Iowa History Daily: On September 20, 1975, the Iowa State Cyclones beat Air Force in front of a sell-out crowd in the first game at Jack Trice Stadium (then Cyclone Stadium). Named for the school’s first African-American Athlete, Jack Trice, the stadium honors the legacy of the Iowa State player who died following injuries sustained in a game against Minnesota during 1923.
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. Fierce debate between students, alumni, and others swirled around the stadium’s naming, and the university initially settled on Cyclone Stadium. 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 only dedicated the playing field to honor Jack Trice, Iowa State’s first African-American athlete. 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 catastrophic injuries when three Minnesota players trampled him during a roll block. He died of the 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