Neyland Stadium – Tennessee Football
In November 2004, Tennessee Athletics unveiled its Master Plan for Neyland Stadium, which will serve as a long-term solution to the issues currently facing the facility and prepare it for its next 75 years of service.
Phase III renovations to Neyland Stadium were completed in 2010, bringing to a close the first stage of renovations to Neyland Stadium that began following the 2005 season. Visit the Tennessee Fund homepage to support the Master Plan for Neyland Stadium. | VIEW PHOTOS OF NEYLAND STADIUM
Phase I of the Neyland Stadium Master Plan renovations, completed in 2006, included extensive infrastructure work for the entire stadium, renovation of the north lower concourse, addition of LED signage, permanent recognition of the retired numbers and national championship teams and construction of the 422-seat East Club.
The $27.4 million Phase II of the Neyland Stadium Master Plan was finished for the start of the 2008 football season. This phase included several elements aimed at enhancing the fan experience at Neyland Stadium while also significantly improving the gameday areas used by the football program.
The largest phase of the Neyland Stadium Master Plan renovations began after the 2008 football season and were completed prior to the 2010 season. Phase III renovations included:
Completed in 2009:
Renovation of the top level concourse of the west lower sideline
Removal of the scissor ramps leading to the west upper deck
Addition of elevators and stairwells on the west side to increase fan accessibility and improve traffic flow
Improvements to the west tower, including sky box and press center updates
Construction of the West Club, a primary funding source for renovations
Completed in 2010:
Creation of the Gate 21 Plaza
A brick and wrought iron facade along the north and west exterior of Neyland Stadium
Statue of General Neyland added to west side entrance
Creation of entry plazas
Addition of the Tennessee Terrace on the west upper deck sideline in sections RR-WW, a primary funding source for the renovations
Visit the Tennessee Fund for more information, including photos, about renovations to Neyland Stadium.
The primary source of funding for the project came from the addition of the West Club, East Club and Tennessee Terrace sections. Each phase of renovations is separately funded to ensure fiscal responsibility.
The present day Neyland Stadium, Shields-Watkins Field, had its beginning in 1919. Col. W.S. Shields, president of Knoxville’s City National Bank and a UT trustee, provided the initial capital to prepare and equip an athletic field. Thus, when the field was completed in March 1921, it was called Shields-Watkins Field in honor of the donor and his wife, Alice Watkins-Shields.
The stadium, apart from the field it grew to enclose, came to bear its own distinguished name — Neyland Stadium. It was named for the man most responsible for the growth and development of Tennessee’s proud football tradition. General Robert R. Neyland served as head coach from 1926-1952, with two interruptions for military service.
General Robert Neyland posted a 173-31-12 record in 21 seasons as Tennessee’s head football coach. A twice life-size statue of Neyland at the stadium was dedicated in November 2010.
The history and tradition of Tennessee football began when Gen. Robert Reese Neyland came to Tennessee as an ROTC instructor and backfield coach in 1925 and was named head football coach in 1926. From that date, Tennessee was in the college football arena to stay.
Neyland, who came to Tennessee as an Army captain and left as a brigadier general, brought one of the most efficient single-wing offenses in the country to go with an unyielding defense. It was Gene McEver who kicked off the Neyland era with his 98-yard return of the opening kickoff in the 1928 Alabama game, a game the underdog Vols won 15-13. Each of his succeeding eras would be highlighted by similar big plays. Johnny Butler’s 56-yard run against Alabama in 1939 and Hank Lauricella’s 75-yard run against Texas in the 1951 Cotton Bowl.
Neyland’s 1939 Vols were the last to shut out each of its regular season opponents. Over the course of his career, 112 of 216 opponents failed to score against his Tennessee teams and the Vols still own an NCAA record for holding opponents scoreless for 71 consecutive quarters.
Neyland’s teams won Southern Conference titles in 1927 and 1932, piling up undefeated streaks of 33 and 28 games along the way, and SEC championships in 1938, 1939, 1940, 1946 and 1951. In addition, Neyland-coached teams won four national championships. The Vols were consensus national champions in 1951 and Neyland’s 21-year record at Tennessee was 173-31-12.
His legacy continues to live through his name on the football stadium, the indoor football complex and the road paralleling the Tennessee River.
First game as Shields-Watkins Field:
Sept. 24, 1921 – Tennessee 27, Emory & Henry 0.
Dedication game as Neyland Stadium:
Oct. 20, 1962 – Alabama 27, Tennessee 7.
First game on artificial turf:
Sept. 14, 1968 – Tennessee 17, Georgia 17.
Final game on artificial turf:
Nov. 27, 1993 – Tennessee 62, Vanderbilt 14.
Since attendance records were first kept beginning in the 1946 season, more than 25 million fans have watched Big Orange football in Neyland Stadium. An average of 68,925 fans have attended 364 games in 58 years. That statistic is one that promises to climb each year, as Tennessee football enthusiasts pack the stadium each autumn Saturday the Vols are home. Average attendance has been on climb since 1946, when an average of 31,167 saw six home contests.
Tennessee success at Shields-Watkins Field:
In 82 seasons and 509 games, the Vols are 398-94-17 at home, a winning percentage of .799.
Consecutive home games without a loss:
55, beginning Oct. 3, 1925, with a 51-0 victory against Emory & Henry and ending Oct. 21, 1933, with a 12-6 loss to Alabama.
Consecutive home wins:
30, beginning Dec. 8, 1928, with a 13-12 win against Florida and ending Oct. 21, 1933, with a 12-6 loss to Alabama.
Consecutive home losses:
4, beginning Nov. 13, 1954, with a 14-0 loss to Florida and ending Oct. 8, 1955, with a 13-0 win against Chattanooga, beginning Sept. 10, 1988, with a 31-26 loss to Duke and ending Nov. 5, 1988, with a 10-7 win against Boston College.
Tennessee has had 74 winning seasons in 88 years at Shields-Watkins Field, including 35 undefeated years at home. The last team to go undefeated at home was the 1999 squad, which was 7-0 at Neyland Stadium.
109,061 – Sept. 18, 2004 – Tennessee 30, Florida 28
First Night Game at Neyland Stadium:
Sept. 16, 1972 – Tennessee 28, Penn State 21.
How Neyland Stadium Grew
Year Addition Capacity Change Total Capacity
1921 Original West Stands 3,200 seats 3,200
1926 East Stands 3,600 seats 6,800
1929 West Stands 11,060 seats 17,860
1937 North Section X 1,500 seats 19,360
1938 East Stands 12,030 seats 31,390
1948 South Stands 15,000 seats 46,390
1962 West Upper Deck press box, 5,837 seats 52,227
1966 North Stands 5,895 seats 58,122
1968 East Upper Deck 6,307 seats 64,429
1972 Southwest Upper Deck 6,221 seats 70,650
1976 Southeast Upper Deck 9,600 seats 80,250
1980 North Stands net gain 10,999 seats 91,249
1987 West Executive Suites 42 suites 91,110
1990 Student Seating Adjustment 792 seats 91,902
1996 North Upper Deck 10,642 seats 102,544
1997 ADA Seating Adjustment 310 seats 102,854
2000 East Executive Suites 78 suites 104,079
2006 East Club Seats Club Level 102,037
The University of Tennessee offers tours of Neyland Stadium by appointment only Monday through Thursday. If you would like to schedule a tour, please call the Event Management department at 865-974-1205 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tour prices are listed below:
Up to 20 people: $5 per person
21-50 people: $100 flat rate
50-plus: Call for prices
Military pricing: $10 flat rate for groups of five or fewer
* Children 3-years-old and younger are free.
Directions to Neyland Stadium
From McGhee Tyson Airport: Turn north on U.S. Highway 129 leaving airport. After crossing the Tennessee River bridge just outside of Knoxville, exit onto Neyland Drive (Tennessee Highway 153). Turn left (south) at the bottom of the exit ramp and follow road until Thompson-Boling Arena is visible. Turn left onto Lake Loudoun Boulevard. Turn right at stoplight. FollowÂ Phillip Fulmer Way to stadium area.
From I-40 east (from Nashville) and I-75 north (from Chattanooga): Follow I-40 and I-75 to I-40/I-75 junction in west Knoxville. Continue on I-40 east to U.S. Highway 129 south. Follow 129 south to the exit for Neyland Drive (Tennessee Highway 153). Turn left (south) at the bottom of the exit ramp and follow the road until Thompson-Boling Arena is visible. Turn left onto Lake Loudoun Boulevard. Turn right at stoplight. Follow Phillip Fulmer Way to stadium area.
From I-40 west (from Asheville, N.C.): (updated for I-40 construction) Follow I-40 west to the Hall of Fame Drive. Take a left at the top of the exit and follow Hall of Fame Drive to the Neyland Drive exit (Tennessee Highway 153). Follow Neyland Drive until Thompson-Boling Arena is visible. Turn right onto Lake Loudoun Boulevard. Turn right at stoplight. Follow Phillip Fulmer Way to stadium area.
From I-75 south (from Lexington, Ky.): Follow I-75 south to I-275 south just past Merchants Road. Follow I-275 to I-40 east. Exit I-40 east onto James White Parkway and follow Parkway to Neyland Drive (Tennessee Highway 153) until Thompson-Boling Arena is visible. Turn right onto Lake Loudoun Boulevard. Turn right at stoplight. Follow Phillip Fulmer Way to stadium area.
All facilities and facilities projects at the University of Tennessee are supported by donations to the Tennessee Fund and season tickets.
For more information on how you can help support Tennessee Athletics, visit the Tennessee Fund homepage for more information.
Address: 1235 Phillip Fulmer Way, Knoxville, TN 37996