Saturday, April 15, 2017
FAMU Rattlers will be receiving a NEW Bragg Stadium
TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- Bragg Memorial Stadium opened its doors to the public in 1957. It is known to be the groundbreaking of the strategic success and achievement of the Rattlers over the years and is now up for new renovations.
The stadium was first named after two of its most prominent figures to the football program, Jubie Bragg and Eugene Bragg; or better known to the Tallahassee area as the “First Family of Rattler Football.” Jubie Bragg served as the first head football coach and athletic director for Florida A&M University in 1907 through 1931. He gathered a record of 4-18-1 as head coach.
Bragg’s son, Eugene, took over the program and became head coach in 1934. Unfortunately, his coaching career was cut short after being killed in an automobile accident in 1935.
Before the nice seating, freshly paved grass and polished skybox, the football program started its first game without a stadium, playing on an all grass field behind Gaither Gymnasium. This area was previously known as “Bragg Field,” which now currently holds the athletic track and field. Thanks to fundraisers, the Rattlers finally had something to brag about in 1957. Bragg Memorial Stadium was finally built and showcased 10,500 permanent seats and bleachers, and held 13, 200 fans.
But as quickly as the rattler fans had something exciting to look forward to every Saturday evening, it seemed as though the thrill began to slowly fade away by the mid-80s. The stadium needed major repairs and grew too small for the football team and its fans, as FAMU enrollment began to spike.
In 1982, expansions to the stadium finally commenced. The $4 million renovation allowed bleachers to seat over 25,000 fans. A press box, concession stand, renovated restrooms and a $125,000 scoreboard with a message center implemented, but the stadium was still in need of desperate repairs and needed to raise $622,000 for structural repair and stair replacements before the start of the 2017-2018 season or else FAMU would be forced to play its home games elsewhere.
Director of Athletics Milton Overton Jr. recently voiced his opinions about repairs to the stadium.
“We’re going to play home games next season, there is no doubt about that, Rattlers always show up,” Overton said.
Even though now the athletic department has raised all the money needed to repair the stadium FAMU students still believe that it has been long overdue for a new stadium.
Nigel Lawrence, a sophomore School of Business and Industry student voiced how he feels about Bragg Stadium needing further repairs.
“Well first I think it’s long overdue, the stadium itself looks old, and just by looking at it you can tell it needs to be renovated.”
Jacques Bryant a senior majoring in healthcare management who has had success with the football program ending his college career with 4 interceptions, 71 tackles, MVP, and recently being named to the ALL-MEAC first team also added his thoughts.
“It’s important that the program has now raised the money for the stadium, because now-a-days players want to play at the best looking facilities and use the most updated equipment,” said Bryant.
According to recent documents released by facility services the stadium will include lots of upgrades such as new coaches offices, meeting rooms, class rooms and a new team meeting room all totaling up to 10,000 square feet. The Offense, and Defense meeting classroom will hold up to 45-seat capacity with theatre style seating also being included.
The program will also include a new weight room at 30,000 square feet, a new athletic training room with hydrotherapy equipment, players and coaches locker room, a lobby full of Rattler Alumni in the NFL along with trophies. Academic space is also being included in this project as two large tutor rooms and 1 large computer lab will be provided for the players.
The fans will also be comfortable as improvements of new benches/seating for 35,000 are sought in this proposal. Additional support space for home and visitor locker rooms, 25 luxury suites, club level, loge boxes, food service, concession stands, retail sales, restaurants, press box, media support, restrooms and other stadium area support space will total 140,136 square feet.
The start of this new project has not been disclosed but Rattler fans can expect to have something new to bragg about next year.
COURTESY THE FAMUAN, Avery Jacobs