Ohio Stadium History

The 'Shoe's Most Significant Moments

  • 1919

    #
    The House That Harley Built

    The inadequacy of Ohio Field, located at 17th Ave. and High Street, was magnified and interest in Ohio State football soared as record numbers of fans turned out to watch dazzling All-American “Chic” Harley play. Discussions for a new stadium heat up.

  • 1919-20

    #
    Stadium Fundraising Campaign Launched

    This was a landmark year for Ohio State football. Interest in the program was soaring, and an extensive stadium fundraising campaign was launched in the fall with a goal of reaching $600,000, a total that many felt was unrealistic.

  • 1921

    #
    Breaking Ground & Construction

    Ohio Governor Harry Davis joined a crowd of over 2,500 to officially break ground on the massive new stadium. There was criticism because of its capacity of over 60,000, but interest was great: More than $1 million toward the cost had now been pledged by dedicated Ohio State fans.

  • 1922

    #
    Ohio Stadium Opens

    Ohio Stadium, a double-decked, horseshoe-shaped structure that earned architect Howard Dwight Smith the American Institute of Architects’ top award for “excellence in public works,” opened on Oct. 7 with a 5-0 Ohio State victory over Ohio Wesleyan before 25,000 fans.

  • 1922

    #
    72,000 Fans at Dedication Game

    The Ohio Stadium dedication game came against Michigan on Oct. 21. It was a wonderful day for Ohio State despite the final score. The stadium was packed. Every seat was filled, as were temporary stands set up in the south end, and the crowd was estimated at 72,500.

  • 1925

    #
    Red Grange's Final Game

    The final college game of legendary Illinois halfback Harold “Red” Grange was on Nov. 21, 1925 in Ohio Stadium. The 84,295 in attendance was, at the time, the largest crowd to attend a sporting event in this country. (Photo: Univ. of Illinois)

  • 1926

    #
    First 100,000 Crowd?

    Per The Lantern: Attendance at the Ohio State-Michigan game officially estimated at 90,411 but … no one actually knows how many frenzied fans saw Michigan nose out the Ohioans 17-16 in one of the greatest games of modern football.

  • 1928

    #
    Commencement Held in Ohio Stadium

    The first graduation ceremony to be celebrated inside Ohio Stadium was held for the Spring 1928 graduating class on June 1. President William Oxley Thompson delivered the commencement address. (Image from 1931)

  • 1928

    #
    First Win Over Michigan in Ohio Stadium

    Buckeyes prevailed 19-7 in front of 72,496 in attendance. Athletics Director L.W. St. John announced all stadium debt has been paid off.

  • 1928

    #
    Ramp Entrance Debuts

    The traditional Ohio State Marching Band ramp entrance was first performed at Ohio Stadium in 1928. Very little has changed in the nearly 100 years since. Approximately 20 minutes before kickoff, the percussion section is first to enter the stadium to “Buckeye Battle Cry.”

  • 1933

    #
    Stadium Livin'

    From 1933 to 1999 select Ohio State students lived in the Ohio Stadium dorms. The initial group of 75 in 1933 was all male. In the 1980s a renovation bumped the residence to more than 360 men and women.

  • 1934

    #
    Buckeye Grove

    A wonderful and unique tradition of Ohio State football began in 1934: the awarding of a Buckeye tree to Ohio State’s first-team All-American players. The trees are planted in Buckeye Grove, adjacent and to the southwest of Ohio Stadium.

  • 1935

    #
    "The Game of the Century"

    Unbeaten Notre Dame defeated unbeaten Ohio State, 18-13, at Ohio Stadium in what was described at the time as the “greatest college game ever played.” Ohio State led 13-0 entering the fourth quarter, but ND scored twice in the final two minutes to play to win.

  • 1935-36

    #
    The Buckeye Bullet

    One of Ohio State’s and America’s most cherished athletes, Jesse Owens competed on the Ohio Stadium track from 1934-36. He won eight NCAA titles, but will forever be remembered for winning four gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games.

  • 1936

    #
    Script Ohio Debuts

    Script Ohio, one of the greatest traditions in all of college football, was first performed on Oct. 10, 1936 in Ohio Stadium. Each time the Ohio State marching band performs Script Ohio, a fourth- or fifth-year sousaphone player is chosen to dot the “i” in “Ohio.”

  • 1938

    #
    Block O is Founded

    Block O, the official student section of Ohio State athletics, has cheering sections in the north and south end zones at Ohio Stadium. Originated in 1938, Block O supports Ohio State student-athletes and upholds the spirit and tradition of Ohio State University.

  • 1950

    #
    Ohio Stadium Theatre

    Ohio Stadium Theatre was located at Gate 10 of the ‘Shoe. Sponsored by the College of Arts, the project served as the stage for summer productions and plays.

  • 1950

    #
    The Snow Bowl

    On Nov. 25, 1950, Ohio State and Michigan engage in a uniquely remembered game at Ohio Stadium: the Snow Bowl. An early winter storm hit Columbus with heavy snow, 28-mph winds and temps in the teens.

  • 1951

    #
    Enter Wayne Woodrow Hayes

    The Ohio State Board of Trustees, in a special meeting held Feb. 18, 1951, approved Woody Hayes as Ohio State’s new football coach. Hayes would win 205 games, 13 Big Ten titles and four national championships over the next 27 years.

  • 1954

    #
    The Sweet Sound of Victory

    The sound of the Victory Bell, located in the Southeast tower of Ohio Stadium, was first heard after Ohio State defeated California on Oct. 2. The bell weighs 2,420 pounds and can be heard five miles away.

  • 1957

    #
    Iowa Win Keys National Title

    A huge crowd of 82,935, including Vice President Richard M. Nixon, was on hand to see No. 6 Ohio State defeat No. 5 Iowa, 17-13, in one of the great games at Ohio Stadium.

  • 1965

    #
    Brutus Debuts

    Ohio State students Ray Bourhis and Sally Huber suggested a buckeye as Ohio State’s mascot. Brutus debuted in October in a large papier-mâché costume but was replaced two weeks later by a fiberglass version.

  • 1971

    #
    AstroTurf Installed in Ohio Stadium

    Ohio Stadium’s grass field was removed and AstroTurf was installed. A $380,000 gift from Lou Fischer was made for the turf in the memory of friend and Buckeye teammate Joe Campanella.

  • 1971

    #
    Neil Armstrong Commencement Address

    The first man to walk on the moon and native of Wapakoneta, Ohio, delivered the commencement speech at Ohio Stadium to the spring class of 1971. Four former presidents have also given the commencement address in The ‘Shoe: Obama (’13), Clinton (’07), G.W. Bush (’02) and G.H.W. Bush (1983).

  • 1972

    #
    Introducing Archie Griffin

    Archie Griffin’s first official carry came against North Carolina, in Week 2, and by game’s end he had set the single game rushing record with 239 yards.

  • 1974

    #
    On the National Register

    In March of 1974 Ohio Stadium became the first football stadium to be officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

  • 1983

    #
    Honoring Jesse Owens

    Jesse Owens Plaza, located outside of the north end of Ohio Stadium, was completed in September of 1982 at a cost of $400,000.

  • 1985

    #
    38 Olympians in Ohio Stadium

    By 1985, the Jesse Owens Classic had become recognized as one of the top track and field events in the country. The 1985 Classic featured 38 Olympians competing.

  • 1985

    #
    First Collegiate Night Game

    Ohio Stadium had used portable lights several times to complete late afternoon starts, but the 1985 season opener vs. Pitt was the first true collegiate night game in stadium history.

  • 1988

    #
    Pink Floyd Rocks the 'Shoe

    Pink Floyd was the first rock concert at Ohio Stadium, playing in front of nearly 64,000 on May 28, 1988.

  • 1989

    #
    100th Year of College Football

    Ohio State celebrates its 100th year of competition in collegiate football.

  • 1990

    #
    Grass Roots Are Back

    After 19 years and two different artificial turf surfaces, the field at Ohio Stadium returned to natural grass for the 1990 Ohio State football season.

  • 1991

    #
    South Stands Expansion Adds 5,700 Seats

    For the third time in Ohio Stadium’s history, seating in the south stands was expanded. An additional 5,700 south stands seats increased the capacity there from 7,800 to 13,500.

  • 1995

    #
    Rivalry Renewed

    An Ohio Stadium record crowd of 95,537 watched Ohio State come from behind to defeat Notre Dame, 45-26, in the Irish’s first visit to Ohio Stadium in 60 years.

  • 1996

    #
    Major League Soccer at Ohio Stadium

    The brand new professional soccer league, Major League Soccer, included the Columbus Crew, which played its first three seasons of games at Ohio Stadium.

  • 1997

    #
    The Rolling Stones at Ohio Stadium

    Iconic rock band plays Ohio Stadium for the first time. They would return in 2015 to a sold-out show.

  • 1999

    #
    Welcoming the George Strait Country Music Festival

    Check out the advertisement for the 1999 George Strait Country Music Festival, which featured acts such as Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Asleep at the Wheel, and more.

  • 1999

    #
    No. 45 Retired

    Archie Griffin’s No. 45 jersey was retired at the Oct. 30 Homecoming game vs. Iowa. Griffin’s was the first to be retired.

  • 2001

    #
    A New ’Shoe

    A major three-year renovation to Ohio Stadium was completed at a cost of $194 million. Work included removing the track, lowering the field, adding AA deck, a CC deck addition, renovating concourses, permanent south stands, a new scoreboard and pressbox, and adding suites.

  • 2001

    #
    A Gift of Glass

    The Ohio Stadium rotunda was decorated with three opalescent stained glass panels, each approximately 18.5 feet high and 12 feet wide, during the major renovation project.

  • 2001

    #
    9/11 Memorial Service

    Following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, a memorial service was held in Ohio Stadium.

  • 2006

    #
    No. 1 vs. No. 2

    One of the greatest games in Ohio Stadium history took place on Nov. 18: No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 2 Michigan. Ohio State won, 42-39, to clinch its first outright Big Ten championship since 1984.

  • 2007

    #
    Artificial Turf returns

    Ohio State replaced its natural grass playing surface in Ohio Stadium after 17 seasons of use by installing a new FieldTurf surface.

  • 2010

    #
    NCAA Lacrosse Attendance Record

    An NCAA-record crowd – regular season; on-campus – of 31,078 fans watched Ohio State’s men’s lacrosse team defeat Air Force at Ohio Stadium.

  • 2014

    #
    Let There Be Lights!

    A $13.7 million renovation to 92-year-old Ohio Stadium includes a new FieldTurf playing surface, 2,522 additional seats in the south stands, concrete water proofing and permanent lights. Capacity is now at an all-time high of 104,581.

  • 2015

    #
    Rolling Stones Reignite the 'Shoe

    Ohio Stadium’s role as a concert venue gets a jump-start with the return of The Rolling Stones and the inaugural Buckeye Country Superfest in 2015, marking an end to a 12-year hiatus of shows at the ‘Shoe.

  • 2016

    #
    The All-Time Record Crowd: 110,045

    Ohio State defeated Michigan, 30-27, in double overtime in front of a record Ohio Stadium crowd of 110,045 fans.

  • 2016

    #
    Largest Soccer Crowd in Ohio History

    The largest soccer crowd ever in Ohio – 86,641 – packed Ohio Stadium on Aug. 11, 2016 to watch Paris Saint-Germaine defeat Real Madrid, 3-1.

  • 2020

    #
    Season Attendance: 3,244

    The coronavirus pandemic-ravaged 2020 football season had a reduced number of games that were played before limited numbers of fans.

  • 2021

    #
    Buckeyes Ride Henderson's Record Day

    Freshman running back TreVeyon Henderson broke Archie Griffin’s freshman and single-game rushing records with 277 yards in a 41-20 win over Tulsa Sept. 18.

  • 2022

    #
    Ohio Stadium 100

    More than 50 million fans have attended games at Ohio Stadium. The Department of Athletics and The Ohio State University celebrate 100 years of Ohio Stadium throughout the course of the 2022 calendar year.

Read more about Howard Dwight Smith in the Ohio State Alumni Magazine

Imagining an icon

1907 graduate Howard Dwight Smith designed Ohio Stadium, an architectural marvel that has served for 100 years. (Illustration by Rebecca Sampson).

Top 100 Moments

  • 1920s

    #
    A Stadium is Born

    Ohio Stadium opens its doors and the first decade is full of impactful memories

    Learn more
  • 1930s

    #
    National Prominence

    Under new leadership, Ohio State reaches new levels of success. The great Jesse Owens establishes himself as the world’s greatest athlete.

    Learn more
  • 1940s

    #
    Top of the Mountain

    Head coach Paul Brown leads Ohio State to its first national championship; Les Horvath is the first Buckeye to win the Heisman Trophy

    Learn more
  • 1950s

    #
    Woody, Hop & National Prominence

    Woody Hayes begins his 27-year run as head coach in 1951 and the Buckeyes score a pair of national championships

    Learn more
  • 1960s

    #
    National Titles Nearly Bookend Decade

    NCAA crowns in 1961 and 1968 highlight tumultuous 10 years

    Learn more
  • 1970s

    #
    Buckeyes Are the First to Reach Four Straight Rose Bowls

    The 10-year war with Michigan features epic battles; Archie Griffin becomes only two-time Heisman Trophy winner

    Learn more
  • 1980s

    #
    Primetime

    We all loved the 80s and the Buckeyes were one of the most exciting teams to watch all decade.

    Learn more
  • 1990s

    #
    Stars abound perform in the Horseshoe

    Ohio State vies for several national titles and regains its stand among the top teams in the Big Ten Conference

    Learn more
  • 2000s

    #
    A New Century

    The ‘Shoe rings in its second century with endless exciting moments, including the 2002 National Championship and the first No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup in stadium history

    Learn more
  • 2010s

    #
    Another Era of Excellence

    Football elictrifies, adding another national title but the return of Ohio Stadium as a concert venue invigorates campus and Central Ohio.

    Learn more

Archie Griffin: ‘I still kind of get choked up’

The memories the two-time Heisman Trophy winner made within Ohio Stadium changed his life forever, he tells Aaron Marshall ’15 MA, a longtime aide and friend.

100 Years. The People.

The icons that have made Ohio Stadium truly a historic landmark

  • Howard Dwight Smith

    #
    Ohio Stadium Architect

    Smith designed and was architect for Ohio Stadium. This giant structure was unique in that it was horseshoe-shaped with an overhanging “C” deck. It also won Smith a gold medal from the American Institute of Architects.

    Learn more
  • Jesse Owens

    #
    Track and Field 1935-36

    The four-time Olympic gold medalist and world-record holder performed in Ohio Stadium as a Buckeye.

    Learn more
  • Woody Hayes

    #
    Football head coach 1951-1978

    Woody Hayes would lead Ohio State football from 1951-1978, winning 13 Big Ten titles and five national championships.

    Learn more
  • Archie Griffin

    #
    Heisman Trophy 1974-75

    In 1974, Ohio State tailback Archie Griffin became just the fifth junior ever to win the Heisman Trophy. In 1975, Griffin became the first player ever to win a second Heisman. Decades later he is still the only player to have two of the coveted bronze statues, which go annually to the nation’s top college football player.

    Learn more
  • Chic Harley

    #
    All-American 1916-17, '19

    In his time, there was no stadium in existence that could contain all the people who wanted to see the things he could do on the football field.

    Learn more
  • L.W. St. John

    #
    Athletics Director

    St. John took over as “manager of competitive and recreative athletics” at Ohio State in 1912. He began the task of building Ohio State into an athletic titan that would attract over a million fans to its home games three decades later in a huge stadium to which teams would come as far as 2,000 miles to play.

    Learn more
  • Stephanie Hightower

    #
    Track and Field 1979-83

    Competing in home events at Ohio Stadium, Hightower was Ohio State’s first female track and field Olympian. She was a four-time U.S. champ in the 100-meter hurdles.

    Learn more
  • Diane Dixon

    #
    Track and Field

    A two-time Olympic medalist (gold, 1984 and silver, 1988) in the women’s 4×400-meter relay, Dixon starred in Ohio Stadium in the mid-1980s.

    Learn more
  • Sue Marcellus

    #
    Field Hockey

    Regarded as Ohio State’s best field hockey player, Sue Marcellus is the only athlete in the program to have her number retired. She earned All-America honors in 1977, 1978 and 1979 and member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic Team.

  • Bill Willis

    #
    First African-American All-American

    Bill Willis is a member of the Ohio High School, Ohio State Athletics, College Football and Pro Football halls of fame. His jersey number “99” was retired Nov. 3, 2007 at halftime in a victory over Wisconsin.

    Learn more
game programs, ticket stubs, apparel and more

Commemorative Merchandise

Birth of Ohio Stadium 

WOSU Documentary on the building of the ‘Shoe 


Share Your Favorite Ohio Stadium Memories

Click or drag files to this area to upload. You can upload up to 5 files.
Share up to five (5) photos of your favorite memories at Ohio Stadium.
(Optional)


Acknowledgements and Credits

A special thank you to Ohio State University Archives and the Ohio State University Libraries for providing content for this tribute website to the 100 years of Ohio Stadium. We extend additional credits and appreciation to The Makio (the Ohio State yearbook), The Lantern and WOSU for providing imagery and videos. We also site the following sources for information-gathering purposes:

  • “The Ohio State Football Encyclopedia” by Jack Park
  • “Ohio State: 100 Years of Football” by Marv Homan & Paul Hornung
  • “Ohio State Athletics: 1879-1959” by James E. Pollard
  • “Greatest Moments in Ohio State Football History” by Triumph Books