On the southeast side of the University of Mississippi campus stands historic Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, a landmark of Ole Miss tradition and an anchor for the strong future of Rebel Football.
The stadium has received several upgrades in the last two years and will undergo a significant expansion in the near future.
Vaught-Hemingway Stadium is in the midst of a facelift that will provide Rebel fans with an even greater gameday atmosphere and more seating. As part of the $150 million Forward Together capital campaign, the south end zone is being renovated to add 30 luxury suites and 770 club level seats, and the west suites are all being refinished.
While those updates will be in place for 2015, the facility’s biggest changes are in store for 2016, when the north side of the stadium will be transformed into an exciting new “front door,” complete with a plaza and bell tower.
A green space will also extend the Walk of Champions from The Grove all the way to the new plaza. Closing in the north end zone seating will bring stadium capacity to 64,038 and put the polishing touches on one of the nation’s elite college football facilities.
Upgrades leading up to the 2013 season included removing of sideline platform and bricking the east and west side facade, a team halftime locker room and the addition of two on-field suites.
A major enhancement to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium was a $6 million integrated system featuring a large high definition video display that was installed at the open of the 2008 season. The Daktronics video display is one of the largest true high definition displays in the Southeastern Conference. A new sound system rounded out the upgrades.
In 2009, FieldTurf synthetic grass was installed on the stadium’s playing surface (it was natural grass from its beginning until 1970; Astroturf from 1970-84; natural grass again from 1985-2002; and AstroPlay synthetic from 2003-08). Although Ole Miss was the first SEC school to install FieldTurf in its stadium, more than 100 top NCAA programs play or practice on the top-of-the-line surface, as well as 21 NFL and several MLB teams.
The stadium increased its capacity to 60,580 in 2002 with the bowling in of the south end zone, making it the largest facility in the state at the time.
With the additional seating, the Rebels have set record-breaking attendance figures over the last nine years, drawing all 10 of the largest crowds in school history. The momentous Ole Miss-Alabama encounter in 2009 attracted a crowd of 62,657, the largest ever to watch a football game on campus in Mississippi. The Rebels’ matchup with LSU in 2003 gathered 62,552 fans, and the 2004 Tennessee game drew 62,028.
The stadium, known as Hemingway Stadium for much of its existence, began its long historic life in 1915 when students at the University helped in the construction of the first football grandstand at the site of the present field. The construction of the stadium and its permanent foundation was a three-year (1939-41), federally-sponsored project. Stadium capacity was originally listed at 24,000.
During the summer of 1988, the stadium received a major facelift, highlighted by a new press box, new aluminum sideline seating and a club level section for 700 people. Renovations continued in the summer of 1990 when lights were added to the stadium. A Sony JumboTron scoreboard/message center was added for the 1997 season.
In 1998, the Guy C. Billups Rebel Club Seating area was completed, placing an upper deck on the east side of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. The addition, which includes a special seating section with an enclosed concession and lounge area, pushed capacity to over 50,000.
The stadium is named for the late Judge William Hemingway (1869-1937), a professor of law and longtime chairman of the University’s Committee on Athletics. On Oct. 16, 1982, John Howard Vaught saw his name added to the stadium. Vaught compiled a 190-61-12 record as head football coach at Ole Miss and brought the Rebels National Championships in 1959, 1960 and 1962. At the 1998 season opener vs. Memphis, the field was named in honor of Dr. Jerry Hollingsworth for his continuing generous support to Ole Miss Athletics.