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Stadium Capsule: ODU’s Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium

Since Old Dominion is joining Conference USA for the 2015 season in football, lets take a look at their football facilities and team history.

The full name of the stadium is Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium.

The field is named after Alvan Herbert Foreman. Foreman was a board of trustees member who helped secure the funds for multiple athletic facilities at the Norfolk Division of the College of William & Mary — later renamed Old Dominion University.

The field was dedicated on October 3, 1936 during a 7-0 defeat to the University of Virginia.

The school played football from 1930-41, compiling a 62-19-4 record.

Football was abandoned after the 1941 season and did not return to ODU until 2009, when the school restarted the team as a FCS Independent.

While ODU did not have football from 1942-2008, Foreman Field did host a variety of football games.

The most well-known game is the Oyster Bowl. The Oyster Bowl was first played in 1946 and was played annually from 1948 till 1995, all at Foreman Field.

A postcard of the 1946 Osyter Bowl

The Oyster Bowl is sponsored by the Shriners of Norfolk’s Khedive Temple to benefit crippled children.

A fun fact from the Oyster Bowl is that in the 1977 game between East Carolina and William & Mary, former East Carolina coach Jim Johnson came out of the stands to tackle a William & Mary player about to score the game-winning touchdown.

Some alumni of the Oyster Bowl include Fran Tarkenton, Roger Staubach, and Don Meredith.

The Oyster Bowl was not played from 1996-1999 and was moved to Hampton, Virginia from 2000-2010. The game returned the Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium in 2011 when ODU hosted James Madison.

Other games played at Foreman Field include Washington Redskins pre-season games in the 1960’s, the semi-pro Norfolk Neptunes during the 1960’s and 1970’s and the Virginia Ambassadors of the World Football League in 1974.

In 1981, aluminum seats and Astro-turf were added, but not much else had changed at the stadium since being built in 1936.

Finally, in 2007, ODU announced the return of their football program. They quickly began a massive $24.8 million remodeling project to Foreman Field.

The name of the stadium was also changed to Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium after S.B. Ballard Construction gave $2.5 million toward the project.

The construction added a really nice building in the end zone called the Ainslie Football Complex. The Ainslie building houses game day suites and concessions. They also added a new plaza entrance, called the Alcaraz-Weinstein Family Plaza.

The Ainslie Football Complex features 26 luxury suites, 390 loge seats and 100 mini boxes. Twelve of the suites have private patios overlooking the south plaza.

The project also brought the current seating capacity to 19,818.

It is being reported today that their are plans to further increase the seating at S.B. Ballard Stadium. Here is a rendering of the proposed changes.

A model of the proposed changes to Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium

I have been told that expected capacity will be around 40,000.

Meanwhile, ODU played the 2011 season, and will play the 2012 season, as a member of the Colonial Athletic Conference. In 2013 and 2014, ODU will begin the two year process of re-classifying from FCS to FBS before they join Conference USA as a full, bowl eligible football member in 2015.

[model photo via @KirkNawrotzky] [post card photo via wikipedia.com] [all other photos via ODUsports.com]

About Joshua Guiher

I love college football, especially attending live games in different stadiums. I have been to 129 FBS college football games in 40 different stadiums. I write for StadiumJourney.com when I have the time, covering the Appalachian Region

One comment

  1. The addition is nice, but the stadium as it stands now is a dump.  It is lined with portapotties.  Quite a blemish on an up and coming program.