For decades, students, student-athletes and coaches alike have dreamed of an on-campus football stadium for the ACU Wildcats. More than simply a matter of convenience or excitement, a new stadium will provide a focal point for a campus community known for its close-knit atmosphere.
Like other community-focused projects in recent years – such as the Learning Commons, Lunsford Foundation Trail and Money Student Recreation and Wellness Center – Wildcat Stadium will bring students into closer connection with each other.
With ACU now a part of NCAA Division I, in part so that the academic profile of its student-athletes better matches that of the student body at large, so will a football stadium continue to bring student-athletes closer to their classmates.
No longer will football players, students, alumni and other fans of the Wildcats be required to drive off campus on Game Day. Experiences from Homecoming, to tailgate parties, to concerts will be enhanced as coming home no longer means leaving campus for the traditional football game. Meanwhile, students can create new traditions as they celebrate the on-field successes of their classmates.
Along with fostering greater community among ACU’s students, Wildcat Stadium will allow the university to serve the greater Abilene community by hosting high school games, band competitions and other events.
The Wildcats are projected to begin the 2017 football season on Anthony Field in the new stadium, pending completion of fundraising.
A: In the back of your mind, you're always thinking how great it would be to have an on-campus stadium. More importantly, it fits a need for ACU. I think it will do tremendous things for the entire university.
A: The students who live on campus need the opportunity to walk over to the stadium and enjoy the tailgate parties. The ACU we know is built on relationships and developing people. You do that by interacting with each other, and there's not a better way to do that than on a fall Saturday during football season. I believe the interest level in ACU will increase. We'll be able to host playoff games and other events because people will want to play in a new, beautiful venue.
A: Our goal is clear. We intend to be one of the top up-and-coming FCS teams in the country. And while we already enjoy tremendous strengths as a program, securing our own stadium will provide an extraordinary new surge of momentum.
A: Players want to play in a good college football atmosphere. We know we're not going to have the biggest stadium in the country because we're never going to have 80,000 fans for our home games, but we need a great atmosphere. To me, that's built by having an on-campus stadium where people can enjoy watching championship football.
A: That's huge. The magnitude and gravity of that day will probably make me feel pretty small. I'll probably reflect on all of the people who have been here before us who did the things that made it possible for us to have that stadium. I know I'll be appreciative of all of those people – people who are forward-thinkers, who realize how important a stadium will be to the future of the university and its football program.