Get a preview of Memorial Stadium's renovation and expansion before construction is complete as Tarleton State University salutes military service members and their families on Veterans Day weekend.
Free tours take place 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10. Signs will direct fans to the tours on the west side of the stadium. Tour guides will assist. Elevators will not be available.
Kickoff for the annual Military Appreciation Game - this year against Western New Mexico - is at 2 p.m.
The stadium is a tribute to the 179 faculty, staff and students who died in World War II, "a nod to our rich past and a powerful statement about our future," said Tarleton President F. Dominic Dottavio. "The renovation and expansion project reflects continuing growth in the number of programs, facilities and students at Tarleton, and our commitment to provide the premier student-focused university experience.
"It's only fitting that we share a preview of the stadium's makeover as we honor our country's veterans on this national holiday."
When work concludes next spring, Memorial Stadium will boast an improved press box, suites, entrances and ticket booths as well as enhanced concessions and premium seats with chair backs. Overall seating will increase from some 7,000 to nearly 10,000, and the west-side Lonn Reisman Athletic Center, named for the school's athletic director, will be new seating for home fans.
The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents approved $24 million for the project, and longtime Texas entrepreneur Mike A. Myers, a Tarleton Distinguished Alumnus, gave $2.4 million. Other Texan fans followed his lead, with additional donations earmarked for special features to enhance the fan experience.
In addition, the Stephenville Independent School District partnered with Tarleton for a dedicated locker room for the Yellow Jackets. The Yellow Jackets play at Memorial Stadium.
"A transformed Memorial Stadium fosters greater pride among our students, student-athletes, coaches, fans, boosters and alumni," Reisman said. "People have been looking forward to this for more than 30 years. Now it is a reality. I couldn't be happier."
Before the stadium preview tours, the Texan Corps of Cadets, cheerleaders, dance team and band - The Sound & The Fury - will march in Stephenville's 11 a.m. Veterans Day parade, sponsored by Turnbow-Higgs American Legion Post 240. Tarleton's pregame tailgate west of Memorial Stadium features military displays.
Mickey Maguire and Bud Rudder, son of Maj. Gen. James Earl Rudder, will toss the coin for Tarleton's afternoon contest against the WNMU Mustangs. Maguire and Earl Rudder are Tarleton alums and World War II veterans.
Maguire fought under Gen. George Patton, and Earl Rudder led Army Rangers up the cliffs of Pointe du Hoc in Normandy, becoming one of America's most decorated military heroes. He served Tarleton as teacher, head football coach and athletic director before the war and later became president of Texas A&M University and chancellor of the A&M System.
Tarleton Texans will march up the hill from the life-size bronze of Earl Rudder to the field house prior to game time led by the Corps of Cadets and marching band. It's a reminder of Gen. Rudder's big win in France. Texan fans are invited.
The Wainwright Rifles Drill Team - named for Gen. Mayhew Wainwright - will perform at the game, and cadets will fire a newly acquired 75mm Howitzer every time the Texans kick off and score.