How did each Sun Belt football stadium get its name? What are the stories behind the names to college football’s shrines?
From benefactors to memorials, each Sun Belt football stadium has its own unique flavor and history.
So what’s in a name?
Their names are as much a part of the sport as the players that wear the school colors or the coaches that prowl the sidelines. They’re integral fragments of your autumn vernacular, yet you often know not who they are. You’ve spent countless hours and memorable moments in their houses, but you’d struggle to identify them in a photo.
They are the names behind the football stadium names. The men, women and corporations, who’ve been honored for their unwavering service, dedication and generosity to institutions of higher learning.
Those surnames on the outside facing of your favorite Sun Belt football stadiums and the face of your Saturday afternoon ticket stubs are real people. Real special—and philanthropic—people in most instances. Their backgrounds and paths to immortality are as diverse as the architecture of the arenas themselves. Their drive for success and love for a school are the ties that bind this unique collection of individuals.
Appalachian State – Kidd Brewer Stadium
Named for … Kidd Brewer
Who was he? In 1988, Conrad Stadium became Kidd Brewer in honor of one of the most popular head coaches in Mountaineer history. Before assuming the role of AD, Brewer went 30-5-3 in four seasons in the 1930s when the school was known as Appalachian State Teachers College.
Arkansas State – Centennial Bank Stadium
Named for … Centennial Bank
Who are they? Arkansas State’s home building has changed names multiple times over the past decade. Most recently, it went from Liberty Bank Stadium to Centennial Bank Stadium, when the latter purchased the former in 2013. Prior to the acquisition, Liberty Bank had donated $5 million to the Red Wolves three years ago.
Georgia Southern – Paulson Stadium
Named for … Allen E. Paulson
Who was he? Paulson was the founder and owner of Gulfstream Aerospace, a designer and manufacturer of business jets. Paulson bequeathed over $1 million to the university for the construction of the facility, which debuted in 1984.
Idaho – Kibbie Dome
Named for … William H. Kibbie
Who was he? After a fire partially destroyed Neale Stadium in 1969, the Vandals began construction of their current home. Kibbie, an Idaho alum and construction exec, played a vital role with his donation of $300,000.
Louisiana-Monroe – Malone Stadium
Named for … James L. Malone
Who was he? Malone earned his place as the school’s winningest head coach in the 1940s and 1950s, when the then-Indians were known as Northeast Louisiana University.
South Alabama – Ladd-Peebles Stadium
Named for … Ernest F. Ladd and E.B. Peebles
Who were they? Ladd was a banking executive who died in 1941. When the stadium was built in 1948, it was made possible by private funding from a local banker who wanted to memorialize Ladd, who he considered to be his mentor. Peebles’ name was added to the edifice in 1997 for his efforts in revitalizing the Senior Bowl.
Texas State – Jim Wacker Field at Bobcat Stadium
Named for … Jim Wacker
Who was he? Wacker was a seminal figure in Bobcat athletics, both as a coach and an athletic director. From 1979-1982, he won 42 games and back-to-back Division II national championships at the school, then known as Southwest Texas State University. Wacker returned to San Marcos in 1998 to serve as the AD, but died five years later following a long battle with cancer.