Clemson Memorial Stadium is named for the many Clemson alumni who have served in the U.S. military. The stadium was opened on September 19, 1942, against Presbyterian College, with 20,000 in attendance. Clemson won the first game 32-14.
Much of the groundwork for construction was done by football players and other scholarship athletes. Clemson's legendary coach, Frank Howard, said that seeding the grass was a challenge. "About 40 people and I laid the sod on the field. After three weeks, on July 15, we were only half way through. I told them that it had taken us three weeks to get that far, and I would give them three more weeks' pay for however long it took to finish the job. I also told them that we would have 50 gallons of [Clemson] ice-cream when we got through. After that it only took them three days to do the rest of the field. Then we sat down in the middle of the field and ate up all that whole 50 gallons."
The name "Death Valley" was tagged by Presbyterian College Coach Lonnie McMillan. After bringing his P.C. teams to Clemson for years and getting whipped, he said coming to Clemson was like going to a "death valley." The name stuck.
"Running Down the Hill" is a tradition for Tiger Football players and fans and has been deemed the most exciting 25 seconds in college football. The team gathers at the top of the Hill, rubs Howard's Rock, and charges the field to the roar of over 80,000 cheering fans and the University's fight song.
The stadium now seats 81,473 spectators, with the largest crowd in attendance being 86,092 in 1999 against Florida State University. Memorial Stadium is the 11th largest campus stadium in the nation and the largest in the ACC. Tickets are free for undergraduate students, so plan to come see "where the Tigers play."
Categories: Sports - Football - College