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Creation Date

1968

Description

Other Names - New Football Stadium & Classroom Structure; Academic Athletic Building No. 2; Houchens Industries / L.T. Smith Stadium
Date Built - completed July 1968
Dedication - Oct. 26, 1968
Cost of Construction - $2.7 million
Gross Square Feet - 112,339 (1973)
Architects - Ryan Associated Architects, Louisville

Namesakes: "L.T. Smith was Western's 4th football coach and the school's second basketball coach. Born in 1897, Smith came to Western in 1920 to teach in the industrial arts department. In 1957, Smith received the highest honorary award that can be given in the field of industrial arts and vocational education when he became the 4th man in the United States to receive the Laureate Honor from Epsilon Pi Tau, international honorary professional fraternity in industrial arts. A native of Sanborn, Iowa, Smith was graduated from Bradley Polytechnic Institute, Peoria, Illinois, now Bradley University, with the B.S. degree, majoring in industrial arts. He received the M.A. degree in industrial arts from George Peabody College for Teachers, Nashville, Tennessee, in 1931. He served as chairman of Western's faculty athletic committee which recommends and supervises college athletic policy." ["Amidst the Shouting -- New L.T. Smith Stadium Emerges as Future Home for WKU Football," Oct. 14, 1967.] Smith died in 1976 at the age of 79.

Originally founded as a grocery store in 1917 by Ervin Houchens, Houchens Industries has grown to multi-national organization owned and operated by its employees. The corporation has diversified into restaurants, insurance, financial services, construction, recycling and manufacturing. In July 2007 Houchen Industries donated $5 million to WKU for which their name was added to Smith Stadium. [http://www.houchensindustries.com/]

History: The stadium was dedicated on October 26, 1968. The stadium had a seating capacity of 19,250. It was equipped with 26 faculty offices, 11 physical education classrooms, lockers and shower rooms. A press box also accommodated 80 writers and broadcasters. A track encircles the playing field. Towards the south was a lighted field for varsity football practice, lighted tennis courts, and a new baseball field. In December of 1969, the stadium was cited for excellence in architectural design by the Kentucky Society of Architects of the American Institute of Architects. ["WKU Stadium Cited by Architects, Dec. 7, 1969"]

Feix Field:

Namesake - Jimmy Feix came to Western as a freshman in 1949. He was a football player, an assistant football coach, a head football coach, and assistant alumni director, a director of alumni affairs, and a director of athletics. Feix was the first Hilltopper to ever win the football All-American honors. As head coach, his 16 teams won 106 games with 6 conference championships and 2 NCAA national runner-up trophies. ["Feix Field Dedication Set for October 26," Oct. 18, 1991]

History - The football field was dedicated on Oct. 26, 1991:

Bowling Green, Ky. – Western Kentucky University will formally dedicate its football field at L.T. Smith Stadium in honor of Jimmy Feix Saturday, Oct. 26.

The "Feix Field" ceremonies will occur at halftime of the Hilltoppers’ home game with nationally ranked Northern Iowa, which is set to kickoff at 7:00 p.m. (CDT).

The University’s Board of Regents named the field for Feix at its July 29 meeting.

Feix has been a part of the athletic scene at Western Kentucky almost continuously since he came to the Hill as a freshman from Henderson, Ky., in 1949.

Since that time he has served Western as a student-athlete (1949-52), an assistant football coach (1957-1967), head football coach (1968-83), assistant alumni director (1983-85), director of alumni affairs (1985-86) and director of athletics (1986-91). He retired as athletics director June 30.

The first Hilltopper ever to earn football All-American honors (quarterback, 1952), Feix is also the winningest gridiron coach ever on the Hill. The 16 Topper teams he guided as head coach won 106 games (almost double the second best total on that coaches’ list). His teams claimed six conference championships and two NCAA national runner-up trophies. And, he coached WKU 16 All-Americans who helped his team post an overall record of 106-56-6, a very impressive 64.9 winning percentage.

[WKU Press Release "Feix Field" Dedication Set for October 26]

Additions - 1997 - $160,000 scoreboard installed

2001 - new synthetic turf laid $1 million

Park City Daily News:

2002 August 28

"2 Firms Submit Apparent Low Stadium Bids," Dec. 11, 1966

"2.74 Million Bid Low on WKU Stadium," Dec. 16, 1966

"$3 Million Bid on WKU Stadium Studied," Sep. 30, 1966

"Athletic Complex," photo, June 18, 1967

"Bids on New WKU Stadium to be Opened Today," Dec. 9, 1966

Borrone, Bert. "Delay in Moving Stadium Lights Costly: Thompson," April 16, 1958

"Contract Awarded, Evacuation Started on WKU Stadium," Dec. 22, 1966

Editorial. "Gift Strengthens Western Athletics, Recruiting Arsenal," Jan. 17, 2003.

"Ennis Awarded Contract for Work on WKU Grid Field," July 24, 1967

"Excavation is Underway," photo, Jan. 22, 1967

"Feix Field," Aug. 28, 2002

"New Bids on WKU Stadium to be Opened Next Month," Nov. 28, 1966

"New Stadium Seating 15,000 High on List," Nov. 29, 1964

"New Western Complex," Jan. 6, 1967

"Permit Issued for Western Stadium," Jan. 8, 1967

"Pickets Walked: Work Halted on 3 WKU Projects," June 16, 1967

Sisco, Scott. "Western Gets $750,000 Gift, April 22, 2003.

"WKU Planning New Athletics Facility," Jan. 16, 2003.

"Union Employees Return to WKU Construction Jobs," May 4, 1967

"Urban Renewal Offer for Shopping Center Studied," Dec. 7, 1966

"Western Plans Early Decision on Stadium Bid," Dec. 18, 1966

"Western Stadium Bids to be Opened Tomorrow," Dec. 15, 1966

"WKU Gets Grant for Building," Apr. 2, 1967

"WKU Rejects Stadium Bid; Plans Change," Oct. 4, 1966

"WKU Stadium Cited by Architects," Dec. 7, 1969

"Work Resumes on Western Projects," June 20, 1967

Louisville Courier-Journal:

"Bids Due Soon on Stadium at Western," Aug. 11, 1966

Duncan, Tom. "Western to Expand in 33-Acre Tract," Feb. 16, 1964

Ebner, Lee. "New Stadium 'Growing' on Western Horizon," photo, Aug. 31, 1967

Lawson, Simpson. "Kentucky College-Building Boom Keeps Growing," Aug. 21, 1966.

Pardue, Anne. "One Bid Made on Western Stadium, Academic Unit," Sep. 30, 1966

"Western's New Football Stadium," photo, April 10, 1966

"Western U. Gets Bid on Stadium," Dec. 17, 1966

Franklin Favorite:

"Stadium Complex Gives WKU Space for Sports," July 18, 1968

Keywords

Western Kentucky University, Football

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