The year 1964 brought many changes to our area, and onlookers in Radford were determined to build a football stadium at the high school.
After a vote for a bond measure was defeated, a small group of citizens organized a private effort to raise money for the project. Friday night, the school celebrated that event.
The construction of a new football stadium became the top priority for the athletics booster club.
The proposed stadium, which included a grandstand, field, permanent seating, regulation 440-yard track with a 220-yard straight away, public restrooms, ticket booths, dressing rooms, landscaping and a chain link fence, was priced at $130,000. The stadium, along with three other projects, was part of a bond vote that failed in the spring of 1965.
Radford Principal Jeff Smith said the late Fred McCoy, along with Charlie Fretwell, C.C. Cunningham, Ralph Corn, Judge W.S. Jordan, Dr. Ron Elswick, Dr. James King, Rudy Edwards, Don Phillips, G.W. Hagy and others kept the dream of a new stadium alive.
“Beginning in the summer of 1965, many Radford residents came together on Saturdays to cut the pine trees on the site of the proposed stadium. Heading this project were John Roane, Guy Spencer and Dan DeVilbiss. The wood from the trees was sold for eight dollars per truckload and RHS students were paid $.75 per hour to help load the wood. By early January of 1966, Radford City Schools Superintendent William H. Cochran was able to report that 80 percent of the tree cutting project had been completed,” Smith said.
In November of 1965, the Booster Club began a house-to-house fundraising campaign which would continue until the stadium was completed in the fall of 1967.
The following year, Radford High School would play all 10 of its football games on the road. The “home” contests were either played at Christiansburg High or Dublin High. Despite being a true road team, the 1966 team coached by Tammy Farnsworth posted a 7-3 record.
On Sept. 6, 1967, the Bobcats took to the new field in a game that was dubbed the “Kiwanis Bowl.” Radford shutout Christiansburg 13-0 in that first contest. Since then, the school and community have joined hands to make sure the field and stadium is kept up.
Over the years, the stadium has undergone several renovations and improvements. The grand stand was redone in 1985 and aluminum seating was added in 1997. In 2004, the field was named after longtime coach Norm Lineburg.
Friday night, the old ball coach was recognized along with a former assistant, Frank Beamer, who went on to coach Virginia Tech.
While no members of the original “stadium committee” are still living, members of their family were also honored at Friday’s celebration.