Huskie Stadium: The History
Huskie Stadium has undergone a series of redesigns, additions and renovations since its opening in 1965. The latest upgrade to the stadium was the installation of a new FieldTurf surface this May, giving the playing surface a brighter look and smoother surface for 2009. From AstroTurf to FieldTurf, through physical expansion and technological improvements, Northern Illinois University has kept pace with changing technologies to provide a first-class facility for its student-athletes and fans. Abuzz with activity on any home football game day, Huskie Stadium is also a multi-use, everyday building that serves the Northern Illinois community. Centrally located on the west side of campus, the stadium features plenty of adjacent parking and convenient access to major roadways as well as the Convocation Center and dormitories.
HUSKIE STADIUM HIGHLIGHTS
The three-millionth fan passed through the stadium turnstiles in 2005. In 44 seasons, over 3.4 million people have watched Northern Illinois football at Huskie Stadium.
Several facility upgrades coincided with the ascension of the Huskie football program. After the long-awaited East Grandstand was constructed in 1995, a state-of-the-art FieldTurf playing surface was installed in
2001 and the scoreboard and video display system were both modernized over a two-year span from 2000-01.
Huskie Stadium was dedicated Nov. 6, 1965, on Homecoming with a 48-6 triumph over Illinois State before 18,858 spectators. It was originally constructed to accommodate 20,257 spectators-15,000 on the concrete West stands.
On August 28, 2003, the facility was rededicated as Brigham Field at Huskie Stadium as a fitting tribute to Robert J. Brigham, an institutional icon who carried the school's colors for 50 years as a student-athlete, assistant coach, head coach, director of athletics, and special assistant to the president before his retirement in June 2001.
The stadium's AstroTurf playing surface, pioneered in 1969, was recarpeted in 1980 and 1990 before being replaced by a FieldTurf surface in 2001. On Sept. 20, 1969, the Northern Illinois-Idaho game, a 47-30 NIU victory, marked the state's first major-college gridiron contest played on artificial turf. Trivia fanatics also note that Huskie Stadium was the site of the state's first intercollegiate men's soccer match on AstroTurf as NIU blanked Marquette University by a 5-0 count on Sept.
In 1982, the stadium's capacity was temporarily expanded to 30,998 seats, including several rows of field-level benches. A handicapped-accessible seating area was added in 1991. This plan also provided for renovated locker rooms and a seating section that included chairback and benchback seats.
Huskie Stadium features a dual-level lighting system that generates 100 foot-candles for television games and can be geared down to only 50 foot-candles for practices.
The East Grandstand construction of 1995 featured 10,500 aluminum bleacher seats supported by a steel-beam superstructure and includes 54 rows of seats. The structure was built without using state tax dollars or special student-fee money, instead using funds from private support and amortization, plus maintenance and repair funds within the bond system.
In 2000, Huskie Stadium saw the installation of the new South end zone scoreboard that featured an 11-by-15-foot video display system developed by Daktronics, Inc. The scoreboard has an enhanced, directional Dodge Electronics sound system. In addition, television monitors were installed at various stadium locations so fans won't miss a play. In 2001, a larger video display board was installed on the south end of Huskie Stadium.
In addition to serving as the home of Northern Illinois football, the stadium structure includes recently refurbished practice areas for the NIU wrestling and women's gymnastics programs, and locker and equipment room space for several Huskie teams, including men's and women's soccer.