If you know anything about the Florida State Seminoles football team, you know the only place to be for home games is at Doak Campbell Stadium. But who is Campbell anyways, and why is the stadium named after him?
Campbell, who was once the president at Florida State University, not only oversaw the building of the football stadium, but probably the most important change in the school’s long and storied history.
Who is Doak Campbell?
Campbell first served as a college president in 1920 at Central College in Conway, Arkansas. He then attended George Peabody College for Teachers where he received both his Masters and Ph.D by 1930. After working on the faculty, he was hired as the Dean of the Graduate School in 1938, a position he held until being hired as the President of FSU in 1941.
When he arrived on campus to become the school’s president in 1941, the name of the school was The Florida State College for Women, and it would stay that way until May 15, 1947 when it was officially renamed Florida State University.
With the end of World War II and men returning from the war, Campbell worked to get the school’s athletics back and restarted the Florida State college football program that hadn’t been on campus since 1905 when it was reclassified as a woman’s school.
With football being played in Tallahassee again, Campbell set out to build a stadium for the team to play in, which was rightfully named after the man who brought sports back to the school. The ‘Noles have been playing home games in Doak Campbell Stadium ever since.
For the first few seasons until that new stadium was built, the Seminoles played at Centennial Field on South Monroe Street in Tallahassee.
In November of 2004, the stadium’s field was named after a second FSU great, Bobby Bowden. The head football coach received the honor of after leading FSU to two national championships, 12 ACC titles and 28-straight bowl games. Today, it’s known as Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium.
Doak Campbell Stadium
The stadium is currently the second largest in the ACC behind only Clemson, and it’s the 19th largest in all of NCAA football. It is also the second largest in the state just behind Ben Hill Griffin at the University of Florida. But when it was first built and completed back in 1950, it was nowhere near the size it is today.
On the first game day in Doak S. Campbell Stadium — led by head coach Ed Williamson on the sideline — the Florida State Seminoles could only host 15,000 people when they beat the Randolph-Macon College Yellow Jackets, 40-7. It has experience multiple expanses since then and now holds 79,560 screaming fans.
The record for attendance at Doak Campbell is 84,409 when the Seminoles played the Miami Hurricanes in 2013, winning 41-14, and three of the stadium’s top four attendance records came when hosting rival Miami. The second highest attendance came against then-No. 1 Oklahoma (2011) while the rest of the top 10 is rounded out by Florida, Virginia, Notre Dame, and North Carolina State.
The stadium doesn’t just hold the field for football games though. It also has quite a few parts within the brick facade. The whole University Center has four parts that house numerous offices, classrooms and branches of the school.
The newest features inside the stadium are the scoreboards in the North end zone that are 100 feet tall, while the one in the South end zone measures in at 45 feet.
Closest to the South end zone of the stadium on Stadium Drive, there is a statue of Chief Osceola and Renegade. Even though Campbell wasn’t alive to see the signature duo ride through his stadium when they were introduced five years after his death, he is the reason there is a stadium they can ride though today.