicated Sept. 17, 1977.

Chapel—See Library (Old) under Buildings.

Dye, Peter River Couse—See Peter Dye River Course.

English Field at Union Park—Built in phases, with first phase completed 1987; total cost $1.2 million. Dedicated 1989. Includes concrete stands, spacious dugouts, bullpens on each side, and a computerized scoreboard. First game versus George Mason University, March 22, 1989; Hokies won 7-2. Baseball Coach Chuck Hartman won 1,000th career victory here with Hokie defeat of Liberty University April 27, 1992, making him the 9th baseball coach in Div. I history to win 1,000 games. New press box constructed 1997; 2,453 sq. ft.; $488,000. Named for E. R. English, a 1934 alumnus, an athletic supporter, and a founder of the Student Aid Association, and his wife, Ruth W. English. On March 21, 2016, Virginia Tech renamed the baseball stadium to "English Field at Union Park" in recognition of a generous commitment of support to the athletics department from Union Bank & Trust. Dugout dedicated 1991 to Greene F. "Red" Laird, retired coach known as “Mr. Baseball.”

The park also includes the James C. Weaver Baseball Center located just beyond the left field foul pole. It was completed in December of 2009, and on Sept. 1, 2015, was renamed in honor of the university's former athletics director, Jim Weaver. The building is over 8,000 square feet in size and features four separate batting cages enclosed in netting. This netting can be raised to expose an area that is nearly the size of a normal infield, if the team chooses to work on fielding or throwing. Renovations will improve locker room and team meeting areas.

Field House (Old)—The building was completed in 1914; cost approximately $18,000; destroyed by fire on November 4, 1923. The first building erected primarily for use as a gymnasium; also used for dances. Wooden facility located on a site approximately halfway between today’s Newman Library and Eggleston Hall. Dedicated Jan. 27, 1915. This article written in 1914 by Coach Branch Bocock describes the advantages of the new facility and all it would offer; it was published in the Bulletin of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute.

Football Locker Room Facility—Opened November of 2010, the Virginia Tech football locker room is part of the Coliseum complex, connected to the Jamerson Athletic Center. The $18 million building is nearly 42,000 square feet, with the 14,800-square-foot locker room on the first floor of the building. The lockers, which are 42 inches and made of wood, include a ventilation system to keep football pads and helmets dry, as well as individual safes for players to store valuables. Each locker also has electrical outlets for cell phone chargers and other electrical equipment. The locker room also includes showers, a cold tub, a hot tub, a steam room and a sauna that is used extensively to help players recover from injuries. The coaches also have their own locker room. The second floor of the building is 12,900 square feet and includes a players’ lounge and a study room. Adjacent to the lounge area is a 2,900 square-foot balcony that overlooks the Steve Johnson Practice Field. The building contains a third floor, constructed for the wrestling program, which uses it as a wrestling room for practices. The floor also holds the wrestling team’s locker room and coaches’ offices.

Football Practice Field—Installed behind Jamerson Hall. Completed spring 2001; cost $1,871,000. In March 2013, the field was named the Steve Johnson Practice Fields in recognition of the accomplishments and philanthropy of alumnus Steve Johnson of Bristol, Va. A standout tight end for the Hokies in the mid- and late 1980s, Johnson earned a bachelor's of secondary education from Virginia Tech in 1988. Following his college career, Johnson played for the Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots. As part of the construction of the Indoor Practice Facility in 2015, a cold-resistant Bermuda grass strain replaced the bluegrass field and a sprinkler system was added. Earlier practice field, added in 1972, was located between the greenhouses and Spring Road. See Moseley Practice Field.

Gibboney Field—See introduction, above.

Golf Course—First nine holes opened May 1958. Second nine holes added 1974. Clubhouse constructed 1910 as private residence. Course was brainchild of Stuart K. Cassell, then business manager and later vice president for administration, but Cassell was unable to gain state funding. According to President Emeritus T. Marshall Hahn Jr., Cassell “sent a couple of tractors to the southwest corner of the campus to push dirt around.” Later, Cassell had nine turfgrass research plots established, connected them with fairways, and created a golf course. Cassell used the same procedure to get the next nine holes. Hahn said that Gov. Tom Stanley called Cassell to object to the use of state funds for such a project. Cassell reportedly said, “Governor, show me in our books where VPI spent any money on a golf course.” Was used by golf team for practice and open to the public. First nine holes obliterated in 2000 when construction began on The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center and Holtzman Alumni Center at the site. Removal of remaining nine holes began in 2010. In 2003, university acquired a golf course in Fairlawn, Va. See Peter Dye River Course.

Indoor Practice Facility—The facility, built by W.M. Jordan Company, cost $21.3 million and was finished in the summer of 2015. It is 210 feet wide and 400 feet long, with an artificial surface installed by Shaw Sports Turf. The height from the playing surface to the bottom of the steel ceiling trusses is more than 86 feet at its apex, thus allowing plenty of room for punting and kicking. Its eight-foot padded walls, wide sidelines, full scoreboard, and 40-second clocks on each end allow the football program to hold a full-contact scrimmage. There are garage-type doors, which open quickly and allow the players to move rapidly from the outdoor practice field into the indoor facility in the event of inclement weather. There is a video platform that runs the entire length of the field, with three doors at separate locations lead out to observation decks to allow the video staff to film the portions of practice being held outdoors. The head coach also has his own observation deck in the facility, with a door that leads to a deck outside for the observation of the outdoor portion of a practice. In addition to the football team, men’s and women’s soccer, softball, baseball and lacrosse can all use the building for training and conditioning purposes, particularly during inclement weather in late winter and early spring.

Hahn Hurst Basketball Practice Center—Constructed 2008-09; 49,000 sq. ft.; cost $21 million. First used Aug. 10, 2009. Sits adjacent to the east side of Cassell Coliseum. Includes memorabilia areas, coaches’ and staff offices for both the men's and women's basketball programs, small kitchen, conference room, two basketball courts, locker rooms, film classrooms, lounges, equipment room, examining rooms, strength and conditioning area, training room, weight room. There is a large patio area in the back that looks out over the Steve Johnson football practice field and at Lane Stadium. Named for President Emeritus T. Marshall Hahn Jr., Anne Hahn Hurst, and Marshall Hurst in 2010.

Jamerson Athletic Center—Constructed 1982 adjacent to and adjoining Cassell Coliseum (see Cassell Coliseum above); 39,617 sq. ft.; cost $1.83 million. Dedicated Sept. 9, 1983. Football locker rooms expanded, training facilities expanded, non-revenue sports coaches offices expanded, office for team orthopedist added, 1996. Houses administrative and coaches’ offices, athletic department accounting and business offices, team and coaches’ meeting rooms, the Jim “Bulldog” Haren weight room, and the Gordon D. Bowman Memorial Club Room, which is open to Hokie Club members. Named in honor of J. E. Jamerson and his son, alumnus William E. Jamerson, owners of the firm that constructed the building and strong supporters of athletics at the university.

Johnson-Miller Outdoor Track Complex—Completed 1997 and dedicated Sept. 27, 1998; cost $1.89 million. Includes an eight 42-inch lane track, 10 dash lanes, and a pole vault pit, long and triple jump areas, steeplechase lanes and areas for the shot put, discus, hammer throw, javelin and high jump events. Originally, the track surface featured a Mondo surface, but in 2010, a new surface was installed called the Beynon Tuned BSS 1000. There is a state-of-the-art Finish Lynx timing system for accurate results. A nine-foot berm on the south side of the track ultimately will be terraced to provide seating. Named for W. Stuart Johnson, Tech’s “Mr. Track” in 1952 and first man elected to Virginia Tech Hall of Fame solely on his records in track and field, and Jack William Miller Jr., co-captain of 1953 team. Their support made the complex possible.

Other tracks have been located on Miles and Gibboney Fields, at Miles Stadium, and between Rector Field House and Southgate Drive (a “Grasstex” track completed in 1965; cost $78,000; now Tech Softball Park). Soccer was part of complex until construction of Virginia Tech Lacrosse and Soccer Stadium in 2003 (see Virginia Tech Lacrosse and Soccer Stadium). The infield was used as a practice field for the Marching Virginians until the Sochinski-McKee Marching Virginians Center was opened in August 2015.

Lane Stadium/Worsham Field—Stadium construction commenced 1964; most major construction completed 1969; cost $2,113,047. Initially designed to seat 35,000. First used Sept. 24, 1965, for a freshman football game between Virginia Tech and University of Maryland, which ended in 8-8 tie. First varsity game, Virginia Tech versus College of William and Mary, played Oct. 2, 1965, with Tech winning 9-7. Dedicated Oct. 23, 1965, at combined Homecoming and first Governor’s Day football game with University of Virginia, which Tech won 22-14.

In 1971 an area underneath the cantilevered press box was glassed in to seat members of the Golden Hokie Club. Additional 26,768-sq-ft. restroom area and concourse on east side completed 1977. Additional 12,500 seats (new tier on one side) installed 1981; cost $3.17 million. Modern lighting system added 1982; replaced 2005. First night game Nov. 25, 1982.

New scoreboard containing Big East Conference logo installed 1991; replaced with Jumbotron 2005. That board was replaced by a massive structure prior to 2013 season. Auxiliary scoreboard on north end added 1994. In the spring of 1994, renovations were completed on seven lower sections of the east stands. Renovations included replacing concrete risers and the addition of wheelchair seating.

Re-sodding of field and addition of seats in sections 2-8; new loud speaker added in 1996; cost $220,000. Restoration and repair of concrete completed 1998; cost $1.9 million. Ticket booths added to south entrance 1997. Summer, 1999, approximately 2,100 permanent seats were built in the North end zone and in Summer, 2000, approximately 3,000 more permanent bleacher seats were added to the North end zone. In Summer, 2001, roughly 600 new, permanents seats were expanded down to the field in the North end zone to provide a place for The Marching Virginians sit.

Expansion of south end zone, adding 11,120 seats and enclosing south end zone, 2002; cost $37 million. The double-deck structure has bleacher, bench-back and club seats. Below the stands are a football visitor’s locker room, which can be divided and used for other sports’ visiting teams in the winter and spring and the June Oblinger Shott Media Center, which houses a press room, two press conference areas, three radio rooms, a photo work room and several storage rooms.

The old press box removed in 2004. A new press area on the west side with a dining area and improved overall facilities, additional luxury suites, a new President’s area, four private club seating areas, new concession stands, a ticket office, athletic fund offices, an athletics memorabilia area, and a new student academic services area were included in this project and were completed prior to the 2006 season. The addition provided another 11,000 seats, including 1,160 bleacher seats with backs, 1,200 club seats, and 15 luxury suites, improved visitors’ locker room, addition of more convenient high-tech media center, and new press area added; cost $52.5 million. Permanent seating capacity: 66,233.

In 2001 Worsham Field received top-of-the-line natural grass turf, drainage, an air vacuum and blower system, and remote monitoring and control of field conditions and maintenance procedures; cost $1,366,500. Stadium and playing field financed completely through private funds and gifts. In the winter of 2003-04, a heating system was installed to keep the grass at an optimum temperature during the winter months.

The stadium is named for the late Edward H. Lane, a graduate of the university and a former member of the Board of Visitors. Lane headed an educational foundation project which raised more than $3 million for the original construction. Lane’s personal donation was the first received by the fund. On Sept. 5, 1992, Worsham Field was officially dedicated in honor of Wes and Janet Worsham, longtime Hokie supporters from Kilmarnock, Va.

Merryman Center—All-purpose athletic building. Completed 1998; 37,500 sq. ft.; cost $11.1 million. Dedicated Sept. 26, 1998. Includes a sports medicine complex complete with training rooms and doctors’ offices, strength and conditioning complex, speed and agility gym, football coaches’ locker room, student life center and study hall, 130-seat auditorium, nine positioning meeting rooms, coaches’ offices, athletic memorabilia area, and video department. Joins Cassell Coliseum with Jamerson Athletic Center. Named for F. W. “Sonny” Merryman family of Rustburg, Va., which donated a major gift that kicked off a fund-raising campaign for the building.

Miles Field—"Plans were drawn up in April providing for a field 550 x 350 ft., within which are to be located the football and baseball grounds, with an oval, 440 yd., cinder track, fifteen feet in width, and a 220-yard tangential straight-away of like dimensions and material." Article from the Bulletin of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute -- The State Agricultural and Mechanical College, Commencement Number, October, 1909, pg. 54.

Miles Stadium—Built in sections using class donations. Cost $101,344; seated 3,760 in permanent seats. First game played Sept. 25, 1926; resulted in victory over Roanoke College. Dedication game played Oct. 23, 1926, with Virginia Tech beating the University of Virginia 6-0. Seating capacity increased to 16,000 by using temporary bleachers. Last game played Nov. 7, 1964. Razed 1964-65. Of 95 games played in the stadium, Tech won 66, lost 25, and tied 4. Located at site now surrounded by O’Shaughnessy, Lee, Pritchard, and Payne halls. Named for Clarence P. “Sally” Miles ‘01, former director of athletics, graduate athletic manager, professor, and dean; old Miles Field and Miles Dormitory also named for C. P. Miles.

Moseley Practice Field—Completed 1998 as part of McComas Hall project; cost $300,000. Named for late football coach and athletic director Frank Moseley. Practice moved in 2001 to new Football Practice Fields (see above).

Pavilion—See Pavilion under Buildings.

Peter Dye River Course of Virginia Tech—Golf course. Five sets of tees along 2.5 miles of New River in Pulaski County. Acquired 2002. Renovation 2003-06, with funding provided by Bill (alumnus) and Alice Goodwin of Richmond, Va. Dedicated 2006. Designed by golf-course architect Peter Dye. Dedicated June 2006. Harry S. and Patsy B. Williams Clubhouse construction started 2008; anticipated completion 2009; $5.5 million. Open to public (a daily fee public facility); used by university golf team. Named “Best New Remodel” golf course for 2006 by Golf Digest.

Rector, Carol B. Tennis Pavilion—Indoor tennis courts. Completed 1975; 21,787-sq-ft.; cost $800,000. Dedicated Oct. 2, 1976. Named for Carol B. Rector, a friend, benefactor, and former employee of the university. Addition 1992 (see Burrows-Burleson) added three new indoor and six new outdoor courts.

Rector Field House—Major construction completed 1971; 71,189-sq-ft.; cost $636,345. Dedicated Sept. 8, 1973. Built primarily of stone and structural steel. Included a full-length AstroTurf football field (artificial turf added 1973) surrounded by 310-yard tartan track; cost $500,000. A 200-meter, Mondo-surfaced, banked indoor track was installed and used for the first time during the 1996-97 season. A new artificial turf field was also installed in 1997 at a cost of $500,000. A sports medicine area, renovated restroom areas, and a new lighting system have been added over the years. Named in 1972 for 1958 alumnus Charles W. Rector, president and chief administrator of Rector Construction Company.

Sheib Field—See introduction, above.

South Recreational Fields—Four softball and six football fields. Lower fields constructed in 1972. Used for intramural sports activities, softball sport club practices and games, and a practice field for the Marching Virginians. Lights added 1988; cost $200,000. Upper fields completed summer 2002; cost $1.529 million. Used by outdoor sport clubs in cricket, field hockey, lacrosse, rugby, and soccer. Field building added 2003; 2,117 sq. ft.; cost $464,235.

Student Activities and Physical Education Building—See Cassell Coliseum.

Tennis Courts—Eleven outdoor tennis courts installed on Washington Street beside Cassell Coliseum in 1965, with 11 more constructed sometime between 1971 and 1975. Resurfaced 1996 and given facelift for 1997 Atlantic 10 Conference tennis championships. In 2007-08, the number was reduced to 12 courts to accommodate construction on the basketball practice facility. Plans call for six courts to be constructed on the lower South Recreational Field. Used by sport club tennis teams and for instructional programs.

Thompson Field—serves as the home of the Virginia Tech men’s and women’s soccer teams as well as the lacrosse team. Completed 2003. First game played Sept. 2, 2003, when women’s team defeated American University 3-2 in double-overtime. Seats 1,000 fans. The field is a bluegrass playing surface and measures approximately 75 by 120 yards. It is equipped with an underground irrigation system and a drainage system and is lighted for night games. In 2005, workers completed a new restroom facility for the field, and during the summer of 2008, a new 900-square-foot game operations center was erected atop the stadium, with two broadcast booths and two covered areas devoted to broadcasting and/or videographers’ cameras. Between each team’s bench area is the Sandy D. Thompson Press Box. Formerly the press operations center for the field, the facility is now used as a halftime room for game officials and as an auxiliary area for press and game operations. There are approximately 2,028 bench-back seats and a spacious area around the field allows for nearly 1,500 more fans to watch games. The field was named in 2008 for Sandra D. Thompson, longtime supporter of women's athletics at Virginia Tech.

Varsity Football Practice Field—Added in 1972 between the Greenhouses and Spring Road, and Rector Field House. McComas Hall was built on a portion of the fields and Thompson Field replaced the eastern section.

Virginia Tech Park—Was home of baseball teams 1955-89 and later served as soccer field. Located between Lane Stadium and Cassell Coliseum. More than 500 fans could watch games on the regulation-size soccer field. Replaced with Virginia Tech Lacrosse and Soccer Stadium—see above.

Virginia Tech Softball Park—Completed 1997; cost $520,000, dimensions of 200 feet down the lines and 220 feet to center field. Three prefabricated, 8-by-18 foot press boxes added 2000 with a camera platform on top; 144 sq. ft. Initially seated 336. Added 746 permanent seats and made other improvements, 2007-08; cost $1.2 million. Now seats 1,082. In the fall of 2011, a new video board, scoreboard and sound system were installed, along with a $200,000 lighting project that saw six poles with permanent lights installed.

War Memorial Gymnasium—An alumni campaign for building a gymnasium to memorialize Techmen who had lost their lives in World War I began in 1919; resulting building completed in 1926 and dedicated Oct. 23, 1926. Pool added 1933. Total cost $436,710; 91,594-sq-ft. Used in the past for varsity basketball (1926-1961) and auditorium, dance, and exhibition hall; radio and television offices; and Alumni Association offices. Initially called World War I Memorial Gymnasium. Closed 1972-75 for significant renovation and expansion; 171,167 sq. ft.; cost $5.996 million. Total area 200,961 sq. ft. Reopened May 1975. A 1992 flash flood caused damage that necessitated remodeling. Satellite police department office opened in the building 2006.

Worsham Field—See Lane Stadium.

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