Shotwell Stadium

Shotwell Stadium
Former names Public Schools Stadium (1959-1960)
Location Abilene, Texas
Coordinates 32°26′01.5″N 99°41′53.5″W / 32.433750°N 99.698194°W / 32.433750; -99.698194Coordinates: 32°26′01.5″N 99°41′53.5″W / 32.433750°N 99.698194°W / 32.433750; -99.698194
Owner Abilene Independent School District
Capacity 15,075
Surface Artificial turf
Opened 1959
Pecan Bowl (1964-68)
Cooper Cougars
Abilene High Eagles
Abilene Christian Wildcats (1959–2016)

Shotwell Stadium is a stadium in Abilene, Texas. It was built in 1959,[1] using Rice Stadium as a model.[2] It was initially named the Public Schools Stadium. The first game played in the Stadium was in the fall of 1959. Shortly after the first season, the stadium was renamed Shotwell Stadium, after the late P.E. “Pete” Shotwell, a longtime football coach at Abilene High School.[3]

Size and uses

Shotwell Stadium is primarily used for American football and soccer. The stadium's two concrete grandstands each has a permanent seating capacity of 7,500 people in an all-bleacher configuration. Several semi-permanent metal bleacher structures are located behind the north end zone, allowing for overflow seating in excess of the facility's 15,000 permanent seats. There are also standing room-only areas at the corners of the stadium, raising total capacity to nearly 20,000.

Shotwell Stadium is the home field of Abilene High School and Cooper High School. The Abilene High/Cooper High rivalry game is played here every year and always fills the stadium.

The stadium has long been home to NCAA football. The Abilene Christian University Wildcats football team, currently a member of NCAA Division I FCS, has played at Shotwell since 1959, but the current 2016 season is the last for the Wildcats at the stadium, as the university plans to open a new on-campus stadium for the 2017 season. With the Wildcat's move to the Southland Conference in the fall of 2013, Shotwell officially became a NCAA Division I stadium.

Shotwell was for many years the "informal" designated site for the six-man football championships of the University Interscholastic League, which governs sports competition among public high schools in Texas (as the majority of six-man schools are in West Texas). In 2010, it was formally designated as the championship site. During 2013-2014 the title games moved to AT&T Stadium but returned in 2015 to Shotwell, as AT&T Stadium was unavailable due to a conflict with a Dallas Cowboys home game.


FieldTurf's newest top-of-the-line product, FieldTurf Revolution, was installed in Spring 2012, replacing the worn SafePlay turf installed a decade earlier. Prior to 2002, Shotwell had natural grass turf.


Shotwell is equipped with Musco lighting, with two light standards on each side of the field. The current lighting system was installed following the collapse of one of the original lighting structures in 2009.

The remnants of the stadium's original lighting design can still be seen today. Four concrete columns rise above each of the main grandstands. The eight columns served as the base of the original stadium light poles.


The longest field goal in the history of all levels of organized football was kicked at Shotwell Stadium. On October 16, 1976, Ove Johannson, the Swedish-born placekicker for Abilene Christian University, kicked a 69-yard field goal against East Texas State in ACU's homecoming win against the Lions. This is currently the record for longest recorded field goal in football history.[4][5]


In the spring of 2002, the Abilene ISD Board of Trustees approved an exclusive vendor contract with Abtex Beverage Corporation, which provided funding for major renovations to the stadium. The initial upgrades included the installation of SafePlay turf, the latest generation of artificial playing surface for athletic fields. The new turf, drain system, access ramps, goalposts, and other changes were completed in late summer of 2002, in time for the 2002 football season. In August 2003, as a result of corporate sponsorship, a state-of-the-art scoreboard with an integrated color animation screen was installed on the north end. The south end scoreboard was upgraded and integrated with the new scoreboard. As a result, Shotwell Stadium became one of only a few high school stadiums in Texas with two scoreboards.[3] Soon after, the parking lots were all paved and the dressing rooms were renovated. A new $479,080 40'-wide, 34'-tall scoreboard featuring a 14'x24' high-definition video screen that displays instant replays, AISD messages and advertising, complete with sound, was installed in 2007. It was installed on the north side of the stadium to replace to scoreboard placed 4 years prior, which had not functioned properly.[6][7]


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