Know Your Stadiums: Cajun Field

November 23, 2012 · By · Filed Under Football 

Louisiana-Lafayette’s Cajun Stadium also referred to as “The Swamp”.

The University of Louisiana At Lafayette football team call Cajun field home. It is used for both football and women’s soccer. It has an official capacity of 31,000 but has additional capacity on hills behind the end zones.

Planning began around 1967 when a rendition was featured on the football media guide and was built in 1970 as a replacement for McNaspy Stadium. It opened on September 25, 1971 with a shutout of Santa Clara University.

The stadium consists of a bowl with seating on the sidelines with a second deck on the east sideline.

Due to Hurrican Katrina, the 2005 New Orleans Bowl was hosted at Cajun Field instead of in New Orleans. The game saw Southern Miss defeat Arkansas State 31-19. The Tulane Green Wave also used the stadium for home games in the 2005 season after being displaced by the hurricane.

The Cajuns largest crown was when they upset then 25th ranked Texas A&M 29-22 on September 14, 1996 in front of 38,783 fans. It was the schools first victory over a ranked opponent. The largest ever crowd at Cajun Field was September 5, 2009 when they defeated Southern University 42-19 in front of a crowd of 41,357.

In the fall of 2007 ULL added a new building for all teams to have access to for practice. The Leon Moncla Indoor Practice Facility includes a full size football field with endzones and field goal posts.

In the summer of 2008 the school replaced the long-standing natural grass in favor of ProGrass, an artificial turf. The stadium was pressure washed and repainted and advertisements and banners were installed around the black retaining walls that surround the field.

The was nicknamed “The Swamp” in 1988 and was noted on stadium signage, in the school yearbook and in 1989 in the official Southwestern Lousiana sports media guide. The swamp-referenced nicknames are tied to the field’s early 1970 construction and even refer back to the original football field for the school that was known at those times as Southwestern Louisiana Industrial Institute in the early 1900s.

The University’s first football field was on the main campus adjacent to a small cypress pond, which later becase Cypress Lake and also nicknamed “The Swamp.”

The Swamp nickname also fits with the area’s geography which is comprised of many bayous and wetlands. It also includes the Atchafalaya Basic and nearby Gulf of Mexico marshlands.

The nickname “The Swamp” actually predates the use by the University of Florida for Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. It was not called “The Swamp” until 1991 when Steve Spurrier referred to it as that.

because Cajun Field’s surface is set two feet below sea level in a natural bowl. Since the surface is below sea level, a total of four 60 horsepower pumps and a sophisticated drainage system is needed to help keep the field in playing condition.

The subsurface stadium requires many fans to walk down to their seats while the football players and their opponents enter the field through an underground tunnel from the ULL athletics complex.

Head Coach Mark Hudspeth said on a radio interview that Cajun Stadium would undergo a $40 million dollar renovation after the 2012 season.

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