Yale bowl celebrates 100th birthday

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Photo by Maria Zepeda.

In 1914, what was then the largest stadium since the Roman Coliseum was built in New Haven, Conn.

This year, the Yale Bowl will celebrate its 100th birthday with season-long events, festivities and attractions.

Yale athletics administrators, committees and alumni have been working on designing and preparing the celebration of the Yale Bowl for nearly a year and a half. The 100th anniversary committee has cooked up several ways to make the honoring of the Yale Bowl both memorable and educational, according to Pat O’Neil, associate athletic director marketing and licensing. Above all, however, Yale is working to augment enthusiasm about the Yale athletic tradition.

“We’re looking at how to get people excited about the 100-year celebration,” Director of Athletics Tom Beckett said. “We’re going to do any number of things with artifacts from the past, including bringing out the Heisman trophy and reconnecting people with the 100-year history of the Bowl, and at the same time honor the present.”

Displaying the Heisman — which was won by quarterback Clint Frank ’38 in 1937 one year after end Larry Kelley ’37 brought home the second-ever Heisman — will certainly attract attention, especially for all six home games of the season — but the Bulldogs marketing team realized that there needed to be an attractive location to exhibit it.

O’Neil worked with Webster Bank, a Waterbury, Conn.-founded bank, to create an exhibition center on game days called “The Yale Bowl 100 Tent.”

The tent, which will likely be located near concessions outside the Yale Bowl, will be part of the committee’s aim to create a plaza-like atmosphere where fans can come to learn about the past, present and future of Yale Athletics, according to associate athletics director of sports publicity Steve Conn.

“Fans will be able to come through and see history, memorabilia and buy 100th anniversary logo material as well as have pictures taken with Heisman trophies,” Conn said.

The tent will not just be on display for the home opener against Lehigh on Sept. 20, but instead will remain a part of the Yale Football game day experience for the entire season. Additionally, athletic administrators have mentioned the possibility of a 100 Tent kick-off party on Sept. 18.

According to athletic administrators, the goal of the tent is to give an educational experience about the storied history of Yale football and the Bowl.

“The tent [will] be a place where no matter your age, fans [will] walk away from it with a better understanding of the Bowl’s impact on sports in this country,” O’Neil said. “With displays, photos and artifacts, we hope fans come in during game day and leave saying, ‘I didn’t know the Yale Bowl…’”

Yale will face several Ivy League opponents in the Yale Bowl this year, including Princeton, Penn and Dartmouth. However, Yale will also take on historic rival Army on Sept. 27 — marking the first time Yale has played an Football Bowl Subdivision team since 1998.

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