Cleveland Leigh Abbott Memorial Alumni Stadium
Ground breaking exercises for Cleve L. Abbott Memorial Alumni Stadium (formerly Alumni Bowl) at Tuskegee University was held on Saturday morning, August 21, 1924. The stadium was the first of its kind to be built at any Black school in the south. It was named Alumni Bowl because of the significant contribution made by alumni for the construction of the facility.
Principal speakers at the exercise were R. R. Taylor, acting president of the school; John L. Webb, Supreme Custodian of the Woodmen of Union of Arkansas; and Jesse O. Thomas, secretary of the National Urban League.
The first game was played in Abbott Memorial Alumni Stadium between Tuskegee University and Atlanta University on October 10, 1925. It was Homecoming for Tuskegee and the Golden Tigers defeated the Golden Hurricanes of AU, 20-0. A large crowd from all sections of Alabama and supporters from out of state came to witness the formal dedication of Tuskegee's new $50,000 stadium. For Tuskegee, the outstanding players were Benjamin Stevenson, Millard Wooten, Ernest T. Bailey and Oscar Tadlock.
Additions have been made to the stadium several times. The athletic fieldhouse located at the south end, donated to the university by W. M. Marable Construction Company of Tuskegee, was erected in 1989. Marable, a general contractor, a contributor to the school's athletic program, reconstructed the press box in the mid-eighties. The most recent renovation took place in 1991 with the installation of new aluminum seats, a Pepsi Cola scoreboard and 600 stadium-type crimson and gold reserved seats. The six-lane cinder track is to be refurbished in the near future. The present seating capacity of Abbott Memorial Alumni Stadium is 10,000.
After seventy-one years of play in the grand old stadium, University officials formerly dedicated the facility by renaming it the Cleve L. Abbott Memorial Alumni Stadium on November 9, 1996 (Homecoming) in honor of legendary Tuskegee football mentor Cleveland Leigh Abbott. Abbott, the most successful coach in the 106-year history of Tuskegee football, served as the Golden Tigers' head coach from 1923-1954, winning 95 and tying 27 in a 32-year coaching span.
Directions To Cleveland Leigh Abbott Memorial Alumni Stadium
From Montgomery, Birmingham, Mobile & Atlanta: Take Interstate 65 to Montgomery, then take Interstate 85 North to the Tuskegee/Franklin exit (Exit #32). Turn RIGHT off the exit onto Pleasant Springs Drive (Co. Rd. 50/30). Go approximately 2 miles, then turn left onto Franklin Road (Co. Rd. 30). Go approximately 3 miles to the end of Franklin Rd. Take a left at the traffic light onto "Old" Montgomery Rd. Go through the next traffic light and take a right onto Morteza Sprague Street (second street on the right), which will lead you to the stadium.
From Atlanta or Columbus: Take Interstate 85 South to the Tuskegee/Notasulga exit (Exit #38). Turn LEFT off the exit onto Tuskegee Airmen Blvd. (Hwy. 81). Stay on this highway (approximately 2 miles) through several 90-degree turns and you will end up on North Main Street. You will see Burger King on your left. Turn right at the first traffic light onto "Old" Montgomery Rd. Go through the next traffic light on Montgomery Road until you see the campus. Take a left onto the second street on the left (Morteza Sprague Street), which will lead you to the stadium.