[Coach's Name] Field at [Trustee] Stadium
By Paul Myerberg // Jun 20, 2012
True or false: Idaho’s Kibbie Dome is named after Lloyd Kibbie, a former head coach at the university who reeled off eight straight winning seasons before stepping aside in favor of his loyal assistant, Ted Bank, in 1935. Well, one part of that question is true – Bank was named Idaho’s head coach in 1935.
No, the Kibbie Dome is not named after a former head coach, but rather a construction executive named William H. Kibbie, one of the project’s main contributors. This is how it goes for the wide majority of F.B.S. stadiums: The names on the outside typically honor trustees, school presidents, benefactors, veterans or, simply, the school itself.
One more true or false: Of the 124 stadiums in the F.B.S., 26 honor a former coach in some fashion – either with his name gracing the stadium or with a field named in his memory. That’s true. Here they are:
Alabama (Bear) Bryant-Denny Stadium
Arizona State Sun Devil Stadium, Frank Kush Field
Arkansas Donald W. Reynolds Razorbacks Stadium, Frank Broyles Field
Army (Red) Blaik Field at Michie Stadium
Auburn (Shug) Jordan-Hare Stadium, Pat Dye Field
Bowling Green Doyt Perry Stadium
B.Y.U. LaVell Edwards Stadium
Colorado (Fred) Folsom Field
Colorado State Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium
Duke Wallace Wade Stadium
Eastern Michigan (Elton) Rynearson Stadium
Florida State Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium
Georgia Tech Bobby Dodds Stadium at Historic Grant Field
Kansas State Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium
Louisiana-Monroe (James) Malone Stadium
Louisiana Tech Joe Aillet Stadium
Middle Tennessee State Johnny “Red” Floyd Stadium
Maryland (Curley) Byrd Stadium
Mississippi (Johnny) Vaught-Hemingway Stadium
Missouri (Don) Faurot Field
Ohio (Don) Peden Stadium
Oregon Autzen Stadium, Rich Brooks Field
Tennessee (Robert) Neyland Stadium
Texas Darrell K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium
Texas State Jim Wacker Field at Bobcat Stadium
Utah State Merlin Olsen Field at (Dick) Romney Stadium
Arkansas wins the award for the most laboriously named stadium – I’m pretty sure adding “Razorbacks” is a bit redundant. Auburn wins the prize for honoring two coaches, Shug Jordan and Pat Dye. Bill Snyder did his family right by keeping them in the picture.
More tidbits of note: Darrell Royal’s middle name is simply “K,” without an initial. Two coaches, Bowden and Lubick, were active as recently as 2009 and 2007, respectively. One, Snyder, is still going strong. Utah State’s stadium honors a former player, Olsen, and a former coach — not the other famous Romney in Utah.
The genesis of this post is today’s Wake Forest preview, which had me considering Jim Grobe’s place in that program’s history. Is he Wake’s finest coach? Pea Head Walker had more wins, but considering the current landscape of college football, I’d say that Grobe’s place atop the program’s coaching pantheon is secure.
The exercise: What active head coaches – because going back to include all coaches would be way too difficult – might one day deserve to see their name plastered on their current home field? You need to consider a few factors, such as the fact that simply winning big, like a Bob Stoops at Oklahoma, might not be enough to qualify.
You either need to win enormously at a major program or succeed where others haven’t – Grobe more than surpasses the latter qualification. A coach needs to have left an imprint, more or less. Here are a few names to consider, starting with Grobe.
Jim Grobe, Wake Forest
(68-67 since 2001)
The second-most wins in school history. Five of the program’s 10 bowl trips. The first coach since 1951 to win more than 50 percent of his games. Led Wake to one of its two A.C.C. titles.
Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech
(209-98-2 since 1987)
Most wins in school history – 165 more wins than his next-closest competitor. Thirteen double-digit win seasons, including an active streak of eight straight. One outright Big East title, four A.C.C. titles. The architect of one of the proudest programs in college football.
Mack Brown, Texas
(141-39 since 1998)
The highest winning percentage of any coach in the program’s modern era, ahead of even Royal. One national title and two Big 12 titles. Remade Texas in the state’s image – big, bad, bullying and larger than life. Could probably put his name alongside Royal’s.
Larry Blakeney, Troy
(164-91-1 since 1991)
Has led Troy through several incarnations: Division II, the F.C.S. and the F.B.S., winning at each stop in equal measure. Troy has dominated the Sun Belt under Blakeney, sharing or winning outright five straight conference titles from 2006-10. Has the most wins in school history and the highest winning percentage of any coach who served more than three years in the position.
Chris Petersen, Boise State
(73-6 since 2006)
Off to the hottest start by a head coach in college football history. Led Boise State to two B.C.S. bowls, winning each game. Has two undefeated seasons in six years; has lost three games over the last four years. Can do no wrong.
Chris Ault, Nevada
(226-103-1 from 1976-95, 2004-present)
The third-most wins among active coaches, trailing Beamer and Brown. Most wins among active coaches at their current stop. Six double-digit win seasons, including 13 in 2010. Nevada has won 68.6 percent of its games under Ault, 45.7 percent of its games without Ault. Means as much to the program as Snyder to Kansas State, Beamer to Virginia Tech and so on.
Gary Pinkel, Missouri
(85-54 since 2001)
Remade Missouri from perennial underachiever into one of the most consistent programs in football. Before Pinkel, Missouri had won at least eight games in back-to-back years only three times; the Tigers have won at least eight games in each of the last six years. Will be remembered as the head coach who led Missouri into the SEC.
Honorable Mention: Howard Schnellenberger, F.A.U.
(58-74 from 2001-11)
Retired following last season after serving as the program’s only head coach from its inception. He didn’t literally build the program or its new stadium, but his hard work behind the scenes, as a fundraiser and ambassador, provided the money to pay for the work. Won 11 games in his third season and reached bowl play twice, winning both games.
Other options considered but denied for one reason or another: Nick Saban, Mark Richt, Gary Patterson, Chip Kelly and Kyle Whittingham. Agree, disagree? You can’t argue with Beamer or Ault. The rest, among other active coaches, can be put up for debate, which I leave to you below.
Tags: Bill Snyder, Boise State, Chris Ault, Chris Petersen, Florida Atlantic, Frank Beamer, Gary Pinkel, Howard Schnellenberger, Idaho, Jim Grobe, Kansas State, Larry Blakeney, Mack Brown, Missouri, Nevada, Texas, Troy, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest
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