The old Fairgrounds Stadium will be demolished in the near future if the Kentucky General Assembly gives its blessing for a new amphitheater on the site. Waiting on the legislators to approve anything in Louisville is always a cliffhanger, even if money has already been raised for the effort.
Lots of memories from that stadium. Our seats were positioned behind a post that literally obstructed our view of anything between the 40-yard lines. The roof reminded you that it was really just a converted baseball stadium, but it was a godsend on hot days or if it happened to be raining or snowing. The covered end of the stadium also made it hard on opposing quarterbacks, especially when they had their backs to the original Crunch Zone.
Remember, too, predicting to my eventual wife on our first date that U of L would do a fake punt in that game again Memphis in 1972. They faked and scored from about 59 yards out, a John Madeya pass play. She looked at me in awe. She was also impressed that we could get good seats. In those days, seats were plentiful and anybody could sit wherever they wanted. More points for me.
There were some memorable games there, too, including a 41-10 shellacking of the Texas Longhorns in 1993. Sitting behind some delirious fans that day were a mom and dad with two kids, all of them wearing Texas shirts. Kinda felt sorry for them. The last minute 30-28 win over Virginia in 1988 ranked right up there with the best, never heard it so loud at Fairgrounds Stadium. The win over West Virginia, 9-7, was a thrill as well. A 26-14 victory over Illinois would be our only win in Cooper’s last year in 1997, a 1-10 season, so we savored that one.
That’s where our program came from. Our roots, we should not forget them. People who endured those years should be considered charter fans. Schnellenberger came along and inspired them to raise their expectations. They made possible what we all enjoy today, one great football stadium.
One would hope the Fairgrounds Stadium officials will make it possible for fans to acquire the old chair seats from the place. From those seats, we could never have imagined just how far the program could have advanced in a few short years in a new venue. We enjoyed the view, though, even if was partially obstructed.
My wife says if we got one of the chairs, it would go behind the post in the basement.