Do you remember the old Skelly Stadium?
Now called H.A. Chapman Stadium after a 2007 renovation, TU honored the stadium’s original donor by naming the playing area Skelly Field.
A capacity crowd watched the University of Tulsa host Arkansas at Skelly Field on Nov. 27, 1947. The Golden Hurrican lost to the Razorbacks 23-13.
Courtesy Tulsa Historical Society and Museum
Heading down East 11th Street near South Harvard Avenue during a University of Tulsa football game, you are likely to hear cheering crowds from H.A Chapman Stadium. Designed by Smith and Senter Architects, the iconic field was originally named for early day oilman/philanthropist William G. Skelly and hosted its first game on Oct. 4, 1930.
When it was first built, at a cost of $275,000 — paid for by Skelly and with private donations and trades — the stadium stands could hold 14,500.
After various renovations and additions over its nearly 90 years, the stadium now seats up to 30,000 and is the smallest in Conference USA, in which TU plays. However, the stadium was temporarily expanded for the 1987 season to seat 47,350 on Sept. 26, 1987, when TU played the Oklahoma Sooners. (The Sooners beat the Golden Hurricane 65-0.) This was done by narrowing the space of the bench seating between numbered seats and adding temporary bleachers to the corners of the end zones.
After the 1987 season, seating capacity was reduced to 40,235. In 2004, some of the stadium bleachers were removed for the press box and premium donor box suites, reducing capacity to its existing size.
The stadium received its current moniker from H.A. Chapman, the primary benefactor to its $18 million renovation in 2007. TU also honored the stadium’s original donor, naming the playing area Skelly Field.