Mount Union Stadium Celebrates 100 Years

October 10, 2014

ALLIANCE, Ohio – Mount Union Stadium celebrated its 100th anniversary with a number of special events on campus on Saturday.

As the rededication ceremony began, Master of Ceremonies Harry Paidas ’74, gave a recap of the first game played in the stadium on November 1, 1913, a 7-0 win over Case.

During the ceremony, Dr. Richard F. Giese, president of the University, spoke on behalf of the Mount Union community. Giese said that as one of the oldest college football stadiums in the nation and the oldest in the state of Ohio, Mount Union Stadium stands as a reminder of Mount Union’s distinguished past, an emblem of its exceptional present and as an inspiration for its promising future.

“It’s not very often that, as an institution, we have the opportunity to commemorate such an outstanding milestone, and we are fortunate to have such a rich and storied history tied to this site,” Giese said. “There’s no doubt that this facility has made an indelible impact on our fine institution.”

“Many of us have gathered in these stands throughout the decades, showing our support for the Purple Raiders, and we have had the great privilege of beholding sights that those in our earlier days could have only dreamed of seeing,” Giese continued. “History has certainly been made inside these gates, and we’ve all been blessed with the opportunity to bear witness to exceptional accomplishments within.”

Giese noted that the stadium’s purpose has changed over the years from being dedicated initially to football to becoming home of the University’s 11-time national championship football team as well as the recent national championship men’s outdoor track and field team, women’s track and field team, men’s and women’s soccer teams and men’s and women’s lacrosse teams.

“Yet, this isn’t just a stadium for our student athletes. It’s a stadium for our entire community,” Giese said. It’s for all of our students – members of the marching band, majorettes, flag corps, cheer squad and dance team as well as those who join in the student section to cheer on their peers each week. It’s for our faculty and staff, who take great pride in the accomplishments of all of our students, whether in the classroom or on the field. It’s for our alumni, who return to campus to support the students of today while reflecting upon their own time at Mount Union and reminiscing with friends about ‘the good old days.’ And, it’s for the citizens of the Alliance and surrounding communities, who continue to show unwavering support for the Purple Raiders and Mount Union as a whole.”

Following Giese’s remarks, Alliance City Mayor Alan Andreani gave a community perspective as he spoke on the stadium’s history. He said he and his family were recently asked by local cable station Channel 11 to choose several city landmarks that held the most significance for them as a family. Andreani chose Mount Union Stadium.

“I chose the stadium because of the immense impact (it’s had) on my family and me,” he said. “The association with my family began in 1928, when my father played his first football game in the stadium of Alliance High School. As a result of his high school career, an anonymous benefactor provided him with the opportunity to attend college at Mount Union and continue his football career.”

Andreani spoke of several family members, in addition to his father, who played for the Purple Raiders and recalled his own memories of attending games at Mount Union Stadium. Andreani’s high school football career included 21 games on the field as an Alliance athlete. Although he didn’t attend college at Mount Union, he would often come home to watch Mount Union play on Saturday nights.

“I think that this is the most wonderful thing to celebrate – 100 years of success. The lessons I learned here were discipline, integrity, honesty, hard work, dedication and perseverance,” Andreani said. “This is the biggest classroom on campus, where all of life’s important lessons can be taught and learned.”

Jeffrey Talbert, superintendent of Alliance City Schools, shared personal stories of playing football on the field as an opponent of the Purple Raiders, as he attended Muskingum.

“The score that day was 53-6, so needless to say, we failed,” Talbert said. “I believe that I learned the Mount Union fight song by heart that afternoon.”

Talbert noted that Alliance High School has been playing football for 104 years, playing at home at Mount Union Stadium for all but four years. In Mount Union Stadium, Alliance teams have celebrated several league championships as well as victories over traditional powerhouses.

“Mount Union Stadium is a world class facility and our students, musicians and fans are privileged to participate here every Friday night,” Talbert said. “We are looking forward to the next 100 years and celebrating victories, creating new traditions and continuing our participation with this great university.”

Randall C. Hunt ‘75, chair of the University’s Board of Trustees, also spoke on the stadium’s impact on student athletes.

“As a former player for Alliance High School and the University of Mount Union and as a current fan and board chair of the University, I have a number of great memories of great games and talented players who have played in this stadium and who have worn the red and blue and purple and white of their respective alma maters.”

Hunt said two men are synonymous with the history and greatness of both Alliance High School and Mount Union. The first, he said, is Mel Knowlton, the legendary hall of fame football coach for Alliance High School who mentored multiple Big 10 and Division 1 quarterbacks and served as a role model and father figure. Hunt also acknowledged the impact of Larry Kehres, director of athletics at Mount Union and one of the winningest coaches in college football history.

Following the ceremony, an Ohio Historical marker was unveiled by Stacia Kuceyeski of the Ohio Historical Society at the southwest corner of the Stadium. Attendees of the event had an opportunity to tour the Dom Capers Press Box and enjoy a cookout and entertainment by Jimmy and the Soul Blazers, John Hampu Band and Ohio Weather Band prior to the Purple Raiders’ home opener versus Marietta.

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