Memorial Stadium

Recognized as the first stadium built on a college campus west of the Mississippi River, David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium is the seventh oldest collegiate stadium in the nation as Kansas prepares for its 101st season of football. Located at the north base of Mt. Oread at 11th and Maine streets in Lawrence, it has a capacity of 47,000.

In recent years, the stadium complex has been the focus of major renovations with more than $30 million in improvements completed.

Construction projects at the stadium have touched on improvements for fans, players and coaches in all areas of the complex:

  • The installation of permanent lights in 1997;
  • Infrastructure repairs and a new concourse throughout the lower level with new restrooms and concession areas in 1998;
  • A new home lockerroom, a pressbox which is three times larger than its predecessor, an elevator and the addition of 36 scholarship suites in 1999;
  • A new MegaVision video board and the resurfacing of the track in 1999;
  • The addition of a new artificial surface in 2000 and an upgrade of the surface in 2009.

David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium is dedicated to the University of Kansas students who fought and died in World War I.

After playing its first two years of intercollegiate football (1890-91) in old Central Park on Massachusetts Street, Kansas built its first football field in 1892. It was called McCook Field and was named for Colonel John McCook who donated $2,500 to trigger a building fund drive.

Like most stadiums of those early days, it was nothing more than a set of wooden stands bordering each side of the field. It was laid out east and west on a site adjacent to the present David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. In fact, the horseshoe of David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium covers much of old McCook Field. The east end zone of the original field was 400 feet from Mississippi Street and was bounded on the south by McCook Street. At that time McCook Street extended from Mississippi to Maine Street cutting directly through the present-day stadium.

Kansas played its first game on McCook Field on Oct. 27, 1892, defeating Illinois, 26-4. Kansas continued to compete at McCook Field until 1920 when Jayhawk fans, students and faculty began a drive for a new facility. The idea of a new stadium came on the heels of a 20-20 tie with Nebraska at McCook Field in 1920.

Kansas Jayhawks

Coaching in what would be his first and only season, Dr. F.C. “Phog” Allen directed Kansas to the tie after trailing 20-0 at halftime. Although Allen would go on to gain greater fame as a basketball coach, the idea to build a new football stadium was just one of his many innovations at Kansas.

On the Monday following the game, fans, students and faculty gathered to celebrate the comeback. In mass, more than $200,000 was pledged to build a “modern” concrete structure. Allen envisioned a horseshoe shaped stadium, and, under his direction, construction began immediately.

The Jayhawks moved into David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium in 1921 and defeated Kansas State 21-7 on October 29, before 5,160 fans. When the stadium opened, the east and west stands were complete with a capacity of 22,000. The final game of the 1921 season saw Kansas down Missouri 15-9 before 15,480 fans in David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium.

In 1925, the east and west sections were extended to the south. Today those additions house the home and visitor lockerrooms. On October 3, 1925, a record crowd of 20,640 watched Kansas defeat Oklahoma A&M, 31-3. In 1927, the north bowl was completed to increase capacity to 35,000. Kansas inaugurated the horseshoe with a 26-6 loss to Wisconsin.

The next addition came in 1963 when the west stands were expanded 26 rows raising the capacity to 44,900. Included in this addition was a new pressbox. Two years later a similar addition was added to the east side bringing the capacity to 51,500.

In 1970, artificial turf replaced the natural grass playing surface. The stadium underwent a major renovation in 1978 totalling approximately $1.8 million. The first phase consisted of repairing concrete from the original construction. The original wooden seats were replaced with aluminum bleachers as well.

The interior of the stadium was also improved in that renovation. Included were new dressing and training rooms for both Kansas and its opponents.

Another phase of the renovation covered the pressbox. New booths for television and radio along with a new photo deck were installed at level eight. Expanded radio booths were built on level seven in addition to a complete refurbishing that included all three levels.
In 1987, the old south endzone bleachers were removed. Permanent bleachers were purchased in 1992 increasing the seating capacity to 50,250.

The third artificial surface in the stadium’s history was added during the summer of 1990 with the installation of an AstroTurf field. That new carpet lasted through the 1999 season. A new surface – known as AstroPlay – was put down just prior to the start of the 2000 season. In August of 2009 the surface was again updated as FieldTurf was laid on the field.

David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium has also been host to a number of community, musical and athletic activities. It is the home of the prestigious Kansas Relays. The eight lane all-weather track was built in 1969, replacing the old cinder surface. In 1984, the track was resurfaced and new jumping pits were constructed. David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium hosted the Big Eight Conference track and field championships in the spring of 1994.

Only six other Division I schools – Cincinnati (1916), Georgia Tech (1913), Mississippi State (1915), Oklahoma State (1920), Washington (1920) and Wisconsin (1917) – currently play in older stadiums. Kansas, Stanford and Tennessee play in stadiums that were opened in 1921.

Notable Moments in David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium History

1919 The University of Kansas initiates the Million Dollar Drive, designed as a fund-raising campaign to secure funds for the construction of a memorial honoring the KU students who died during World War I.
1920 Phog Allen, in his only season as football head coach, rallies his team from a 20-0 halftime deficit to a 20-20 tie against Nebraska. The following Monday, students and faculty gather to celebrate the comeback and more than $200,000 is pledged over a three-day period to build a concrete stadium.
1921 The university observed "Stadium Day" (May 10) and more than 4,000 students showed up to help demolish the old stadium, McCook Field.
1921 In the first game in Kansas Memorial Stadium, KU defeated Kansas State, 21-7 in front of 5,160 fans on Oct. 3, 1921. When the stadium was completed, the east and west stands had a capacity of 22,000.
1922 On Nov. 11, just prior to the KU-Nebraska game, Kansas Memorial Stadium was formally dedicated.
1925 The east and west sections were extended to the south. On Oct. 3, a record crowd of 20,640 watched Kansas defeat Oklahoma A&M, 31-3.
1927 Phog Allen's dream of a horseshoe-type stadium turns into reality as the north bowl is completed and the stadium capacity is increased to 35,000.
1963 The west stands are expanded 26 rows, raising the capacity to 44,900. Also added is a new press box.
1965 The east stands are expanded and capacity grows to 51,500.
1970 The natural grass surface is replaced with artificial turf.
1978 A $1.8 million renovation of Kansas Memorial Stadium includes improvements to repair concrete, replacing the original wooden seats, adding new dressing rooms and additions to the press box. Also, a new artificial turf is added.
1987 The old south end zone bleachers are removed.
1990 A new AstroTurf field is installed in the summer prior to the start of the 1990 season.
1992 Bleachers were temporarily added in the south end zone.
1997 Four standards of permanent lights added.
1999 The completion of a two-year, $26 million, renovation project which included extensive infrastructure repairs, new concourse with improved concession stands and restrooms, new home locker room, a new press box with 36 scholarship suites and expanded facilities for radio, television and print media and a new elevator. In addition, the 1999 season marked the debut of a new video board in the south end zone.
2000 Internet users were able to watch on a user-controlled web cam as the old AstroTurf field was removed and a new AstroPlay surface was installed.
2008 The name Kivisto Field at Kansas Memorial Stadium is added to the historic stadium. In July the Kansas football program moved into the Anderson Family Football Complex, which houses the program's coaches offices, meeting rooms, auditorium, locker room, training room and strength and conditioning areas. Additional seating was added to the south end of the stadium.
2009 The Kansas Memorial Stadium field was resurfaced using FieldTurf.
2014 The historic track surrounding the field at Kansas Memorial Stadium was removed with the completion of Rock Chalk Park and replaced with FieldTurf, making the surface safer for football student-athletes.
2018 Officially renamed to David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium on Sept. 1.

Driving Directions

FROM THE EAST (Kansas City International Airport)

  • Kansas City International Airport is 60 miles to the northeast
  • As you exit the airport, turn right onto I-29 South
  • Continue on I-29 for about 4 miles
  • Turn West on Rte. 152 for about 5 miles
  • Turn South on I-435 to the junction of I-70 West
  • Take I-70 West to Lawrence
  • Exit I-70 at exit No. 204 (East Lawrence)
  • Turn left onto US-40W/US-59 South
  • Turn right onto West 6th Street
  • Turn left onto Tennessee Street
  • Turn right onto West 9th Street
  • Turn left onto Mississippi Street
  • Turn right onto West 11th Street leading to David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium

FROM THE WEST (Forbes Field)

  • Forbes Field is located in Topeka, Kansas, approximately 30 miles west of Lawrence
  • Travel on Highway 75 North to I-470 East
  • I-470 EAST turns into I-70 East
  • Continue to West Lawrence
  • Exit at No. 202, which will lead to Iowa Street
  • Follow Iowa Street
  • Turn left onto West 9th Street
  • Turn right onto Mississippi Street
  • Turn right onto West 11th Street leading to David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium

FROM THE SOUTHWEST (Wichita Mid-Continent Airport)

  • Wichita Mid-Continent Airport is located in Wichita, Kansas, approximately 165 miles southwest of Lawrence
  • As you exit the airport, merge onto Highway 54 East to I-35 North toward El Dorado/Kansas City
  • Continue on I-35 North to I-335 North
  • I-335 becomes I-470 East, which will become I-70
  • Travel on I-70 for 18 miles to the West Lawrence
  • Exit at No. 202, which will lead to Iowa Street
  • Follow Iowa Street
  • Turn left onto West 9th Street
  • Turn right onto Mississippi Street
  • Turn right onto West 11th Street leading to David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium