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 few years and most recently debuted a significant expansion in 2016 that increased the capacity to 64,038, making Vaught-Hemingway the largest stadium in the state of Mississippi.
The facelift provides Rebel fans with an even greater gameday atmosphere and more seating. The north side of the stadium was closed in to provide additional student seating and transformed into an exciting new “front door.” With the exception of the Lloyd Bell Tower, the north plaza, including the Jake Gibbs Letterwinner Walk, will open this fall, while the expected completion of the Lloyd Bell Tower is spring of 2018.
Other enhancements include a new videoboard and sound system, stadium lights, as well as a natural grass playing surface returning to Hollingsworth Field for the first time since 2002.
A green space will soon extend the Walk of Champions from The Grove all the way to the new plaza to put the polishing touches on one of the nation’s elite college football facilities. For its efforts in stadium enhancements, Ole Miss is one of 10 facilities (pro or collegiate) to earn the 2017 Facility of Merit Award.
As part of the $200 million Forward Together capital campaign, the south end zone was also renovated to add 30 luxury suites and 770 club level seats, and the west suites were all refinished for the 2015 season.
Upgrades leading up to the 2013 season included the removal of sideline platforms and bricking the east and west side facade, as well as a team halftime locker room and the addition of two on-field suites.
From 2009-15, the playing surface was FieldTurf synthetic grass. 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.
The stadium increased its capacity to 60,580 in 2002 with the bowling in of the south end zone.
With the additional seating, the Rebels have set record-breaking attendance figures over the last 13 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 second 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.
TOP CROWDS AT VAUGHT-HEMINGWAY STADIUM5