THE FLATS – The home of Georgia Tech football for a century, Historic Grant Field will celebrate its 100th anniversary this fall.
The centerpiece of the season-long celebration comes Sept. 26 when Georgia Tech hosts Virginia Tech in an ESPN nationally-televised Thursday night game. Every Yellow Jacket Football All-American and Football Academic All-American will be invited back to campus and will be honored at halftime.
For the game against Virginia Tech, the Yellow Jackets will wear throw-back uniforms, which will be unveiled at a later date.
A 100th Anniversary logo, which will be displayed on Tech’s uniforms, on the field and on merchandise, has been created.
“One hundred years later, Grant Field continues to be one of the best venues in the country to watch college football,” Georgia Tech athletic director Mike Bobinski said. “We cherish our history and tradition.”
The All-Americans and Academic All-Americans who are able to return to Tech for the Virginia Tech game will be a part of the Yellow Jacket Alley festivities at 5 p.m. From 5:30-6:30 p.m., the All-Americans will sign autographs on top of the south end of Peters Parking Deck.
Originally built in 1913 by members of the Georgia Tech student body, Bobby Dodd Stadium at Historic Grant Field is the oldest on-campus stadium in NCAA Division I-A (FBS). Mississippi State’s Scott Stadium, which was erected two years later in 1915, is the second-oldest.
Georgia Tech’s football facility was known as Grant Field until April of 1988, when the Georgia State Board of Regents voted to add the name Bobby Dodd Stadium in honor of the legendary coach who guided the Rambling Wreck to its most illustrious football era.
The name change was the first for the facility since it was named Hugh Inman Grant Field after a gift from John W. Grant, a member of the Tech Board of Trustees and a well-known Atlanta merchant. The Grant family did not give the land on which Grant Field is built. However, they did give the initial $15,000 used in 1913 to build the first permanent concrete stands on the west side of the field. In gratitude for the gift, the Board of Trustees named the field Hugh Inman Grant Field in memory of Grant’s deceased son.
The students who built Grant Field more than 100 years ago wouldn’t recognize the home of Georgia Tech football if they saw it now. Not only has the skyline around the stadium changed dramatically, but the facility has steadily grown and improved during its rich history.
Since its beginning, Historic Grant Field has been the home for events other than Georgia Tech football.
The Peach Bowl, now known as the Chick-fil-A Bowl, began in 1968 and played its December postseason game on Historic Grant Field in 1968, 1969 and 1970. In the early years of the franchise, the Atlanta Falcons played home games there.
Atlanta’s professional women’s soccer team, the Atlanta Beat, played home games on Historic Grant Field in 2001, and the Atlanta Apollos of the NASL played home games there in 2003.
The Rolling Stones, Simon and Garfunkel, Pink Floyd and Jimmy Buffet all played concerts in the facility.
In 1935, a standing-room only crowd of more than 50,000 packed Historic Grant Field to listen to a speech from Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Nelson Mandela gave a speech in the stadium in 1990 after being released from prison.
While the Olympics were held in Atlanta in 1996, the movie premier for “Eraser” was held in the stadium. Vanessa Williams and Arnold Schwarzenegger were on hand.