Gene Smith, Athletic Director, (515) 294-0123
Chuck Beddingfield, Athletic Development, (515) 294-5022
Steve Jones, News Service, (515) 294-4778
GRID PRACTICE FIELDS TO BE NAMED FOR JOHNNY MAJORS
AMES, Iowa -- A campaign is under way to raise funds for a new Iowa State University outdoor football practice area named for the coach who took the Cyclones to their first bowl games.
The Johnny Majors Practice Fields honors the coach who led ISU to the 1971 Sun Bowl and 1972 Liberty Bowl. The $2.3 million project on the west side of Jack Trice Stadium will include a 200-yard grass field and an extra-wide, 100-yard artificial turf field.
Dave and Sue McCurry, Coralville, provided the lead gift in the campaign, which has already passed the $1.5 million mark. Dave McCurry was a three-year letterwinner for the Cyclones, playing under Majors from 1970 to '72.
"The practice facility is part of our plan to make the football program more competitive in the Big 12 Conference," said Gene Smith, ISU's athletic director. "The McCurrys wanted to honor Coach Majors for his contributions to the Cyclones. We're very pleased the new practice facility will bear his name."
Majors turned around the Cyclone football program, creating unprecedented excitement for the sport at ISU. Before his arrival, the team had only five winning seasons since World War II. His 1971 squad finished 8-4, losing to Louisiana State in the Sun Bowl. The 1972 team lost by a point to Georgia Tech in the Liberty Bowl. That team gained America's attention by tying defending national champion Nebraska, 23-23.
Majors was at ISU from 1968 to 1972. He went to the University of Pittsburgh in 1973, leading the Panthers to the 1976 national championship.
The practice area is the fourth major project in the stadium area in recent years. The Jacobson Building was constructed and the Olsen Building remodeled in 1996. Also that year, natural grass was installed in the stadium, replacing artificial turf. Last fall, a three-level press box tower was completed.
The practice fields project, scheduled for completion this fall, is funded by private donations.
The project is part of Campaign Destiny: To Become the Best, aligned with Iowa State's strategic plan to become the best land- grant university in the nation. Conducted by the ISU Foundation, the largest campaign in ISU history has a five-year goal to raise $300 million.
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