Knights Better Know a Stadium: ECU's Dowdy-Ficklen

Jessica DAnalyst ISeptember 25, 2009

GREENVILLE, NC - SEPTEMBER 05:  Head coach Skip Holtz of the East Carolina Pirates walks onto the field with his team before their game against the Appalachian State Mountaineers at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on September 5, 2009 in Greenville, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

The Knights have bounced from home to away status and back again since the beginning of the 2009 season, and we sure miss them when they're away.

To make you feel a little closer to George O'Leary's boys, here starts the column “Better Know a Stadium”--giving you insight as to where exactly the Knights are, and what the opponent's stadium is like. This week, we take a look at East Carolina's Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, in Greenville, North Carolina.

The 411- History and Specs

Formerly known as Ficklen Memorial Stadium (1963-1994), the Dowdy-Ficklen is East Carolina's on-campus football facility for the East Carolina Pirates. In the heart of “Blackbeard's Alley”, the structure seats 43,000, making it the fourth largest stadium in North Carolina. Construction of the stadium cost $300,000, most of which was raised by the school's booster club.

It was originally named for James Skinner Ficklen, owner of Greenville's E.B. Skinner Tobacco Company. Skinner was considered a friend of ECU, and established a scholarship fund for the school.

From Ficklen to Dowdy Ficklen—The Dowdys and their Orlando tutelage

In 1994, Ron and Mary Ellen Dowdy of Orlando announced a $1 million gift to the ECU Educational Foundation, which would also contribute to the stadium's continuing renovations.

Ron Dowdy, class of 1966, is a member of ECU's Board of Trustees, and runs Dowdy Properties, a real estate company in the Orlando Area.

He has also served on the Executive Committee of the Florida Citrus Sports Association, the Board of Directors for the Florida Citrus Bowl, the Board of Directors at Humana Hospital Lucerne in Orlando, and the Senior Citizen Advisory Committee in Orange County, Florida.

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The Marshall University Plane Crash

On November 14, 1970, the Marshall Thundering Herd lost 17-14 against the Pirates at the Dowdy-Ficklen. That evening, while on approach to Huntington Tri-State Airport, the Marshall team plane crashed, killing all seventy-five people on board.

On December 11, 2006, a plaque was erected at the visitors' entrance to the stadium. It depicts the memorial fountain on Marshall's campus.

Other Facts on the D-F

The surface is Bermuda Grass, the stadium architect is Dudley & Shoe, and the actual field is called Bagwell Field. Future expansion of the stadium includes enclosing the east end zone with additional seating including luxury seats.

A new press box, suites, and and an upper level consisting of office space, player’s lounge, locker rooms, classrooms, and meeting rooms, will be erected at the south side of the stadium, and after construction, the stadium's capacity will reach 62,000.

This is where the Knights will try to make themselves comfortable at 3:30 PM Saturday afternoon, and where we hope the team will make their own history to add to Dowdy-Ficklen's. Let's Go UCF!


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