15 Boise State-Inspired Color Football Fields
DellaCamera Stadium (New Haven)
Ever since Boise State installed its now-famous blue “Smurf Turf” at Bronco Stadium (since renamed Albertsons Stadium) in 1986, several other football programs at various levels have followed BSU’s lead. Here are the 15 of them.
The Division II Chargers installed their blue turf field prior to the 2009 season, before Boise State received a federal trademark for the field at Bronco Stadium (effectively giving it control over who installs non-green playing fields).
Per an agreement with the Broncos, New Haven has been granted with a license to keep its blue field so long as it doesn’t market it as “blue turf.” Which is why the Chargers refer to the DellaCamera Stadium field as “blue and gold Sprinturf.”
Roos Field (Eastern Washington)
While visiting Boise State in July 2009, EWU athletic director Bill Chaves came up with the idea to lay down a red turf and bring exposure to a little-known Eagles football program. “It was like a scene out of ‘Field of Dreams,’ ” Chaves later told the Associated Press. “You lay it down and people will come.”
True to Chaves’ word, EWU lay down a red turf prior to the 2010 season and christened it with an FCS national championship. A perennial national power every year since then, the Eagles boast a 24-4 home record since “The Inferno” became a reality.
Estes Stadium (Central Arkansas)
Rather than opting for either purple or gray after it decided to adopt a non-green playing surface of its own, FCS Central Arkansas installed a turf field that alternated between both of its school colors - bringing to life a field that looks to be equal parts inspired by Boise State and Tim Burton.
Both the attention in advance of the field’s installation prior to the 2011 season and the subsequent results have been nice. The Bears won their first 12 games at Estes Stadium on the multicolored surface and are 15-2 at home over the past three years.
Lindenwood Stadium (Lindenwood-Belleville [IL])
In advance of its first season as a member of NAIA in 2012, Lindenwood [IL] University-Belleville took dramatic steps to ensure a degree of notoriety for its football program, installing an alternating maroon and gray field as part of a $2.3 million stadium renovation.
“This is an abomination to the game,” wrote Yahoo’s Graham Watson. “It looks like a flattened out barbershop pole. Whatever happened to good ol’ green?” Entering the 2014 season, the Lynx are .500 at home (5-5) since their barbershop pole-esque field was installed.
Rynearson Stadium (Eastern Michigan)
Perhaps desperate for any publicity that didn’t focus on its moribund play (27-88 record since 2004), Eastern Michigan announced plans in June to install the second non-green field in the FBS. And the Eagles couldn’t even get that right, opting for a predominantly gray field with green end zones (even though EMU’s other color is not gray but white).
Note to any EMU fans driving to future games: Don’t mistake this field for a parking lot, however easy it might be.
Cathy Parker Field (Barrow [AK] H.S.)
Situated 340 miles above the Arctic Circle in Alaska’s North Slope region, Barrow High School is the northernmost high school in the U.S. to have a football team. And thanks to the tireless fundraising efforts of Jacksonville, FL, resident Cathy Parker, the Whalers have a blue-and-gold field just a few yards from the Arctic Ocean to call home.
Cathy Parker Field, which was built in advance of the 2007 season, is not just blue-and-gold because it’s Barrow’s school colors and for publicity purposes. It also proves useful in a place where snowfall in August is a common occurrence.
Bill Pate Stadium (Hidalgo [TX] H.S.)
Around the same time that Cathy Parker was working to bring a colorful field to Barrow, AK, Hidalgo High in Hidalgo, TX - along the southern tip of the state and right along the Mexican border - approved of $1 million in improvements to Bill Pate Stadium, which included the installation of a new track and dark blue synthetic turf.
“It is a much safer and faster field,” then Pirates head football coach Jorge Peña told The Monitor during the field’s installation in 2007. Added Hidalgo schools superintendent Daniel P. King in the same article, “My stance would be clearly the academic facilities’ needs would have to come first. (But) on the athletics facilities, you do not want unsafe conditions.”
Wildcats Stadium (Lovington [NM] H.S.)
It was largely because of Pro Bowl linebacker and former Lovington High star Brian Urlacher that the Wildcats were able to join the blue field trend in the summer of 2007.
Thanks to his relationship with then New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, Urlacher helped spearhead an appropriation of $900,000 in public funds for the installation of the turf. The money also helped pay for the expansion of an existing, eponymous training center and the addition of new lights and bleachers for Wildcats Stadium - home of a Lovington High football program that has 18 state titles to its name, including three since ’07.
Portage Community Bank Stadium (Ravenna [OH] H.S.)
Ravenna High has long had a habit of being trendsetters with their turf. Fourteen years after being one of the first schools in northeast Ohio to install FieldTurf, the Ravens installed a new blue field with red end zones prior to the 2013 season.
Head football coach Jim Lunardi and superintendent Dennis Honkala said that convincing their players and constituents of the color change - as well as raising the funds necessary for it - was easy. “It was important that there was consensus in selecting the color,” Honkala told Cleveland.com. “An overwhelming majority of them have responded favorably toward the decision.”
West Salem Football Field (West Salem [OR] H.S.)
In 2012, needing to replace the FieldTurf field it originally installed in 2002, West Salem High was offered a $140,000 discount by FieldTurf if its replacement field was an “unusual color.” By boldly going with an all-black field, the Titans spent only $300,000 instead of the initially planned $437,000.
“It never dawned on me that it would mean as much to this community as it does,” West Salem athletic director Bryan Sutherland told the Statesman-Journal at the time. “From what we understand it’s the only black field in the country. That’s really taken off over here.”
In order to avoid potential complaints of blending into the field, the Titans agreed to switch their home uniforms from predominantly black to predominantly green.
Cougar Stadium (New Braunfels [TX] Canyon H.S.)
It wouldn’t be surprising if West Salem’s willingness to change their home uniforms after installing their all-black turf field stemmed from the controversy that enveloped Canyon High School in New Braunfels, TX, after it installed a predominantly red field the year before.
Several of the Cougars’ opponents in 2011 complained that the team’s all-red home jerseys combined with their red turf field gave them an unfair home field advantage. Considering that Canyon has gone just .500 at home since going 4-1 on the red turf in its inaugural season, perhaps those opponents have figured it out.
West Hills Football Field (West Hills [CA] H.S.)
Located in Santee, CA, outside of San Diego, West Hills’ unique blue field was the brainchild of Wolf Pack athletic trainer Josh Reiderer, who came up with the idea of combining the two-tone green of Oregon’s Autzen Stadium and the blue turf at Boise State in the late 2000s.
“I’ve been to Texas before and I have family up in Colorado,” then West Hills defensive end Jordan Arnold told U-T San Diego in October 2012. “I tell people about it and they go, ‘Oh, that’s you guys? You play on that field?’ This field’s pretty famous.”
Eihusen Arena (Nebraska Danger)
Now in its fourth year of existence, the Indoor Football League’s Danger made fans sit up and take notice right away with the installation of black turf prior to their inaugural season in 2011. They even have a nickname for Eihusen Arena (“Danger Zone”) that went nicely with the turf color choice.
And now the Danger have a competitive team to go along with it. After going a combined 8-20 in its first two seasons, the Danger have gone 10-4 and reached the United Bowl in 2013 and 2014.
Sun National Bank Center (Trenton Freedom)
“Put it this way,’’ head coach Kevin O’Hanlon said in a press release in advance of the Trenton Freedom’s inaugural Professional Indoor Football League season in 2014. “Our new field will be visually attractive in a major way.’’
It’s not just the Freedom’s predominantly red field that’s been fun to watch. The Freedom went 8-4 in the regular season (including a 5-1 mark at home) and captured the PIFL’s National division title.
Honda Center (LA KISS)
If anything, we would’ve been disappointed had an Arena Football League team co-owned by two members of KISS (Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley) and their manager (Don McGhee) opted for a traditional, green field.
The guitar pick-shaped midfield logo and the flame designs in the “KISS” in either end zone are a nice touch to the gray field, aren’t they?