New face of Neyland

Hamilton says transformation 'nothing short of phenomenal'

Phase III of Neyland Stadium renovations completed

Strong tradition of Tennessee football keeps Vol fans constant

The football team and the head coach won't be the only new thing Tennessee fans will see Saturday.

They'll also get to see Neyland Stadium's new look when the Vols open the season against UT Martin at 6 p.m.

"Our fans, based on the limited reaction I've already seen over the last two weeks, they've been shocked by the change to the exterior of the stadium," UT athletic director Mike Hamilton said.

"We've talked now for four or five years about where we're headed with our renovation plan, but if you didn't sit in the particular area of the stadium where the concourse was affected or you didn't buy premium seats in the west club, perhaps you haven't really seen it yet.

"To have the transformation that's occurred in the offseason is really nothing short of phenomenal."

The biggest changes have come at Gate 21, the focal point of the stadium where the pregame Vol Walk and Pride of the Southland Marching Band's show culminate.

The new plaza includes an arched brick entrance and a remodeled amphitheater, where the Vol Network's pregame call-in show will broadcast live.

The brick exterior extends from the plaza to cover the entire exterior of the stadium's west side, and includes designs similar to those of Ayres Hall, UT's most iconic campus building.

The bricks have given the 89-year-old stadium a much fresher image.

"That was a big part of the equation," Hamilton said.

"We went around and looked at older stadiums around America that had been renovated. The old south end zone has got beautiful arches and brickwork, but you can't see it because it's covered up by steel work.

"Trying to draw that out to the facade of the stadium was an important element, and also trying to help the stadium blend in more with the campus and look, frankly, classier. I think we've accomplished that with what we've done so far."

Inside the stadium, the Tennessee Terrace, 1,800 new seats on the west side upper deck, will be opened for the first time.

Another new addition won't be seen until November, when a twice-life-sized statue of Gen. Robert Neyland will be unveiled the Friday before the Vols host Ole Miss for homecoming.

Blair Buswell, who sculpts the busts used in the NFL Hall of Fame, is doing the statue, which will stand in the Gate 16 area.

"That will be a neat thing to have in our stadium that we haven't had before," Hamilton said.

The work on the stadium went into overdrive as the season rapidly approached, but, save for the statue, the job is done.

"Obviously they've been working around the clock, particularly over the past three of four weeks," Hamilton said.

"This is the fourth phase of construction since we started the project, and inevitably, the last three or four weeks you always wonder if this is going to get done.

"They always seem to come through in the end, and there's a great pride by the contractor and the subs that work on it, as there should be."

With the conclusion of this most recent phase, the stadium's master plan is 60 percent complete.

Major construction won't be started again until December of 2012, when the stadium's south side and Gate 10 will be redone.

Until then, ongoing maintenance such as painting and the possible replacement of the sound system will occur.

But for now, the stadium will leave a significant impression on Vol fans, Hamilton said.

"I think it's going to have a huge visual impact on our fan base."

Patrick Brown is a freelance contributor.

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Comments » 33

iowa_vol writes:

Continuing the tradition of being the best facility in all of college sports.

SpiralBound writes:

I really hope my girlfriend gives birth to my first-born son so I can buy a season ticket before I die. Wait, I guess that would warrant the first FOUR-born sons.

knoxcarr writes:

IT'S NEEELAND NOT NAYLAND !

Brillovol writes:

Looks gorgeous! Now if it can only pay off in recruiting...

pdhuff#552644 writes:

The geezer fans I know, sadly, have had no updating work done.

Not much left to work with.

CCLC writes:

in response to VolnotHAMILTONfan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Goodness! You need to get over this man crush thing for Coach Phil and move on. Entirely too much time spent on how great Fulmer was and how lame Lane still is. Enjoy the stadium. Enjoy Saturdays coming game. It's football season in the South once again.... let all the bitterness go. It's not good for you.

boogimn3 writes:

in response to VolnotHAMILTONfan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

yawn.....

rockytop4ever writes:

Walking by the stadium the last few weeks I didn't think it would get done either but when I showed up Monday for classes it looked like a whole new stadium. This thing is just beautiful to see. Cant wait to get inside on Saturday and watch my Vols run through the T. Go Vols!

num1volsfan4life writes:

The new stadium looks great. One question I have is what are all the other buildings around the stadium four? Some times when im there during the week i see young people going in them but i can't figure out what there for. Go Vols!!!!!!111

Brillovol writes:

in response to VolnotHAMILTONfan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

It will come in time, dude. Nothing to lose sleep over, that's for sure.

Lostvolinhighweeds writes:

in response to VolnotHAMILTONfan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Nag,nag,nag.

WytheVol writes:

in response to VolnotHAMILTONfan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Great day man! I was/am a big Fulmer fan. Grew up in Winchester, TN... Graduated from Franklin County High... Know several of his family members. But for the love of God, let it go man. Even I was ready for him to step aside after the 2008 debacle. Don't like the way it was handled either, but none-the-less it was time for him/UT to move on and part ways. I can't imagine putting as much time and energy into hating someone the way you do Hamilton. For crying out loud, get some counseling or something.

TNLawVol writes:

in response to VolnotHAMILTONfan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I still don't understand why you seem to think we were so terrible before Phil. Our alltime win percentage before Phil was 0.68379. That isn't as high as Phil's career percentage, but it is by no means bad. And before you throw in there that we were scheduling teams like Martin on those poorly performing older teams, you might want to look at the FACT that this is our first meeting with Martin on the football field. I probably shouldn't even respond to you, because you are constantly posting the same phooey on every thread. Maybe I just have a soft spot.

jakethevolguy writes:

in response to WaltGoVols:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

All of the tickets may have sold when Fat Boy was there but, many times there were plenty of empty seats. The last year he was here the stadium was about 3/4 full during several games. I know I quit going because I was tired of watching the team bumble through game after game. Without coach Cut the Fulmer teams were just so so to hum drum at best.

dlobh writes:

in response to VolnotHAMILTONfan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Tennessee is in the top 10 all time in wins and winning percentage. Your hero didn't do that by himself. They are the only team to never lose 8 games. All the coaches, including Fulmer, had a hand in that. They're the only team to go undefeated, untied, and unscored upon for a regular season. I don't care when that happened, it's an amazing feat. And Fulmer didn't do it. The guy that they named the stadium after, who you've had the audacity to say negative things about, did it.

You're quoting Doug Dickey, a true Gator at heart. Who cares what he thinks? And SEC football is easily still in its best days, better than ever, actually. How long has it been since a school from another conference won a national championship? No, I'm afraid that as the SEC got better, your boy got worse.

You need to find another team to follow. Your name cannot be true. You are not a Vol fan. You're only a Fulmer fan.

OldNumber7 writes:

in response to VolnotHAMILTONfan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I agree Fulmer should have something other than a street...but don't belittle what Neyland did cause Fulmer would never have gotten where he did without what Neyland built. Neyland was frightening to go up against. Back then, the natl champion was decided in the regular season and the bowl was exhibition...no one cared at that point so don't put today's meaning on it..that it out of context. Neyland is the last coach in history to go undefeated-untied-unscored upon. His winning percentage is still the best of any man who coached more than 20 years (statistically significant)..and 61% of his victories were SHUTOUTS! He played Alabama, Florida (who was a nobody then), Georgia Tech, ... His defense was so good, he'd punt on 1st down just so his D could rip your head off and score! And because while Bear Bryant was at Kentucky, in 7 tries against Neyland he scored a TOTAL of less than 30 points with zero wins! Bryant's the man that said "thank god the old guy finally quit!" Don't forget, Fulmer sold out the stadium that Neyland built....or did Manning do that (attendance dropped to frightening lows Fulmers final years)? Fulmer did do well, but he did not revolutionize anything....just fail to adapt to the changing game until he drove the program into the earth. For his final act, I don't think people want to see his bust enshrined...not yet.

Mule_Days_King writes:

in response to VolnotHAMILTONfan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

"Price check on jumbo bottle of Midol!"

volboy81 writes:

I was over at the stadium last night and it is unbelievable! the archways, the brick, the iron gates, the ampitheater, the NEYLAND STADIUM lettering, all the Power T's. Its AWEsome! Be sure and take a look at it as you leave the game tomorrow night. Its even more impressive at night.

monsterman writes:

I looking forward to seeing the new stadium.

I am sure some recognition of Fulmer will come in time. Just not this soon. He was a good coach but his time has come and gone. Recruiting and the game seemed to have passed him by the last few years. He was missing a lot of TN players who were going elsewhere and being big contributors for other SEC powers. I firmly believe those homegrown athletes are more prone to giving you 110%. Not to say that some out of state guys will not do that, but those homegrown ones have TN ingrained in them from birth. Tradition and pride is already there. It does not have to be taught to them.

I say just let it go and move forward. It was time for a change and I think this time Hamilton got it right!

Go CDD and Staff and Go Vols!

Championsx13 writes:

in response to SirSpanky:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Mule_Days_King writes:

in response to Championsx13:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Champions x 614

See how easy it is to throw out an arbitrary number.

illinoisvolfan writes:

in response to Moral_Victories_U:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

The reason Ben Hill Griffin Stadium is called The Swamp is because Gainesville City Dump was already taken.

Championsx13 writes:

in response to Mule_Days_King:

Champions x 614

See how easy it is to throw out an arbitrary number.

muletownvol, you are correct. But when your number represents 13 National Championships, tends to have a little meaning. I find humor that the site staff removed my previous comment, its obvious they did not agree with the fact that Bama had home field advantage at Neyland in 08'. Of course by the time we get to Bama V. UT this year the Vols will be lucky to have a 1-5 record. Thats cool, I liked the cheap tickets the Vols fans were selling right at game time in 08', made Bryant Denny North feel that much more comfortable!

PennVol writes:

in response to VolnotHAMILTONfan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yep - We all miss the "excitement" of going 5-7 or 7-5 (MAYBE we'll get a bowl!!) and getting hammered by Saban, Meyer, Miles, Richt year after year...

baldingalum writes:

Neyland is the most beautiful stadium in college football - significantly ahead of the other SEC schools.

I read the negative tome about Fulmer being passed over and will only add that he receive his accolades happen in due course...probably sooner rather than later. But don't go popping off about the General in any negative way. I believe General Neyland is the most overlooked figure in the history of college football. His legacy should be right there with Rockne. His teams were hosed on the national landscape because he was playing way down south away from any major media outlets. Those teams in the late 20s were as good as any in the country. As good as Tennessee has ever had. They should have had more National Championships not less.

Mule_Days_King writes:

in response to Championsx13:

muletownvol, you are correct. But when your number represents 13 National Championships, tends to have a little meaning. I find humor that the site staff removed my previous comment, its obvious they did not agree with the fact that Bama had home field advantage at Neyland in 08'. Of course by the time we get to Bama V. UT this year the Vols will be lucky to have a 1-5 record. Thats cool, I liked the cheap tickets the Vols fans were selling right at game time in 08', made Bryant Denny North feel that much more comfortable!

With all due respect to Ronald Reagan: There you go again.
They probably knew it was you Farragut. You could have posted the Sermon on the Mount and it would have been removed. I have a size 12 that might make you feel a little less comfortable.

baldingalum writes:

I just reread "Vol Fan, Not Hamilton" however you post. 1998 was our only legitimate National Championship? What!?! You're a clown. AND, to take it a step further, AD Hamilton should be acknowledged for his hard work and dedication to the stadium project.

lmvolfan writes:

in response to VolnotHAMILTONfan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You contradicted yourself. You said Al Wilson was a part of our only LEGIT NATIONAL TITLE, THEN FOLLOWED SAYING DOUG DICKEY COACHED OUR ONLY LEGIT NATIONAL TITLE!!! So which one is our LEGIT TITLE??? Secondly, you are not a UT FAN. AS I HAVE SAID BEFORE, YOU ARE EITHER FULMER OR A FAMILY MEMBER OF HIS. FULMER IS NOT THE UNIVERSITY!!! GET OVER YOURSELF!!!!

Psychovol writes:

When is the south endzone going to get a jumbotron they can see. What are we second rate citizens?

jrrosevols writes:

looking forward to seeing the changes. photos look great. I'd like to see all the seating changed to chair back seats, much better for the fans. would lose a few thousand capacity but would be well worth it IMO.

VolWoman writes:

I think that the time will come when Coach Fulmer does get honored in this way. I think he deserves something too and the timing would probably be right when they do the rest of the stadium in two years. He does have a street named after him right by the stadium so it's not like he's not acknowledged at all.

I think the stadium is beautiful inside & out now. I agree they need two jumbotrons.

FWBVol writes:

in response to VolnotHAMILTONfan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

This is about the 10th time you've posted the same thing or something very similar. Get over it, and support the Volunteers. If, in time, Derek Dooley isn't successful, then CDD and Mike Hamilton will face the music.

I supported CPF too, and thought he should have been given another year, but his last few years were below the standards he set earlier.

And finally, if you were such a great CPF fan you would know he prefers Phillip to Phil.

Get on the Vol Train or get off the tracks.

RandRams writes:

Nothing like a win to enhance celebration of Neyland Stadiums face lift.

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