Duke University and the athletics department has made the commitment to maintain its athletics facilities among the finest in the nation. This commitment is clearly evident in a look at Duke's football facilities.
In August of 2002, the Duke football program moved into the Yoh Football Center -- a $22 million state-of-the-art facility.
In 1997, that commitment re-surfaced with a brand new playing surface in Wallace Wade Stadium. This, just one year removed from new practice fields and turf.
Wallace Wade Stadium, home of the Duke Blue Devils since 1929, ranks among the finest collegiate football stadiums in the nation. It has been the home for 18 conference championship teams, eight bowl squads, 54 All-America players and 197 Blue Devil victories.
Named for legendary Duke head coach Wallace Wade, the stadium is one of the most comfortable in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The horseshoe-shaped structure features aluminum bench seating, a computerized scoreboard, newly remodeled restrooms and a lighting system for night games.
The facility was known as Duke Stadium when it opened for the first time on Oct. 5, 1929. The University of Pittsburgh defeated Duke in that first game, but since that time the Blue Devils have enjoyed a winning edge on their home turf. Duke owns a record of 195-117-6 in games played there, with 58 of the victories coming by shutout.
In July of 1967, Duke's Board of Trustees approved the renaming of the stadium to honor Wade, who coached the Devils to a 110-36-7 record and two Rose Bowls. The dedication took place Sept. 30, 1967.
The lighting system was added in 1984, opening the way for night football at Duke. Lighting features include four 110-foot-high poles with 64 lights apiece, as well as illumination for parking and walkway areas. The system gives Duke scheduling flexibility for television and allows the Blue Devils to play their early fall games in the cooler evening hours.
Six summers later a quarter-million dollar world-class track was installed around the playing field. Funded by gifts from Glaxo, Inc., and N.C. Amateur Sports, the Mondo Super-X surface served as the site for the 1990 NCAA Track and Field Championships, 1995 USA Pan Africa and 1996 Gold Rush meets. In 2000, Duke will again host the NCAA Track & Field Championships to kick off the new millenium. This premier facility gives the entire Durham community a superb training and meet arena.
Last summer the Wallace Wade Stadium playing surface received an overhaul with a new turf, drainage and irrigation systems.
A "bridge" made of dirt, sand, All-Pro turf, and plywood was placed over the track to protect the Mondo surface from the trucks and heavy equipment needed to complete the job. The scraping of the dirt and turf from the field resulted in some interesting findings. The layers of dirt, normally a mixture of sand and direct, were actually after 67 years, an eight-inch layer of top soil and then an eight-inch layer of sand with old two-inch clay pipes for drains underneath. Rain and water on the field could not work its way through the dirt to the sand and into the pipes resulting in the field retaining water like a sponge.
A new irrigation and drainage system will put nearly a mile of plastic pipes under the ground with gravel and then a mixture of sand and soil, with 70 percent sand and 30 percent soil, on top. The field was then sprigged with nearly 1,200 sprigs to the bushel, a high concentration to allow for a thick surface. The field will also have a new 12-inch crown, with lasers used to ensure an even crown. The drainage system, hooked into a new main sewer line, will be able to take up to nine inches an hour of rain or water away from the field's playing surface. Duke's practice facilities, also natural grass and resodded in the summer of 1995, are adjacent to the stadium. Duke's practice turf field is used during inclement weather and to prepare the Blue Devils for action.
The stadium's largest crowd flooded through the gates in 1949, when 57,500 people witnessed the annual Duke-UNC game. The current capacity is 33,941.
The stadium also owns a special niche in college football history in that it is the only facility outside Pasadena, Calif., to host the Rose Bowl. The 1942 Rose Bowl came to Durham during World War II when gatherings of large crowds on the West Coast were dangerous. Oregon State defeated Duke 20-16 in the contest. Today, rose bushes from the Tournament of Roses Committee flank the bust of Wallace Wade at the stadium entrance.
A tribute to former longtime assistant football coach and a friend to the athletics department, Carmen Falcone, is also located near the student entrance.