College Stadium Review: L.T. Smith Stadium

Bowling Green, Kentucky is home to the historic Western Kentucky University. The football team has called Houchens Industried L.T. Smith Stadium home since 1968. Filled to capacity, this outdoor stadium can fit in 22,113 fans, the alumni of this university are strong and make their voices heard. Houchens Industries — a huge grocery chain headquartered in Bowling Green— made a $5 million donation/gift to get the renovation rolling. Because of the gift, the Houchens Industries name was added to the name of the renovated stadium. L.T. Smith spent 49 years coaching the Hilltoppers football team (1920-1968). The stadium was originally named for him in 1968 when it opened.

For many fans, all need need to read is the first item on the list and they will vote this stadium best in the NCAA. Beer is sold on-campus at WKU. The food prices are fair, considering you have a somewhat upgraded list of options compared to stadiums of similar stature. And with a product named the SUPER Nachos, you can’t lose. The options are also realistic to enjoy at your seat and practical for a football game. Sometimes you can offer too much and it becomes impractical. L.T. Smith Stadium gets it right.

Graphic via wkunews

The quality of the sound system inside the stadium is apparent, as the booming voice and blaring music can be heard on the stroll from your car to the entry gate. Once inside, you will be given a healthy dose of that audio that sounded so good from outside the stadium. It may hit some ears with a little more zest than others. The video/scoreboard is a relatively good size by today’s standards. It’s utilized well for game presentation between plays, but there are times when you just want to hear the bands play and not be bothered with a random uncomfortably screaming for the fans to get up and get loud on third down. At the end of the day, the college football game is still recognizable in sight and sound. Marching bands are still visible and audible. Cheerleaders and yell leaders remain visible and audible. The west side of the stadium was added during the 2008 renovations. Club level and skyboxes line the west side, while the east side still holds the press box and the largest section of seating.

Big Red is one of the premier mascots in all of college athletics. It’s not hyperbole to say Big Red has put WKU in the national conscience. They’ve always had a history with NCAA basketball diehards, but he’s put the school on the national and international map. A perennial nominee for the Capital One Mascot Challenge each year, Big Red gives the school a great identity, although his is still debated across the Ohio Valley. He supposedly embodies the spirit of all the fans in one large red “blot” and does a great job of it.

Finally, it is important to note that WKU’s alumni base is strong, and the fans are very knowledgeable. There are schools within an hour’s drive that would kill for the alumni pride and support that WKU possesses. There’s nothing else to say other than this school’s fans, for the most part, cheer for their school over the big state school in Lexington. The previous sentence will make a ton of sense if you’ve ever visited or know anyone that has any connection to the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Come and enjoy a game here – you will not be disappointed.

Graphic via stadiumbleachers


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