Saturday marked the Tennessee State University football team's return to Hale Stadium.
It had been nearly 15 years since the TSU Tigers and their fans filled Hale Stadium, also known as “The Hole.” The TSU Tigers moved their home games to LP Field in 1999.
After nearly $1 million in renovations and upgrades, TSU hosted Saturday's football game at Hale Stadium in honor of the school's 100th year celebration.
Saturday's game was a walk down memory lane for many. More than 14,000 fans filled the stands to watch TSU beat APSU 34 to 14.
“As a matter of fact, the last game was played when I was athletics director,” Howard Gentry told Nashville's News 2. “Just to be here in the atmosphere is, this just feels right, it's amazing.”
TSU alumnus Kenneth Barnes added, “I marched in the band in the 1980s, so it's a very homey feeling.”
“We used to sit right there in [section] X,” TSU alumnus Marcus Ellis said. “All my friends, we would sit there in [section] X and have a great time, so it feels good to be home.”
For current students like Melissa Souffrant, Saturday's game was a brand new experience.
“It's been a long time coming since this is my third year. I'm a junior and we were wondering what this was being used for, so now we can just walk across campus and come to the game.”
Now many hope Saturday's game will help bring the Tigers back home to The Hole permanently.
“We need first class right here at Tennessee State University,” Gentry said. “This is nice for now and we're excited about it, but it also would be great to have a new stadium right here on our campus.”
“I think LP Field is nice, but I think being in The Hole, being on TSU campus, it's better,” TSU student Ashley Killebrew said.
“College football needs to be played on the college campus always,” said Ellis. “So it's just good to be home.”
The TSU Tigers will play again at Hale Stadium against Eastern Kentucky State University on October 6 and Tennessee Tech on October 27.
- Sept. 26, 2011: TSU hopes to bring football back to Hale Stadium