Johnson Hagood Stadium

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Johnson Hagood Stadium, is an 11,500-seat football stadium, the home field of The Citadel Bulldogs, in Charleston, South Carolina, USA. The stadium is named in honor of Brigadier General Johnson Hagood, CSA, class of 1847, who commanded Confederate forces in Charleston during the Civil War and later served as Comptroller and Governor of South Carolina.

Original stadium

When the condition of the existing College Park Stadium (located in the northeast corner of Hampton Park) became so poor as to be unservicable, the city of Charleston chose to construct a new sports stadium just south of the new campus of The Citadel, on Hagood Avenue. The new stadium was opened October 15, 1927, with a football game between The Citadel and Oglethorpe. [5] The original stadium seated 10,000 fans and was oriented east-west, perpendicular to the current layout.

Current stadium

The current Johnson Hagood Stadium was designed by the architectural firm of Halsey & Cummings. [2] It opened with seating for 22,343 on October 16, 1948, with a game between The Citadel and Davidson. The formal dedication of the new $600,000 stadium took place at The Citadel- Clemson football game held on December 4, 1948, before a then-record crowd of approximately 16,000. [6] The Citadel suggested buying the stadium from the city in 1962; it wanted it for its sports program, and the city considered it a "white elephant." [7] It was eventually purchased by The Citadel from the city of Charleston in 1963.

The historic facility gained national attention during summer 1999 when prior crewmen from the H. L. Hunley, the first submarine to sink an enemy battleship, were unearthed from underneath the stadium. The location of the stadium had once been a mariners' graveyard. In 1948, when the stadium was being built, a miscommunication led to the gravestones' being moved, but not the bodies. In 1993, the bodies of 13 sailors were discovered under the parking lot. After the discovery of the sunken H. L. Hunley (the confederate submarine) in 1995, there was renewed interest in the remains of its first crew (who had died in an unsuccessful 1863 run). Archaeologists were given permission to conduct more thorough searches as part of the renovations of the stadium, and four of the five sailors' bodies were located under the home stands. The remains were reinterred at Magnolia Cemetery. [8]

Enhancements and west side renovation

In 2001, The Citadel opened the Altman Athletic Center located in the South end zone. The facility features home and visitor locker rooms, officials’ room and a spacious entertainment area for members of The Citadel Brigadier Foundation. [2]

In 2005 stadium underwent a major renovation to update the facility by adding an improved media center, luxury skyboxes, and other features. [9] In September 2004, the Board of Visitors (its governing body) approved plans to build a new stadium on nearby Stoney Field (on Fishburne Street, adjacent to the Riley Ballpark), but there were concerns about funding the $47 million project and also about engineering issues associated with building on marshy land. In February 2005, The Citadel opted to make changes to the existing facility instead. [10]

In 2008 the West Side Tower opened. The Bulldogs celebrated the re-opening of the West Stands for the 2006 season. The completed project features luxury suites, club seats, a state-of-the-art press box and all the expected amenities of a modern-day facility. [2]

The field was named Sansom Field in 2008, commemorating the loyalty and generosity of the distinguished and active alumnus, William B. Sansom, ‘64. [2]

Issues with east side stands

In 2016, The Citadel determined that lead paint needed remediation on the east (visitor's) side of the stadium. The work resulted in the entire east side being closed for the first game of the 2016 season and some sections being opened for subsequent games. The resulting capacity was 10,500 for the first game, and about 15,000 for later games. [16] [17] [18] The Board of Visitors decided to fully renovate the east side of the stadium, announcing that decision on December 2, 2016. [19] In May 2017, demolition began on the east side stands, which will be replaced by temporary seating for 1,000 people during the next two seasons; in August, 2017 The Citadel Board of Visitors approved a plan to build new stands on the east side that will seat 3,800 and be ready for the 2019 season. [20] [21]

Stadium uses

In addition to Citadel football games, the stadium hosts high school football games for Burke High School, as well as the Sertoma Football Classic, a series of football scrimmages which raises money for charity and also marks the beginning of the Charleston area high school football season. [22] The venue hosted the 1983 and 1984 NCAA Division I-AA National Championship games (now known as the Football Championship Subdivision). The stadium has hosted home Citadel playoff games in 1992 (twice) and 2016.

Top single-game attendance

This table shows the top 10 attendance figures for The Citadel at Johnson Hagood Stadium [23]

Date Opponent Attendance Result
October 17, 1992 Marshall 23,025 L 13–34
November 14, 1992 VMI 21,811 W 50–0
November 23, 1991 Furman 21,623 W 10–6
October 25, 1969 Davidson 21,573 W 34–28
September 18, 1976 Delaware 21,570 W 17–15
September 13, 1975 Presbyterian 21,465 W 21–0
October 11, 1969 William & Mary 21,460 L 14–24
November 1, 2003 Wofford 20,863 L 16–42
September 24, 1988 Navy 20,754 W 42–35
September 12, 1992 Wofford 20,710 W 30–13

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