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Rams Home Turf

The ASU campus was abuzz in 2013 with news that Rams football was truly coming home the next fall. As the LeGrand Stadium at 1st Community Credit Union Field began to transform with the installation of artificial turf, floodlights, additional seating and press box facilities, the conversation escalated. Both ASU and the community eagerly awaited the first game on Sept. 13, 2014.

  • 1st Community Credit Union Field at LeGrand Stadium ribbon cutting precedes the winning football game against Western State.
    1st Community Credit Union Field at LeGrand Stadium ribbon cutting precedes the winning football game against Western State.
    Photo by Danny Meyer, University
  • Shannon AirMed 1 flew in Fred Key with the game ball at the First Home Game at 1st Community Field at LeGrand Stadium.
    Shannon AirMed 1 flew in Fred Key with the game ball at the First Home Game at 1st Community Field at LeGrand Stadium.
    Photo by Danny Meyer, University
  • Fred Key delivers the first game ball to Roscoe at the new stadium complex.
    Fred Key delivers the first game ball to Roscoe at the new stadium complex.
    Photo by Danny Meyer, University
  • ASU cheerleaders perform at a jam-packed stadium.
    ASU cheerleaders perform at a jam-packed stadium.
    Photo by Danny Meyer
  • Students support their team and wear Home Turf Advantage game day shirts provided by 1st Community Federal Credit Union.
    Students support their team and wear Home Turf Advantage game day shirts provided by 1st Community Federal Credit Union.
    Photo by Danny Meyer
  • The view from the east-side bleachers is filled with blue, gold and white.
    The view from the east-side bleachers is filled with blue, gold and white.
    Photo by Danny Meyer, University

“There was definitely more anticipation and excitement with the opening game,” said Will Wagner, Rams head football coach. “Getting on campus for the first time in the history of ASU football had everyone pumped. That’s all that you heard was how everyone couldn’t wait for the first game, which made the week prior go by so slowly.”

Weeks out, official marketing for the game began. Social media included the hashtag #RamsHomeTurf, and fans spread the word to wear white T-shirts for a whiteout, matching the Rams’ new all-white uniforms.

It’s the idea of ownership. Your identity is already engraved on it.

Phil George, former ASU athletic director

ASU coaching legend and former athletic director Phil George promoted the game from a personal perspective, voicing a tv commercial to preview the upcoming season on home turf. In his distinctive tone, he began, “It’s the idea of ownership. Your identity is already engraved on it,” and ended with, “We’re in for a heck of a year.”

George was uniquely qualified to lead the charge, having been on the ASU coaching staff when Rams football was played at Old Bobcat Stadium on Pulliam Street and when the Rams moved home games to San Angelo Stadium in 1956.

Once game day finally arrived, a record number of tailgaters gathered for Ram Jam at the LeGrand Alumni and Visitors Center. Fans arrived early and stayed until time to walk across Jackson Street for the kickoff at LeGrand Stadium at 1st Community Credit Union Field. Some were still en route when Shannon Medical Center’s AirMed 1 helicopter flew in at low altitude.

The chopper landed on the 50 yard line, and Fred Key, CEO of Foster Communications, alighted and handed the game ball to Roscoe. A month earlier, at the 10th annual Phil George Blue & Gold Dinner and Auction benefitting ASU athletics, Key bid a whopping $13,000 for that ride of a lifetime.

The festivities continued with a ribbon cutting by donors, including Dr. Robert and Jean Ann LeGrand, Bill Nikolauk and Vicki Loso of 1st Community Federal Credit Union, alumnus Larry Clark, Tom Early and Mike Boyd of the San Angelo Health Foundation, and Vance Jones of Texas Bank.

Roscoe D. Ram is suited up and ready for kickoff.Roscoe D. Ram is suited up and ready for kickoff.“Angelo State leadership had a great vision of how to build a winning program that would not only win games, but would leave an impact on the entire student population, fellow alumni and our community,” said Jamie Akin, executive director of the ASU Office of Development. “Once we shared the vision, our loyal donors agreed and wanted to become involved in making it a reality. Together, we have made history at Angelo State and changed the excitement and enthusiasm levels for our athletic programs.”

As game time approached, the Rams football team emerged from the Junell Center, walked out onto the bright green artificial turf emblazoned with blue and gold, and then ran through a spirit line that stretched to the center of the field. The stands were full, and the crowd was loud and proud.

The Rams did their part by handily winning their first game on home turf, 38-6, over Western State. They went on to claim the Lone Star Conference Playoff Championship and advance to the second round of the NCAA Division II playoffs. It was their best season since 1997 and it was, indeed, a heck of a year.

Now, after more than a year of football and track and field events, facilities improvement will continue. When the 2015 football season concludes, the west-side concession area and press box will be renovated with upgrades to communications equipment and improved access for media and coaches.

The work for the team and fans is just beginning. As Wagner said, “We are constantly looking to make it more of a home field advantage, and I hope that our fans will continue to help us in accomplishing that goal.”

  • Becky Brackin

    Becky Brackin

    Becky Brackin is the director of the Office of Communications and Marketing at Angelo State University.
    E-mail Becky at rebekah.brackin@angelo.edu.