The 100 Moments of TSU Athletics presented by Taco Bell® series continues by paying tribute to one of the most recognizable landmarks on Tennessee State's campus.
On Saturday, the TSU Tigers will return to Hale Stadium for the first time since 1998. While playing at LP Filed has been kind to Big Blue these past 13 years, the team will once again be able to hold games on its home campus.
Hale Stadium- affectionately dubbed "The Hole"- has been the true dwelling for Tennessee State football since 1953. Teams coached by the likes of John A. Merritt and Howard Gentry have won 10 championships while playing down in the Hole, and the stadium has been waiting to welcome the Tigers back.
The last time the Tigers stormed the field at Hale Stadium, the team defeated rival Texas Southern 28-14 en route to a 9-3 season and an OVC Championship.
Over the years, games at Hale stadium have been the ultimate in home-field advantage thanks to the intimidating and passionate fans that support Big Blue each hot and humid Saturday. The Hole's confines were only meant to hold 15,000 fans, yet that number has never stopped the TSU faithful from coming out in droves. There have been 20 times when the Hole has exceeded capacity including a game against UT Martin in 1998 where 22,046 showed up to watch the Tigers ground the Sky Hawks 76-0.
The team has rewarded its loyal fans with an all-time 134-27-5 record in games played at the Hole.
The Hole has also housed many legendary players - players such as Joe "747" Adams, Tyrone Butterfield, Richard Dent, Ed "Too Tall" Jones and Rod Reed. The stadium still stands as a monument to those great players, but nothing is stopping the current crop of Tigers from carving their names into the record books as well.
With the much-needed upgrades and additions, the monument has been transformed back into a competitive arena. Rest assured that is exactly the appearance that William J. Hale would have wanted from the site that bears his name. The Hole is no longer a reminder for what once was; after 13 long years it is once again a source of excitement and pride for Big Blue.
To accommodate the momentous occasion, the university will be rolling in more bleachers for every home contest. However, don't expect them to contain Tiger fans. If history has taught us anything it is that fans will come out in record numbers and that the Tigers will have patrons constantly jumping out of their seats.
This season Tennessee State will finally welcome three more opponents into the Hole as a part of the school's centennial celebration. If fans support the team like they used to and the Tigers play like they are accustomed, then those three games may be the first of many more to come.
The 100 Moments of TSU Athletics presented by Taco Bell® highlights some of the greatest moments in honor of Tennessee State's centennial celebration. A new moment will be released each weekday for a total of 100. These moments were chosen by the TSU 100 Moments committee, which consists of alums from various departments. TSU has so many great moments, not all can be represented in these 100.
Sports Information Assistant Alex Mitchell contributed to this article.