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HOUSTON - Robertson Stadium (31,700 | 1942 - 2012)

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The Early Years

Robertson Stadium was a joint project of the Houston Independent School District (HISD) and the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a federal agency created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. Harry Payne designed the stadium. He was the architect responsible for designing several high schools in the Houston area from 1927-1937, including Lamar, Wheatley, Deer Park, Huntsville, and Baytown Lee. Fretz Construction Company built the stadium.

HISD had purchased the land (60 acres) now bound by Holman, Cullen (formerly St. Bernard’s street), Elgin and Wheeler Streets for $75,000. Originally named "Public School Stadium," it opened in 1942 for HISD high school games. In its original configuration, it sat 22,000 fans.

The University of Houston started its football program in 1946, and played their home games at Public School Stadium between 1946-1950. The Houston Cougars moved their home games in 1950 to Houston Stadium (now known as Rice Stadium). In 1965, the Coogs adopted the Astrodome as their home stadium. The Cougars played only game between 1951-94 at Robertson Stadium: on Friday, Sept. 25 1964 Houston shutout Texas A&M, 10-0.

Public School Stadium was renamed Jeppesen Stadium in 1958 in honor of Holger Jeppesen, a longtime member of the Houston School Board who fought vigorously for the project.

Professional Football Comes to Jeppesen

In 1960, K.S. “Bud” Adams, new owner of Houston Oilers in the American Football league, signed a lease to play home games at Jeppesen Stadium. He expanded seating from 22,000 to 36,000.

The Houston Oilers hosted the Dallas Texans at Jeppesen Stadium in the AFL title game in December 1962. That complete game can be viewed on Vimeo. That game set the all-time stadium attendance record at 37,981. The Oilers left Jeppesen after the 1964 season to move into Rice Stadium. The Oilers eventually moved into the Astrodome in 1968.

University of Houston Acquires the Stadium and Renames It Robertson Stadium

In 1966, the University of Houston developed a master campus plan that emphasized the acquisition of the stadium which adjoined the campus boundary. UH bought the stadium from HISD in 1970 for $6.8M. Former UH Board of Regent Corbin Robertson funded a renovation of the stadium, and it was renamed Robertson Stadium in 1980 in his honor.

Track & Field

The stadium underwent $2 million facelift in 1983 for the NCAA Track and Field Championships and further renovations came in 1989 when Cougar and Olympian Carl Lewis provided new runways and resurfacing of the track which served as his training home. Here are the results of the 1983 meet. Carl's sister Carol set a NCAA meet record in the women's long jump.

A History of Concerts

Robertson Stadium was the site of many concerts in the 1970s and 1980s, including ZZ Top (1973), Willie Nelson (1973), Doobie Brothers (1973, 1975), Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (1974), Allman Brothers (1974), Beach Boys (1975), Chicago (1975), Pink Floyd (1977), The Eagles (1977), Ted Nugent (1977), Alice Cooper (1980), Black Sabbath (1980) and Blue Oyster Cult (1980). Various concert photos.

Houston Leaves the Astrodome and Returns to Campus Football

The University of Houston football team played one game on campus at Robertson in 1995, two games in 1996 and three in 1997 before returning to Robertson full-time in 1998.

With a lead $6 million gift from John and Julie O’Quinn, UH spent over $10M in renovations between 1998 and 1999 under the direction of then AD Chet Gladchuk. Capacity was raised from 20,500 to approximately 32,000. In honor of their gift, the football field was named John O'Quinn Field at Robertson Stadium.

Thanks to an additional seven-figure gift from Carl Lewis to build the Carl Lewis International Track Complex, the track at Robertson was replaced with a ring of lower tiered chairback seating and the playing field was lowered nine feet. Grandstands were constructed in each endzone and along with 20 luxury suites on both sides of stadium. Concession stands and restrooms were built in each corner of the stadium. A new scoreboard and sound system were installed, as well as new sidewalks, walkway, fencing, patios and interior and exterior landscaping. Finally, palm trees were planted in each corner of the stadium. This would become a trademark of the stadium.

Title Games & Records

Houston hosted two Conference USA title games at Robertson, beating Southern Miss in 2006 and losing to Southern Miss in 2011. In 1996, Houston also beat 20th ranked Southern Miss at Robertson in an ovetime affair to secure the inaugural Conference USA crown.

In a 2011 contest against crosstown rival Rice, UH QB Case Keenum broke the all time NCAA career passing touchdown record. The week before, Keenum broke the all time NCAA career total yards mark in a win over Marshall at Robertson. Later that season, ESPN Gameday would broadcast from the University of Houston before a home game at Robertson with SMU. Lee Corso pleased the crowd with his pick.

The Dynamo Era

The Houston Dynamo MLS club played their home games at Robertson Stadium from 2006-2011 after reaching a rental agreement with then UH Athletic Director Dave Maggard. The Dynamo won the MLS Cup in 2006 and 2007, and lost in the finals in 2011. More renovations to Robertson were completed at the Dynamo's expense. The Dynamo moved to their brand new home (BBVA Compass Stadium) in 2012.

UH Decides to Demolish Robertson, and Build a New Stadium on its Site

In 2012, after a massive fundraising effort from current UH AD Mack Rhoades, the UH Board of Regents approved the constuction of a new football stadium on the Robertson Stadium site. They studied two other campus sites for the stadium, but determined that the most economical choice was to build on the old Robertson site.

Demolition of Robertson began in December 2012. A groundbreaking ceremony on the new stadium was held in February 2013. The new stadium, which has a more East-West orientation than Robertson, opened in August 2014.
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Public School Stadium opens

Sept. 18, 1942
First Game: Lamar High School 26, Dallas Adamson 7

Home of the Cougars

Sept. 21, 1946
First Houston Game: Louisiana-Lafayette 13, Houston 7

Renamed Jeppesen Stadium

Houston 10, Texas A&M 0

Home of the Houston Oilers of the AFL

Jan. 1, 1961
Houston Oilers defeat the Los Angeles Chargers 24-16 in AFL’s first title game

Dec. 23, 1962
Dallas Texans defeat Houston Oilers 20-17 (OT) in front of 37,981.

University of Houston purchases Jeppesen Stadium

May 3, 1980
Dedicated as Robertson Stadium

NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships

U.S. Olympic Sports Festival

U.S. Outdoor Championships

Sept. 9 1995
Cougars play at Robertson for the first time in 30 years against Louisiana Tech to celebrate opening of Athletics/Alumni Center

Nov. 9, 1996
Houston upsets #20 Southern Miss 56-49 in overtime to secure the inaugural Conference USA football title

Dedicated O’Quinn Field at Robertson Stadium after $6-million lead gift from John and Julie O’Quinn.

Nov. 9, 2002
Joffrey Reynolds sets a school record with 300 rushing yards vs. East Carolina at Robertson.

Sept. 20, 2003
Houston beats Mississippi State 42-35 at Robertson.

Oct. 25, 2003
Houston freshman quarterback Kevin Kolb threw for 400 yards and ran for 100 yards vs. TCU at Robertson. He was only the fourth player ever to accomplish the feat.

Home of the Houston Dynamo MLS club

Sept 23, 2006
Houston beats Oklahoma State at Robertson 34-25

Dec. 1, 2006
Houston hosts the Conference USA Championship, defeating Southern Miss 34-20 for the league title.

Oct 13, 2007
Donnie Avery caught 346 yards in passes, and Anthony Alridge ran for 205 yards in a victory over Rice at Robertson. It was the first time in major college history that teammates had 300 yards receiving and 200 yards rushing in the same game.

Sept 26, 2009
Houston beats Texas Tech 29-28 on ESPN2 during a Saturday night game at Robertson.

Oct. 22, 2011
Case Keenum breaks Timmy Chang's all-time NCAA career total offense record in a win over Marshall.

Oct. 27, 2011
UH quarterback Case Keenum sets the all-time NCAA career passing TD record against Rice.

Nov. 19, 2011
Site of ESPN College Gameday TV show before Houston-SMU game.

Dec. 3, 2011
Undefeated Cougars host Southern Miss in the C-USA Championship, falling 49-28 in front of a record crowd of 32,413.

Nov. 24, 2012
Houston plays its final game in Robertson Stadium and comes away with a 40-17 win over Tulane. The Cougars close their all-time record in the stadium at 72-44-1.

Dec. 3, 2012
Demolition of the 70-year old Robertson Stadium officially begins.



Aerial View after 1999 Renovations

2002 Scrimmage Between Houston Texans and Dallas Cowboys

2009 Game with Texas Tech

2011 CUSA Title Game

Skyline View from South Endzone


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