100th Anniversary of Vanderbilt Stadium

Honoring 100 years of Vanderbilt Stadium. Appreciating the past and celebrating our future as FirstBank Stadium.


Upcoming Initiatives during the 2022 Football Season

Sept. 3 vs Elon

  • Commemorative posters for fans, honoring the Top 100 Commodores
  • Halftime presentation & recognition of Top 100 Commodores

Sept. 10 vs Wake Forest

  • Limited run of Hatch Show Prints for the 100th Anniversary – fan giveaway

Nov. 19 vs Florida

  • Mini replica stadium statues for fans, honoring Vanderbilt Stadium

Moments in History

  • Vanderbilt Stadium (then known as Dudley Field) opened on Oct. 14, 1922, when Vanderbilt hosted Michigan.
    • Commodore coach Dan McGugin played at Michigan and was the brother-in-law of Wolverines coach Fielding Yost. The Commodores, led by team captain and halfback Jess Neely, battled heavily favored Michigan to a 0-0 tie.
  • The stadium was the first in the South built for football.
  • Prior to the formation of the SEC in 1933, Vanderbilt competed in the Southern Independent Athletic Association and the Southern Conference. The Commodores’ first game at Dudley Field as founding members of the SEC came on Oct. 21, 1933, when Vanderbilt tied Mississippi State 7-7.
  • Legendary coach Bear Bryant made his head coaching debut at Dudley Field on Oct. 12, 1940, as an emergency replacement for coach Red Sanders, who was recovering from an appendectomy. Bryant led the Commodores to a 7-7 tie with the Wildcats.
  • The first NFL game played in the South took place at Dudley Field in 1944 when the Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles played a mid-season exhibition game to raise money for the war effort.
  • The Commodores played their first ever night game at Dudley Field on Sept. 25, 1954, against Baylor. Lights had been installed at the stadium earlier that year for the Billy Graham Crusade.
  • John F. Kennedy became the first sitting president to appear at Dudley Field on May 18, 1963, to deliver remarks in celebration of the university’s 90th anniversary.
  • Gale Sayers put on one of the most remarkable performances in Dudley Field history during an exhibition game Aug. 28, 1965, as a Chicago Bears rookie. The future Hall of Famer scored three touchdowns: a 77-yard punt return, a 93-yard kickoff return, and a 25-yard touchdown pass as a halfback.
  • After a massive off-season renovation project, Dudley Field reopened as Vanderbilt Stadium on Sept. 12, 1981. Vanderbilt beat Maryland 23-17 to christen the stadium.
  • In 1998, the Tennessee Oilers played their first season in Nashville at Vanderbilt Stadium as the Coliseum was under construction. In December of that year, the Music City Bowl debuted at the stadium.
  • ESPN College GameDay came to town on Oct. 4, 2008, and the Commodores rose to the occasion, beating No. 13 Auburn 14-13, Vanderbilt’s fifth straight win to start the season.
  • Sarah Fuller became the first woman to score points in a Power 5 football game when she kicked two extra points against Tennessee at Vanderbilt Stadium on Nov. 28, 2020.
  • The $300 million Vandy United campaign, featuring major upgrades to Vanderbilt Stadium, is announced on March 29, 2021.
  • Vanderbilt commencement is held at Vanderbilt Stadium for the first time on May 15, 2021, to allow for COVID-19 precautions.
  • In August 2022, the stadium was renamed FirstBank Stadium as the University entered into an agreement with the Nashville-based bank.

Top 100 Players in Vanderbilt Stadium History

The fans have spoken! From Lynn Bomar to Dayo Odeyingbo and everyone in between, click here to see the full list of the top 100 Commodores of the Vanderbilt Stadium era.

Feature Stories

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