Two weeks away from hosting the Army’s annual Black-Gold game, Doughboy Stadium at Fort Benning was abuzz Wednesday with construction crews completing renovation on the historic structure.
The $1.5 million facelift, funded through the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, should be done before the March 9 spring scrimmage game for the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Crews have been busy installing new lighting, speakers for the sound system, updating the locker rooms and painting the structure on main post.
“They are going to make it,” said Bridgett Siter, a spokeswoman for Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation. Crews have completed about 75 percent of the work, she said Wednesday.
The football game will be a historic moment for Fort Benning and West Point. It is the first time the game has been played outside New York.
Maj. Gen. Robert Brown, commander of the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning and a 1981 West Point graduate, played a key role in bringing the spring intersquad game to Doughboy Stadium. The event is another opportunity to revive football on a post that’s home to the U.S. Armor School and Infantry School. When the two teams take the field at 2 p.m., the Army will be represented with one team for armor and the other for infantry. With a donation from Nike, uniforms will bear the armor crest and patch or infantry crest and patch. Cadets are expected to arrive in the morning on the day of the game. They will attend a basic training graduation and tour the National Infantry Museum & Soldier Center before flying back to New York.
Doughboy Stadium has a rich history.
The stadium dates back to 1924, when concrete was first poured for the building as a memorial for soldiers killed during World War I. With a crowd of 9,000 watching, the stadium was dedicated in October 1925 with Fort Benning defeating Oglethorpe University by a 27-6 margin.
A year later, the Doughboys won an all-Army championship. An assistant coach on that team was Capt. Dwight D. Eisenhower, a graduate of West Point who went on to earn five stars before becoming president of the United States.
The Doughboys earned a reputation by playing teams from the universities of Florida, Georgia and Alabama. In 1962, the Doughboys were undefeated.
That team was led by Pat Dye, a Georgia player who later coached Auburn.