NC State fans at a football game in Carter Finley stadium

Flashback Friday: Riddick Stadium and NC State Football

Wolfpack football wasn’t always played at the magnificent Carter-Finley Stadium, nor was it always played off campus.

For nearly 60 years, Riddick Stadium was the home of exciting games and nail-biting plays, until the university and its athletic program outgrew the 20,000-seat on-campus arena and the football stadium we love today was constructed in the mid-1960s.

Riddick Stadium was in the news lately: 50 years ago last Friday was the last game ever held in the stadium. So in honor of Flashback Friday, here’s a look back at the stadium and Wolfpack football.

A Brief History of Riddick Stadium

In 1907, North Carolina College of Agriculture & Mechanic Arts (as the university was then known) truly kicked off its legendary football career with a shut out game against Randolph-Macon, winning by a score of 20 to 0 on the field that would later become the infamous Riddick Stadium, named for former university president and “father of athletics” Wallace Carl Riddick.

Riddick Field soon became Riddick Stadium, boasting wooden benches and a grandstand behind the college’s dorms. The concrete West Stands were added in 1916, the East Stands in 1935, and the Field House in 1936.

But when Carter-Finley Stadium took over as the hub of NC State athletics in 1968, the university paved football paradise and put up a parking lot.

Only the Field House remained into the 21st century, but it was eventually torn down in 2013.

View Its History Commemorated on a Plaque

If you want to see what the stadium looked like in person, you can visit the commemorative plaque behind SAS Hall overlooking the parking lot. The field is where the SAS Hall parking lot now rests, and the Field House once straddled the sidewalk directly in front of the pedestrian tunnel under the railroad tracks.

Wolfpack Football Yesterday and Today

Before Carter-Finley and even before Riddick Stadium, Wolfpack football was played where ever there was an open field — in Pullen Park, at the fairgrounds.

Today, games are held off campus at the 60,000-seat Carter-Finley Stadium.

A Series of “Firsts”

First-ever football game: March 12th, 1892, where the then A&M took on local Raleigh Academy and won 12-6, a fantastic start to an exciting university tradition.

First game in Riddick Stadium: 1907 against Randolph-Macon; we won 20-0.

First night game: 1930 against High Point; we won that, too.

First bowl game: January 1st, 1947’s Gator Bowl against the University of Oklahoma. But we lost 43-13.

First televised game: October 21st, 1950 against the University of Maryland

First ACC title: November 25th, 1957 against the University of South Carolina

First TV broadcast in Reynolds Coliseum: October 12th, 1963

First game in Carter-Finley Stadium: October 8th, 1966 against South Carolina

First perfect season: 1967

First bowl game win: January 1st, 1968 against the University of Georgia in the Liberty Bowl

First ACC championship: 1979

First over-the-top student celebration: September 21st, 2000:

After an overtime football victory over Georgia Tech at Carter-Finley Stadium, NC State students tear down a goalpost and carry it down Hillsborough Street towards campus, making it as far the Waffle House; the goalpost costs $5,000 to replace.

— NCSU Libraries’ Historical State Timelines

What’s in a Name?

Of course, we can’t talk about Wolfpack football without mentioning the origins of the “Wolfpack”: According to an article in The Technician in 1921, the football team was as “unruly as a pack of wolves.”

Obviously, the name stuck, and the football team was forever called the Wolfpack.

It wasn’t until much later that the university referred to its other college athletic programs — then called “Red Terrors” — officially by that name.

A Long-Lived Campus Tradition

With such a rich history and a past full of “firsts,” it’s little wonder that football at NC State is so exciting. Make sure you attend a few home games while you’re a student; it’s an experience unlike anything else.


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