Skelly Field at H.A. Chapman Stadium and Case Athletic Complex
Skelly Stadium received a new name in April 2007, changing to Skelly Field at H.A. Chapman Stadium.
The newly renovated Skelly Field at H.A. Chapman Stadium opened its gates on Sep. 20, 2008, as Tulsa defeated New Mexico 56-14.
The stadium renovation included new seating throughout the stadium, restrooms, concession areas, new press box with luxury suites and club level seating, and a new scoreboard on the south side of the stadium, among other amenities. A new FieldTurf was installed in April 2008.
The steel structure on the stadium's west side was removed substantially improving the aesthetics of the facility. The new structure on the west side now has an exterior finish of pre-cast concrete panels trimmed with cast stone. This returns the façade to the original architecture of the stadium, keeping the traditional look and feel of other campus structures.
The stadium has a new capacity of 30,000.
On April 24, 2007, University of Tulsa President Steadman Upham announced during his opening remarks at the school's annual All-Sports Banquet that the University had, within the past two hours, received the naming gift for renovation of the football stadium.
The H.A. and Mary K. Chapman Trust provided the financial gift for half of the estimated cost for renovation of the H.A. Chapman Stadium. Trustees of the H.A. And Mary K. Chapman Trust are Donne Pitman and Jerry Dickman. The complete renovation of H.A. Chapman Stadium began following the 2007 football season.
When the stadium was constructed in 1930 it was originally named Skelly Field, but was changed to Skelly Stadium in 1947 when 5,000 seats were added to north end zone.
For more than seventy years, Skelly Field has been the home field for University of Tulsa football.
Opening Skelly Field was a dream come true for Coach Elmer "Gloomy Gus" Henderson. Before Tulsa played its home games in Skelly Field the Golden Hurricane used McNulty Park, the minor league stadium that was the forerunner of Oiler Park. McNulty was located near the corner of 11th street and Elgin.
An unprecedented wave of prosperity swept over America in 1928 and wealthy Tulsa oil men began listening to Henderson's dream. The trustees were proceeding with plans for a stadium on faith that a donor would appear. In April, 1930, William Skelly, a long-time friend of the University, gave $125,000 to the stadium fund if another $175,000 could be raised. The remaining money was raised by Tulsa businessmen who organized the Stadium Corporation of Tulsa.
Ground-breaking ceremonies were held on May 11, 1930 and the building race was on to complete the stadium for the upcoming season.
Skelly Field opened on October 4, 1930 against Arkansas. Although it had a seating capacity of 14,500, records show that 13,000 spectators were on hand for the game. Skelly Field was the original name, but changed in 1947 to "Stadium" when the north end zone seats were added.
On the opening kickoff of the first game, Arkansas fumbled and end Johnny Potts recovered for Tulsa. On the first play from scrimmage Billy Boehm scored the first touchdown in the north end zone of the stadium. Later, Chet Benefiel scored the the first touchdown in the south end zone. Tulsa went on to win the contest by a score of 26-6.
Since that day, some of college football's greatest stars have graced Skelly Field. Opponents the likes of Sammy Baugh, Ollie Matson, Bob Fenimore, Walt Garrison, Gino Toretta and Keith Jackson are a few of the games' greatest to step on the Skelly Stadium turf.
Tulsa's own Glenn Dobbs in the 1940s, the passing combination of Heisman Trophy runners-up Jerry Rhome and Howard Twilley in the 1960s, reknown receivers Steve Largent and Drew Pearson in the 70s, the 1980s Palomino Express of Micheal Gunter and Ken Lacy and the stars from the 1991 Freedom Bowl Championship team thrilled Hurricane fans through the years.
In 2003, Tulsa's Humanitarian Bowl team excited fans by averaging over 37 points in six home games, while in the 75th anniversary year of Skelly Field the 2005 squad won the Conference USA Championship and advanced to a second bowl game in three years. The 2007 season saw the Hurricane put up nation-leading total offense numbers while scoring 41 points per game.
1930 - Groundbreaking ceremony for the 14,500 seat Skelly Field occurred on May 11. The first football game was played on Oct. 4, 1930 in front of a crowd of 13,000. Tulsa defeated Arkansas 26-6.
1938 - TU traded Skelly Field to the Tulsa Public Schools for the Philtower Building lot at 5th and Boston. TU began to lease the stadium from the board of education.
1947 - Lease renewal for Skelly Field was signed. The 5,000 seat north end zone stands were added and the scoreboard moved to the south end zone. Skelly Field was the original name, but changed to Skelly Stadium when the north end zone seats were added.
1953 - In August, former TU star Jim Finks played for the Pittsburgh Steelers in an exhibition game against the Chicago Bears before a crowd of 10,000.
1956 - On June 18, Evangelist Reverend Billy Graham held a one-night rally and set what was to that date a stadium record crowd of 28,000.
1960 - Newly formed American Football League entries, Houston Oilers and Dallas Texans, met in an exhibition contest in August.
1964 - The stadium corporation was reorganized and it planned to build two high school stadiums (LaFortune and McLain) in exchange for Skelly Stadium.
1965 - Skelly Stadium was enlarged to 40,235 seats at a cost of $1,250,000. The track was removed, the field lowered and box seats added. The excavated dirt was used to support the new south end zone stands. Seating was added to the west stands plus a new two-story press box, escalator and elevator. Work was completed in August.
1966 - The third story photo deck was added to the press box. Skelly Stadium turned into a baseball field for one game on May 5. The St. Louis Cardinals baseball club played their triple-A farm team, the Tulsa Oilers, in an exhibition game. The contest drew a crowd of 18,904, which saw the Cards beat Tulsa 5-4.
1968 - Skelly Stadium was returned to the University.
1972 - Tartan turf was installed in the summer months.
1977 - Professional soccer made its debut at Skelly Stadium with a preseason game.
1978 - The Tulsa Roughnecks, an NASL professional soccer team, moved into Skelly Stadium.
1979 - Getty Oil Company and Getty Refining and Marketing Company made a $350,000 grant for refurbishing and repairs to the Stadium.
1980 - A modern scoreboard and animated message center was installed above the south stands. The sign package was donated by Dr. Pepper, KJRH Television and Getty Refining and Marketing Company. The largest crowd for soccer occurred on April 26 when the Roughnecks met the New York Cosmos before 30,831 fans.
1982 - A new artificial turf was installed and the lighting system was replaced.
1984 - A new scoreboard above the north end zone and 25-second clocks were added in each end zone.
1987 - The largest crowd in Skelly Stadium history, 47,350, saw Tulsa lose to the nation's number one-ranked Oklahoma Sooners, 65-0.
1991 - Stadia Turf, a new artificial surface, was installed in the summer. The football season had the highest season attendance average in school history with an average of 31,236 fans for seven home games.
1993 - A new scoreboard was erected in the south end zone. It was completed just one day before the home opener on September 18.
2000 - New FieldTurf was installed in the summer. The synthetic artificial turf looks and feels like natural grass. The visiting team locker room was refurbished.
2003 - Installed new stadium lighting.
2005 - The north end zone stands were demolished in February, thus clearing way for the new Case Athletic Complex. The stadium seating was reduced from 40,385 to 35,542.
2007 - The Case Athletic Complex in the north end zone was completed in June; and on April 24, it was announced that the H.A. and Mary K. Chapman Trust has provided the financial gift for half of the estimated cost for renovation of the newly named H.A. Chapman Stadium.
2008 - The H.A. Chapman Stadium underwent major renovation and now has a new stadium capacity of 30,000. The renovation included a new press box with luxury suites and club level seating, a new scoreboard, and new restrooms, concession stands and seating throughout the stadium.
Date Opened: Oct. 4, 1930
H.A. Chapman Stadium Ten Largest Crowds
Ten Largest Season Attendance Averages
Tulsa's Victories at Skelly Field
Case Athletic Complex
The Case Athletic Complex opened in June 2007, less than three years after the plans were unveiled for the facility that houses Golden Hurricane football.
On November 11, 2004, University of Tulsa President Steadman Upham unveiled plans for the Case Athletic Complex to be located in the north end zone of Skelly Stadium. Excavation began on January 13, 2006
The 30,000 square foot complex was built at a cost of $10 million, and it began phase one of the renovation of Skelly Field. Phase Two will begin following the 2007 football campaign, when Skelly Field at H.A. Chapman Stadium will undergo major renovations.
The Case Athletic Complex, named for Mike Case, a developer and philanthropist who made a significant financial gift for the project, houses football coaches offices, meeting rooms, game day suites, academic support center for all student-athletes, football locker room and equipment room, athletic training room, video production suite and Lettermen's Club suite.
The new facility will provide the Tulsa football program with an exceptional every-day use facility, as well as providing all TU student-athletes with an area dedicated to academic enhancement.
"There might be a bigger place in the country, but there's not a nicer place. This building is about excellence," said Head Coach Todd Graham.
"I am both pleased and excited that I was asked to be involved in what I believe is the continuation of the resurgence of The University of Tulsa's football program," said Case at the news conference announcing the plans for the Case Athletic Complex in 2004. "This a big step toward returning Tulsa to its former days of football glory. The Case Athletic Complex will not only be a tremendous asset for coaches, staff and players, but will also be invaluable in recruiting top-notch student-athletes throughout the country."
Since that announcement in November 2004, Tulsa football has posted 19 wins, won the 2005 Conference USA Championship and has appeared in two straight bowl games.
Case added, "While Pat and I didn't graduate from The University of Tulsa, TU has become my adopted alma mater, and I have enjoyed helping the University when the need arises. Especially, when I feel the project is beneficial to the city of Tulsa. This project is one that will benefit both the University and the city." The St. Louis-based Hastings and Chivetta designed the Case Athletic Complex.
Skelly Field was built in 1930 as a 14,500-seat stadium, and was enlarged to 40,235 seats in 1965. Before the north stands were demolished in February 2005 to make way for the new building, the seating capacity was 40,385. The current seating capacity is 35,542.
Following the 2007 season, stadium renovations will begin which include new seating throughout the stadium, restrooms, new press box with luxury suites and club level seating and new scoreboard on the south side of the stadium, among other amenities. The steel structure on the stadium's west side will be removed, substantially improving the aesthetics of the facility.
On April 24, 2007, it was announced that Skelly Stadium would change to Skelly Field at H.A. Chapman Stadium. When the stadium was built in 1930, it was known as Skelly Field, until 1947 when the north end zone structure was built.
The H.A. and Mary K. Chapman Trust provided the financial gift for half of the estimated cost for renovation of the H.A. Chapman Stadium. Cost for the stadium renovation is an estimated $20 million. Trustees of the H.A. And Mary K. Chapman Trust are Donne Pitman and Jerry Dickman.