ARKADELPHIA, AR - Ushering in a new era of Ouachita Tiger football, demolition of the home football stands at A.U. Williams Field began Friday. The demolition will make way for the new Cliff Harris Stadium to be constructed in time for the fall 2014 football season.
Cliff Harris, the stadium’s namesake, was present to witness the historic moment and to field media interviews. Harris, an All-Conference and All-America safety for the Tigers in the 1960s and All-Pro safety for the Dallas Cowboys in the 1970s, played in six Pro Bowls and five Super Bowls for the Cowboys.
A major donor has provided a lead gift as a matching challenge for the project, with additional funds being solicited through the university’s 100-Yard Campaign. The stadium upgrade will include updated stadium seating, press box, parking lot and related improvements.
The campus community and guests are invited to watch the demolition process. Spectators may park in the lot located across 8th Street from the stadium and gather in the southeast corner of the main stadium parking lot.
A.U. Williams Field, originally constructed on land donated by Hot Springs physician A.U. Williams, dates back more than a century to 1912. The current stadium seating was erected in the early 1960s with expanded seating added in the 1970s. The current playing field will continue to honor Dr. Williams’ gift while the stadium facility will be dedicated in honor of Harris.
“The demolition of our present stadium is truly historic,” said Ouachita President Rex Horne. “While there are many memories that span decades there, few would argue against the need for an improved stadium.”
Citing the stadium’s strategic location next to Highway 7 in Arkadelphia, Dr. Horne added, “Cliff Harris Stadium will be an inviting part of the first sight of our campus. The fact that we can honor Cliff, a tremendous advocate for Ouachita, makes the experience even more meaningful.”
“It is very exciting for Cliff to be here and participate in the demolition as we move into the construction phase of our new football stadium,” noted Athletic Director David Sharp. “Cliff is very deserving of this great honor.”
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