Jack Trice Stadium has proven to be one of the most outstanding football venues in the country in its 40-year existence. With its remarkable sight lines and numerous renovations throughout the years to enhance the game day atmosphere, Jack Trice Stadium ranks as one of the nation’s best football venues.
Jack Trice Stadium set all-time attendance marks from 2011-13. The former 56,800-seat stadium produced the highest attendance in its history in 2013 with an average of 55,361 fans per contest. The historic 2011 home season was capped off by a 37-31 double-overtime win over No. 2 Oklahoma State, the biggest win in school history.
Construction on Jack Trice Stadium started on Oct. 26, 1973. The first game in the facility was played on Sept. 20, 1975, an Iowa State victory over Air Force.
It was officially dedicated as Jack Trice Stadium in 1997 in honor of Jack Trice, Iowa State’s first African-American student-athlete.
When first constructed, the stadium had a maximum capacity of 42,500. Over the years, a number of additions have helped expand the fan capacity and maintain Jack Trice Stadium’s tradition of excellence.
A natural grass playing field was installed in 1996 and a $6.2 million three-level press tower was introduced in 1997. In 2002, a video/scoreboard, permanent lighting and additional seating in the south end zone improved its game day experience.
The stadium went through a $19.5 million first-phase remodeling project in 2008. The overhaul included the renovation/construction of suites and the addition of restrooms and concession buildings on the west concourse. The club section on the east side of the stadium was also entirely renovated.
In 2009, the second phase of the Jack Trice Stadium renovation began. The $11.5 million project included the addition of restrooms, concession stands and merchandise posts as well as widening the concourse to double its previous width on the east side of the stadium. The phase included the creation of the Jacobson Plaza, a large patio/entertainment space at mid-field on the stadium’s east side exterior, and the replacement of the exterior fencing with a decorative iron fence.
Another major facelift occurred in 2011 when the massive, state-of-the-art video scoreboard on the north side of the stadium was introduced. The high-definition video screen, which measures approximately 36 feet high and 79.5 feet wide, features unparalleled picture clarity and acoustics.
Three years after upgrades were made to the stadium’s north end zone, work began on a $60 million overhaul of the south end zone in the summer of 2014. The Jack Trice Stadium South End Zone Project enclosed the facility with permanent seating in the upper and lower bowls, a two-story club space and another massive video board. The renovation will also bring together the previously disconnected east and west concourses.
The added seating increased the stadium’s capacity to 61,000, making it the third-largest in the Big 12. End Zone Club seating features 3,000 outdoor chair-back sets with access to the climate-controlled, two-level lounge that not only overlooks the action on the field, but the award-winning Reiman Gardens by the school’s University Boulevard entrance as well.
Mirroring the scoreboard/video board atop the Jacobson Building on the stadium’s north end will be an even larger video board measuring 36 feet tall and 150 feet wide, making Jack Trice Stadium one of the few venues in the country to sport such large video boards on both ends of the field.
A Magical Experience
On Dec. 2, 1971, during the midst of a cold winter, 14,510 Cyclone faithful warmed the inside of their new basketball arena. James H. Hilton Coliseum was officially open The men on the floor didn’t disappoint the rabid fans, as Iowa State recorded its first victory on the new floor, trouncing Arizona, 71-54.
Now, Hilton Coliseum has been transformed into one of the nation’s finest basketball facilities. Hilton offers visitors the excitement of collegiate basketball in the comfort of theater-style seats. The addition of a spectacular new score and video board introduced by Daktronics in 2006 distinguishes Hilton Coliseum from its competition. The system includes a center-hung score and video display featuring Daktronics’ ProStar technology and ProAd digital displays. The new video boards have the capability to showcase game information, statistics, amazing colorful animation and spectacular video images.
However, one thing that hasn’t changed is the enthusiasm and passion for college basketball displayed by Cyclone fans. Hilton Coliseum has earned national recognition as one of college basketball’s most electric environments. If the walls could speak, they would tell stories depicting the Iowa State squad overcoming insurmountable odds to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Fueled by the passion of Iowa State basketball fanatics, the Cyclones have been able to produce magic on the floor.
“Hilton Magic,” the power of the Coliseum faithful to produce unexpected victories, was first recognized by Des Moines Register sportswriter Buck Turnbull. On a Feb. 14, 1989, showdown with No. 3 Missouri, the Cyclones conjured up the spirit of the Hilton crowd to produce a stunning 82-75 victory. The following day’s headline read “Hilton Magic Spells 'Upset’ One More Time."
In the article, Turnbull called for more “Hilton Magic” in the Cyclones’ upcoming bout with Oklahoma State, which had pummeled ISU, 102-74, just three weeks earlier. On cue, “Hilton Magic” displayed its powers, as the Cyclones defeated the Cowboys, 90-81, marking a 37-point reversal from the season’s prior meeting.
More than a decade old, the term “Hilton Magic” is still applicable today. This reality was never more apparent than ISU’s school-record 39-game homecourt winning streak that was ended during the 2001-02 season. The streak, which spanned four different basketball seasons, was the second-longest in the nation at the time. In 2003-04, Iowa State went 17-1 in Hilton, recording the second-best single-season home win total in school history.
From US Highway 30, take the University Boulevard Exit (exit 146) and turn right off the exit. Follow University Boulevard around to Jack Trice Stadium. It will be on your left.