SIU begin goodbye to McAndrew Stadium

By Gus Bode

One of the oldest buildings on campus is preparing to close its doors.

McAndrew Stadium, the home of the Salukis football team since 1937, will begin its yearlong celebration of its history Saturday, as the Salukis will move on to their new stadium next season.

Athletic Director Mario Moccia said plans have been in development for months to give McAndrew a proper farewell.


‘We have five home games; we are splitting each one into an era. We are hoping to get players from each era to come and watch those games,’ Moccia said. ‘Culminating into the last home game at McAndrew Stadium – (we’re) trying to get everybody back for that one.’

The Salukis will play the first of five home games Saturday against Southwest Baptist University, where Moccia said Tom North, the starting quarterback for the 1937 team, would be honored. North’s son, Allen, will present Moccia with his father’s letterman sweater and jersey at midfield.

Mike Reis, the voice of Saluki football for 30 years, said in a press release fans should be excited for the events.

‘There are a lot of memories stored in this stadium and I know Saluki fans will enjoy reliving them as much as I’ll enjoy helping put them together for the game broadcasts,’ Reis said.

The stadium has been the Salukis home field for 73 years, when it was built for the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression. The stadium was massively renovated during 1973, when new seats were added to both sides of the then 5,000-seat structure.

Moccia said preparations for a new stadium had been in place for years, but were not finalized until he took over in 2006.

‘There was some talk before I came in 2004-2005. We finally hit a streak here recently,’ he said.


One person most familiar with stadium goodbyes is head football coach Dale Lennon.

Lennon said his experience coaching the University of North Dakota when it closed its stadium in 2000 has prepared him for the last season at McAndrew.

‘When we left Memorial Stadium (North Dakota’s home in 2000) we had some celebrations during the season,’ Lennon said. ‘I’m excited to see what the they have stored for this stadium though.’