Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium
Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium (formerly War Memorial Stadium, Memorial Stadium, and Texas Memorial Stadium), located in Austin, Texas, has been home to the University of Texas at Austin Longhorns football team since 1924. The stadium has the largest seating capacity in the U.S. state of Texas with an attendance record of 101,851 spectators set on October 6, 2012, when Texas played the West Virginia Mountaineers.
In 1923, former UT athletics director L. Theo Bellmont (the west side of the stadium is named in his honor), along with thirty student leaders, presented the idea of building a concrete stadium to replace the wooden bleachers of Clark Field to the Board of Regents. Heralded as “the largest sports facility of its kind in the Southwest” upon its completion in 1924, the first unit of the stadium consisted of the east and west stands with a seating capacity of 27,000. It was designed as a dual-purpose facility with a 440-yard (400 m) track surrounding the football field. The stadium was financed through donations from both students and alumni. The estimated cost of the structure was $275,000.
The student body dedicated the stadium in honor of the 198,520 Texans — 5,280 of whom lost their lives — who fought in World War I. A statue, representing the figure of democracy, was later placed atop the north end zone seats of the stadium. In World War II, the University lost many former players, including former coach Jack Chevigny. The Athletics Council rededicated the newly enlarged stadium on September 18, 1948 prior to the Texas-LSU game, honoring the men and women who had died in the war. On November 12, 1977, a small granite monument was unveiled and placed at the base of the statue, during the TCU-Texas game. The ceremony rededicated Texas Memorial Stadium to the memory of all alumni in all American wars.
The University of Texas honored legendary football coach Darrell K. Royal, who enlisted in the US Army Air Corps in 1943, and who lead Texas to three national championships and eleven Southwest Conference titles, by officially naming the stadium after him in 1996. Additionally, the University established the Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium Veterans Committee, composed of alumni who served in World War II, Korea, Vietnam or the Gulf Wars. The committee is charged to forever dedicate the stadium in the memory of, and in honor of, UT students and alumni who gave their lives for their country. Each year, one home football game is designated as Veterans Recognition Day, commemorating the memorial aspect of the stadium and to honor the memory of war soldiers.