Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium
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Year Opened: 1959 | Field Surface: Artificial Turf
Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium opened in 1959, replacing Thompson Field, which opened in 1912 and sat just 12,000.
The venue also has hosted NCAA lacrosse championships and some early soccer games during the 1984 Summer Olympics.
The stadium serves as a memorial to the Navy and Marine Corps and has thousands of plaques commemorating those branches of the military. The stadium was renovated in 2004, adding club and private seats and upgrading the press box, restrooms, concessions and banquet facilities.
The gridiron is named Jack Stephens Field for Jackson T. Stephens (class of 1947), whose generosity helped stadium renovations and other Naval Academy projects.
Bill the Goat is known worldwide as the mascot of the Navy. The first mascot was a goat named El Cid (The Chief) in 1893, but Navy had everything from dogs and cats to carrier pigeons until the goat became the permanent mascot in 1904. Bill the Goat (three serve as mascots) is handled by 15 trainers. Bill always faces the direction Navy's offense is going. The goat has been kidnapped several times by Army cadets -- usually just prior to Army-Navy week -- and other schools. There is a bronze statue of the goat just inside the main gate to the academy.
Navy has been known as the Midshipmen dating to the 17th century for men stationed "amidships" or in the middle of such vessels. In 1902, Navy football players officially became Midshipmen.
"Anchors Aweigh" is the fight song of the Navy and was first played at the Army game on Dec. 1, 1906. The song became widely popular in the 1920s and '30s, as it was heard on radio and in movies around the world. Several versions of the song have been produced through the years and although it is closely associated with Navy, it has yet to be officially adopted as the school song.
The Brigade of Midshipmen (a student body of 4,200 strong) marches onto the field before games. For each point scored, a cannon is fired, freshmen do push-ups in the end zone and students throws caps into air.
Tecumseh, the Native American figure that faces Bancroft Hall and Tecumseh Court, has been a symbol at Annapolis since 1866. The statue is painted with war paint before any game against Army. It is saluted left-handed and showered with pennies, signs for good luck and that victory is near.
Source: Naval Academy
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