Beaver Stadium celebrates 50 years

September 8, 2010 in Alumni

By Jeff Rice (Centre Daily Times)

Joe Paterno remembers his then-boss, Penn State football coach Rip Engle, telling the coaching staff that university president Eric Walker had decided to move Beaver Field from the west end of campus to a site on the northeast side to make way for a new graduate school.
“You can’t let him do that Rip,” Paterno recalled telling Engle. “It’ll ruin Penn State football.”

Fifty years and more than 300 games later, Paterno jokingly admitted his foresight wasn’t exactly 20-20. “That shows you how smart I am.”

Since it was disassembled, moved in 700 pieces to the east end of campus and rebuilt to a capacity of 46,000 in 1960, Beaver Stadium has undergone seven different expansions, seen 15 different Penn State teams complete perfect home seasons and become one of the nation’s most storied and revered sporting venues.
Today, the stadium named after former Pennsylvania governor and Civil War general James A. Beaver entertains more than 100,000 fans each home Saturday. Only Ann Arbor’s Michigan Stadium (109,901) has a larger official capacity, and when Beaver Stadium (107,282) is filled, State College becomes the third-largest city in Pennsylvania.

A building that has grown with one of college football’s most successful programs over the years celebrates its 50th anniversary this season, and as it has grown, so have the number and depth of the traditions that continue to draw so many fans back each year. Maintaining the look.

Herb Combs got a call from a friend in Minnesota last October. The Golden Gophers were coming to State College that Saturday to play the Nittany Lions, and their home state was getting pounded with snow.
In the middle of October.

Combs, Penn State’s supervisor of outdoor athletic facilities, knew enough about local weather patterns to know that Beaver Stadium was going to get at least a piece of what Minnesota was getting, but he was nonetheless amazed to arrive at the field early Saturday morning — Oct. 17 — and see six inches of heavy, wet snow covering the field tarp…

Read the rest of the story in the Centre Daily Times.