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Iowa History Daily: February 20 - A New Name for Cyclone Stadium

Iowa History Daily: On February 20, 1997, Iowa State University renamed Cyclone Stadium to Jack Trice Stadium. The culmination of years of work by volunteers seeking to honor Iowa State’s first African-American athlete, the renaming represents the only major college football stadium to honor an African-American player.

The double-decked grandstand stadium went up quickly in less than two years following a groundbreaking ceremony on October 26, 1973. During the initial construction earth-movers shaped the embankments for the lower bowl, and a gigantic movable form allowed crews to pour thousands of cubic yards of concrete. With an opening night capacity of 42,500, the initial stadium looked very different from the 61,500 seat structure familiar to Cyclone fans today.

Initially, the school dedicated the playing field to honor Jack Trice, Iowa State’s first African-American athlete as a compromise between students (who favored naming the stadium to honor Trice) and the alumni (who formally endorsed the Cyclone Stadium name). Trice debuted for the Cyclones during the 1923 season. On the evening prior to a October 6 tilt with Minnesota, Trice stayed in a separate hotel from the rest of the team due to the color of his skin. Trice broke his collarbone during the second play of the game, but returned to the action only to later suffer fatal injuries when three Minnesota players trampled him during a roll block. He died of his injuries two days later.

Thousands turned out to Trice’s funeral on the Iowa State campus later in October, and the team did not play Minnesota again for over sixty years. In 1997, persistent calls from students, faculty, and Cyclone fans led to the shift from Cyclone Stadium to Jack Trice Stadium, the only NCAA Division I FBS stadium named for an African-American. #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryCalendar


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