JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) – On Saturday fans will pack the stands at East Tennessee State University to cheer on the Bucs for their first game on campus in a long time.
Everything is up and ready to go but it was a long process to get here.
Back in September 2014, ETSU President Dr. Brian Noland had this to say, “I can tell you we are going to do everything within our power to have football on campus at East Tennessee State University for the fall of 2017.”
Now, nearly three years later, that dream is becoming a reality.
Last week, ETSU revealed the stadium’s new name the William Greene, Jr. Stadium.
The Bucs will hit the field on their brand-new stadium in just three days.
But the road to get here wasn’t an easy one.
The return of ETSU football has been a topic since Noland became President more than five years ago.
After years of planning, a groundbreaking for the stadium took place in November 2015.
Athletic Director Scott Carter said there’s been a huge transformation in the past two years.
“So many people that care about this program have literally grabbed their piece of the rope and pulled it in the same direction. That’s the way we’ve been able to build this momentum and we’re so thankful to all those involved,” Carter said.
Carter explained what the location of the stadium used to be.
“We had a parking lot area and there’s actually and a sustainability area for recycling and trash pick-up so I think it’s been repurposed very, very well,” he said.
And now, “if you were here just a couple of months ago, to today, the volume of things that have been done from the turf being completed and the video board structure being up,” he explained.
There’s a lot of excitement growing on campus as the countdown the kickoff inches closer.
Senior Morgan Fancher said he is ready for game day.
“Just a lot of pride from the area not only from myself but I can see it in my classmates and my peers,” Fancher said.
The stadium’s horseshoe design will hold nearly 10,000 fans.
It has skyboxes, club seats, mid-field seats and a standing room only section.
The nearly $26-million project was brought to life thanks to private donors, money from the skyboxes and premium seating, and student fees.
“None of this happens without the students,” Carter said.
And now all that’s left to do is fill the stadium for the first football game to take place on campus in nearly 14 years.
“I think it’s going to be an exciting and emotional time for a lot of people,” said Carter.
Tickets are sold out to the public for the game. But for more information on future games, visit etsubucs.com.
The Bucs also have a “game time mobile app” that will give you parking information, game times, schedules and much more. It’s available on the app store.
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