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  • Richard Smith

Benjamin Humphreys McGee Field at Eugene O. Harris Stadium – Sewanee Tigers


Photos by Richard Smith, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.43

Benjamin Humphreys McGee Field at Eugene O. Harris Stadium Florida Ave Sewanee, TN 37375



Year Opened: 1891

Capacity: 3,000

 

The South’s Oldest College Football Field


Sewanee’s McGee Field is the South’s oldest college football field in its original location, and the fourth oldest in the nation. In the first game ever played there, with the field then called Hardee Field, on November 7, 1891, Sewanee lost to Vanderbilt, 22-0. In 1897, Sewanee held John Heisman’s Auburn Tigers to a scoreless tie on this spot.


The most famous football team at Sewanee was the 1899 team. With just 13 players, the team known as the “Iron Men” had a six-day road trip with five shutout wins over Texas A&M, Texas, Tulane, LSU, and Ole Miss. Sports Writer Grantland Rice called the group “the most durable football team I ever saw.”


McGee Field is the home of the Sewanee Tigers football and lacrosse teams and was dedicated with its current name during homecoming on October 22, 1977. Before then the stadium was known as Hardee Field, named for Lt. General William J. Hardee of the Confederate States of America. The stadium itself was named for Eugene O. Harris in November, 1957.


Sewanee was a charter member of the Southeastern Conference upon its formation in 1932. Currently they participate at the Division III level in the Southern Athletic Association offering 11 varsity sports for men and 13 for women.


Sewanee has produced 26 Rhodes Scholars, which puts them in the top four nationally among American liberal arts colleges. It is owned by 28 southern dioceses of the Episcopal Church. The full name of the school is Sewanee: The University of the South.


Food & Beverage 4

There is a simple food stand behind the grandstand. The offerings are simple hot dogs and burgers, but the prices are cheap.


There may also be a food truck in the same general area, such as the Shenanigan’s truck that was there when we attended the game. Their grilled cheese is an excellent sandwich.


Atmosphere 3

The football team has not been great over the last few years but the school and its supporters have a great deal of school pride and offer a good small ball atmosphere.


The stadium has a main grandstand along the home side that is made up of two newer metal bleachers, as well as a historic stone grandstand. There is also a small visitor stand on the opposite side of the field.


You will see the “Yea Sewanee’s Right” slogan on the press box and may wonder what that is all about. You will also likely to hear some of the louder students chanting this as well as part of a longer team chant : “Rip `em up! Tear `em up! Leave `em in a lurch. Down with the heathen. Up with the Church. Yea, Sewanee’s Right!”


Neighborhood 5

Sewanee, Tennessee is a small town with a population of 2,311. The town and the university is all the same place. U.S. Route 41A and Tennessee State Route 56 connects the community with Monteagle to the east. Monteagle is located along Interstate 24 between Chattanooga and Nashville.


There are just a few restaurants in Sewanee as well as a few others in Monteagle.


Fans 3

The fans tend to be either older alumni or the younger college students. The students do seem to be less interested in the game and more interested in looking forward to the next party. Of course, that may be the case at many schools, but it was very much evident during our visit.


Access 4

Sewanee can feel pretty isolated as it is top of their mountain. But realistically it is not far from Nashville, Chattanooga or even northern Alabama.


Parking is not going to be a major problem and traffic should be reasonably easy to navigate.


Return on Investment 4

Games are now free, as they used to charge for attending the game, but have chosen to remove that from the experience. The school is now charging for close to the field parking, as well as using the nearby tailgate lots.


Extras 3

The traditions of the University of the South, as represented by its long football history or the “Yea, Sewanee’s Right” chant is a great extra all on its own. Make sure to look at the stone markings acknowledging the 1899 team past the one end zone.


Drive or walk around the very pretty campus before the game. The school has one of the best looking college campuses that you may ever encounter.


All Saints’ Chapel is an amazingly beautiful building. Opened in 1910, the building also has some amazing stained glasses, including one that depicts a Volkswagen Beetle.


Final Thoughts

The football team at Sewanee may not be on the level of the 1899 team, but the traditions of the team, as well as the historic football grounds, make a visit here a must for any sports fan.

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