Whether you’ve recently moved to central North Carolina or you’re a Triangle native, there’s no escaping the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) rivalries that spark up each fall (and yes, they continue through basketball season into the spring). For fans and alumni of Duke University, one of the three founding universities of Research Triangle Park, that means cheering on the Blue Devils.
Although most NCAA games can be enjoyed from the comfort of home or your favorite tavern, nothing compares to walking in to Wallace Wade Stadium on a crisp autumn day to enjoy a live game amidst the roar of the crowd.
The stadium officially opened in 1929, and was then simply referred to as Duke Stadium. It was built to seat 35,000, and was funded by investment bonds. Additions over the years include a lighting system in 1984, new locker room and sports medicine area in 2002. Additional seating with luxury boxes were added in 2014. Duke alumnus Steve Brooks donated $13 million in 2015, resulting in the field being renamed for him (the full title of the facility today is Brooks Field at Wallace Wade Stadium). Although the stadium can now seat more than 40,000, it is still modestly sized compared to many arenas. This is great news for fans, who will be sure to have a fantastic view from any seat.
The stadium was renamed in 1967 after Coach Wallace Wade, who served as head coach at Duke from 1931-1941, and later from 1946-1950 (he served in the military in the interim, during which time Duke Basketball coaching legend Eddie Cameron filled in for Wade as head football coach). Wade is noted for having led the Duke Blue Devils to several record-breaking seasons, as well as two appearances in the Rose Bowl. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1955.
Another interesting fact: Wallace Wade Stadium is the only facility outside Pasadena, California to have ever hosted the Rose Bowl. The decision to move the 1942 Rose Bowl to Durham was made out of concerns over gathering a large crowd on the West Coast of the United States during World War II. Although Duke lost to Oregon State that day 20-16, roses remain planted near the bust of Coach Wade to honor that day and his military service.
No matter who “your” team is, there’s nothing quite like football season in the South—will you be attending a game this season?