When the Frog faithful began to overflow the stands at the team's former home, Clark Field, the TCU Board of Trustees realized that a new stadium was needed for the TCU football program. Thus, the Board of Trustees voted for a new stadium and created the Athletics Committee to study the cost as well as find a way to pay for it.
Momentum for the new stadium hit an all-time high when the Frogs claimed their first Southwest Conference championship on November 30, 1929, when all-conference quarterback Howard Grubbs engineered a late fourth-quarter drive to tie crosstown rival SMU, 7-7. In Francis Schmidt's first season with the Frogs, TCU concluded the season with a 9-0-1 record, and stadium talks began to heat up.
The Athletics Committee recommended that the University begin a "quiet campaign" headed by Fort Worth Star-Telegram owner and publisher Amon G. Carter to raise $150,000 for the stadium that would seat roughly 30,000. The newspaper publisher recommended that Fort Worth residents raise 60 percent of the money for the stadium. Eventually, the sides settled on selling mortgage bonds to construct a $350,000 stadium that would seat 27,000, but could expand to over 60,000.
The TCU Board of Trustees endorsed the settlement, and in 1929, a football stadium began to take shape. Less than one year after beginning construction on the stadium, the Frogs played their first game against the University of Arkansas on October 11, 1930. With Amon G. Carter Stadium at capacity of 22,000, the Frogs defeated the Razorbacks soundly by a 40-0 count, which marked a crowning achievement and the perfect dedicatory battle.
Over the next two decades, several expansions of Amon G. Carter Stadium began to take shape from the end zone to the east grandstand areas. In 1948, construction to east grandstand increased capacity by 8,500 to a total of 30,500 while three years later, 2,500 seats were added to the north end zone to up the total to 33,000. In 1953, the stadium once again expanded to a total capacity of 37,000 following a 4,000-seat expansion to the east grandstands.
Amon G. Carter Stadium reached another milestone in 1956 as a two-level press box and upper deck area was added, which featured a giant 60' x 120' display of the school's logo - the curved Purple and White "TCU." The letters were displayed on the bleacher seats and could be seen when flying over Amon G. Carter Stadium towards the DFW International Airport. When construction was completed in 1956, the official capacity of Amon G. Carter Stadium was 46,083 - over double what it was when originally constructed.
The newest round of construction did not occur for three decades when the seats in the lower grandstands were removed and replaced by aluminum seats in 1985. The upper deck area followed suit in 1991 when all of its seats were replaced by aluminum seats, which actually decreased the attendance of Amon G. Carter Stadium to a total capacity of 44,008. In addition, the original artificial turf was replaced with natural grass prior to the 1992 season.
In the final two decades prior to the complete renovation in the early 2010's, Amon G. Carter Stadium underwent several facelifts in the form of new facility additions that aided in TCU becoming one of college football's premier programs.
The process began in 1996 when the Walsh Physical Performance Complex was constructed at the cost of over $11-million, which included a home to the TCU Sports Medicine Center, football locker room expansion, weight room and equipment room. Dedicated to former TCU trustee - F. Howard Walsh, and his wife, Mary D. Fleming-Walsh - the complex features over 22,182-square-feet and is located just outside the south end zone of Amon G. Carter Stadium.
In 2002, a new scoreboard and video board were installed in the north end zone of Amon G. Carter Stadium following a generous donation by the Dave E. Bloxom Sr. Foundation.
The John S. Justin Athletic Center was also completed in 2002 in the south end zone of Amon G. Carter Stadium. The $7.5-million facility houses offices for all Frog football coaches and staff along with the TCU Athletics Administration. The John S. Justin Athletic Center also contains a video lab, academic learning areas, team meeting rooms and the Encke Heritage Center, which plays home to a vast collection of trophies and other historical athletics memorabilia. Inside of the Encke Heritage Center are the Frogs' two football national championship trophies in addition to Davey O'Brien's 1938 Heisman Trophy and LaDainain Tomlinson's 2000 Doak Walker Award.
The field at Amon G. Carter Stadium was renamed after W.A. "Monty & Tex" Moncrief in 2003 following a $3-million donation to the football program in honor of the legendary oil family and one of the first families of philanthropy in the state of Texas. Also in 2003, Amon G. Carter Stadium became the home of the annual Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl Game.
The first major expansion to Amon G. Carter Stadium in the renovation process came in August 2008, when the 40,000-square-foot Dutch Meyer Athletic Complex and Abe Martin Academic Enhancement Center was constructed. At the cost of $13-million, the newest addition was fully-funded by nine donors and features six luxury suites, 250 club seats, academic and team meeting space as well as a player lounge area. Frog faithful also received a unique view of Amon G. Carter Stadium as the suites are the closest suites to the field in any stadium in the country. With the expansion, the total capacity of Amon G. Carter Stadium was increased to 44,358.
In addition to receiving a brand-new stadium for the 2012 season, TCU football will also benefit from a revamped Walsh Complex featuring a new locker room in addition to an expanded TCU Sports Medicine Center and equipment room. The space for the expansion projects was created following the opening of the new TCU Physical Performance Center in Summer 2011. The two-story, 19,000-square-foot weight room almost tripled the size of the Frogs' previous facility located in the Walsh Complex.
The 2012 season marked the opening of TCU's Amon G. Carter Stadium after a $164 million renovation completely funded through donor support.
On Aug. 16, 2010, TCU announced an initial $105 million renovation of the west side and north end zone of Amon G. Carter Stadium to better enhance the football fan experience, upgrade amenities and transform the historic Fort Worth icon into the "Camden Yards" of collegiate football stadiums. With the addition of the east side renovation one year later, the total cost of the project rose to $164 million.
"We must continually provide students the best possible university experience," TCU chancellor Victor J. Boschini Jr. said. "This includes building facilities to support a vibrant living experience and an outstanding learning environment. I am pleased that over the past five years we have successfully raised funds to improve academics, athletics and student living.
"This stadium renovation, which would not have been possible without the generous support of our donors for which we are very grateful, will propel us to yet another level of excellence that will positively impact our university as well as the city of Fort Worth. We also are extremely grateful to the Amon G. Carter Foundation for their initial gift of $15 million that made this entire project possible, one that will result in a significantly improved game day experience for all fans."
Construction began immediately following TCU's final 2010 home game versus San Diego State on Nov. 13, 2010. The historic south tower structure was first removed prior to the implosion of the iconic west side upper deck of the stadium during the morning of Dec. 5, 2010. After construction, Amon G. Carter Stadium will have a seating capacity of 45,000.
"We are very grateful to our donors for making this possible," TCU director of intercollegiate athletics Chris Del Conte said. "Having a first-class stadium with all the modern amenities is key in enhancing the student-athlete experience and providing our community with a fabulous venue to enjoy football games.
"I also would like to thank Chancellor Boschini and our Board of Trustees who are truly the wind beneath our wings on this project. They were behind us every step of the way. Special thanks also go to associate athletics director Davis Babb and head football coach Gary Patterson for their unbelievable fundraising efforts. They are true leaders and team players. We are appreciative of the tremendous support we received on this historic project from TCU and Fort Worth."
TCU began examining the possibility of renovating its stadium in 2006 when Luther King, chairman of TCU's Board of Trustees (BOT), appointed Clarence Scharbauer, vice chair of the BOT, to lead a stadium renovation committee. The committee's invaluable work, along with that of TCU administrators, led to a stadium renovation that will lift the historical icon to a level of national visibility on par with the University's championship-winning football team.
"Having a new stadium will have a great impact on our recruiting efforts," Patterson said. "It helps us take the next step in what we're trying to accomplish as a program, and that's winning a national championship. We want to thank all of our friends for making this stadium possible."
This is the first major renovation to Amon G. Carter Stadium, built in 1930, since the upper deck was added in 1956.
Designed by HKS Sports & Entertainment Group, who most recently completed work on the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, the renovation greatly enhances the fan experience by improving stadium accessibility, seating and views of the playing field.
The renovation consists of:
Upgraded and new concession stands for better access and reduced wait times
Elevators and escalators to better facilitate stadium accessibility and crowd flow
A new, raised seating bowl on the west and north end for enhanced field views
Upgraded and additional men's and women's restrooms
Suites, club seating and lounges on the west side of the stadium
A new press box
Dan Phillips, AIA, senior designer with HKS, said the design references the 1930s style of Southwestern art deco prevalent throughout Fort Worth and the surrounding region.
"Through research, we discovered that Amon G. Carter Stadium's original design intent incorporated this architectural style," Phillips added. "However, it was not fully realized. The new design blends seamlessly with the Meyer-Martin Athletic Complex, the TCU campus and the city of Fort Worth."
Suites and lounges also will reflect the Southwestern art deco as well as the graphics and way-finding signage throughout the stadium. By integrating the University colors, HKS has created a unique look and feel for the renovated Amon G. Carter Stadium. In addition, the north concourse will mirror the south concourse and fans will be able to see the field while walking through either concourse.
"Unlike the majority of major college football facilities in the country, which tuck fan amenities under the seating bowl, the new Amon G. Carter Stadium brings the action on the field into the main concourse - allowing fans to always be connected to the game," Phillips said.