Wildcat Stadium is a boost to spirits, football recruiting

August 28, 2016 | Sarah Carlson

The first walls and beams of Wildcat Stadium – ACU’s first on-campus football venue in decades – went up in August 2016, and the stadium is still on schedule to host its first game Sept. 16, 2017, against Houston Baptist University.

Click here to view construction in real-time on ACU’s webcams.

Also in August, it was announced that Wildcat Stadium ­­will feature FieldTurf Revolution 360 turf, an improved version of the market-leading Revolution fiber, installed at hundreds of installations across North America, including Gillette Stadium (New England) and CenturyLink Field (Seattle). Revolution 360 maintains the high performing UV and Softness properties of its predecessor, while significantly improving its durability and resilience.

"Our theme for ACU Athletics is 'Excellence for Christ,' and we want to continue to partner with companies that embody excellence," De León said. "FieldTurf is one of those companies and we are thrilled to partner with them on our new football stadium."

During the 2015-2016 fiscal year, gifts and pledges made to the stadium project totaled more than $17 million. The venue’s promise helped ACU head football coach Ken Collums and his coaching staff lure to campus one of the most promising freshman classes in recent history. And the opportunity to create a new Gameday environment has brought together staff and faculty to reimagine the atmosphere and experience of a Wildcat football game played on the Hill once more.

Some of the gifts made are related to the purchase of suites in the west side tower, which was recently designated to honor the memory of ACU all-America defensive back Chuck Sitton (‘78). The five-story tower includes press box, club and suite levels. Fundraising for the stadium and south end zone complex – which will not be built in the first phase of construction – is still ongoing.

There has been no delay, however, in recruiting future student-athletes.

“We just signed the highest quality high school class since I’ve been at ACU,” Collums said in February. “When we finally go to the point where we could show recruits what their home will look like, it has made a huge difference. We are simply showing renderings and seeing dirt moved around, but it’s already having an impact on our recruiting. When we get the stadium in place, it will only get better, and then our guys will get to experience what other players in the Southland Conference experience every week: a true home-field advantage for the first time in more than four decades.”

In addition to home contests in an on-campus stadium, ACU director of athletics Lee De Leon has helped line up an attractive set of non-conference guarantee games in the coming years with other high-profile universities.

In 2017, ACU will play at New Mexico and Colorado State, and at Baylor in 2018. In 2019, the Wildcats will play at North Texas and at Mississippi State, and will make a trip to Texas A&M in 2020. Other road games include Southern Methodist University in 2021 and Kansas State University in 2022.