College Football is Back!

Whether you’re a Seminole, Gator, Hurricane, Rattler, Bull or rooting for another Florida team, the start of college football season is a magical time of year! Pack your coolers because we’re tailgating through some football history…

University of Florida football team, Gainesville, ca. 1915

University of Florida football team, Gainesville, ca. 1915

University of Miami football player shaking an opponent's hand, Coral Gables, ca. 1926

University of Miami football player shaking an opponent’s hand, Coral Gables, ca. 1926

University of Miami football player, Coral Gables, ca. 1926

University of Miami football player, Coral Gables, ca. 1926

University of Florida vs. University of Georgia, Gainesville, 1931

University of Florida vs. University of Georgia, Gainesville, 1931

First football team at co-ed Florida State University, Tallahassee, 1947

First football team at co-ed Florida State University, Tallahassee, 1947

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University head coach Jake Gaither with one of his players at practice, Tallahassee, 1953

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University head coach Jake Gaither with one of his players at practice, Tallahassee, 1953

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University football team, Tallahassee, 1953

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University football team, Tallahassee, 1953

Florida State University halfback Burt Reynolds, Tallahassee, 1954

Florida State University halfback Burt Reynolds, Tallahassee, 1954

Right to left: University of Miami Head Coach Howard Schnellenberger, UM mascot "Sebastian the Ibis," and Don Works, Fort Lauderdale, 1981

Right to left: University of Miami Head Coach Howard Schnellenberger, UM mascot “Sebastian the Ibis,” and Don Works, Fort Lauderdale, 1981

Florida State University cornerback Deion Sanders, Tallahassee, ca. 1988

Florida State University cornerback Deion Sanders, Tallahassee, ca. 1988

Florida State University head coach Bobby Bowden relaxing at Doak Campbell Stadium with the Heisman trophy awarded to Charlie Ward, Tallahassee, 1993

Florida State University head coach Bobby Bowden relaxing at Doak Campbell Stadium with the Heisman trophy awarded to Charlie Ward, Tallahassee, 1993

From Centennial Field to Doak Campbell Stadium

In 1947, the Florida State College for Women (FSCW) became the coeducational Florida State University (FSU). When men enrolled in Tallahassee for the first time in over 40 years, plans emerged to field a football team as soon as possible.

Florida State University’s football team (1947)

Florida State University’s football team (1947)

Until 1950, FSU played its home football games at Centennial Field on South Monroe Street, near the State Capitol Building in Tallahassee. Dubbed the “Bleacher Bowl,” Centennial Field hosted baseball and high school football games prior the late 1940s.

Leon High School football game at Centennial Field (1920s)

Leon High School football game at Centennial Field (1920s)

In order to prepare Centennial Field for college football, the City of Tallahassee pledged $14,000 to purchase 3,000 portable bleachers. The price of admission during FSU’s inaugural season: $2.40 for reserved seating; $1.80 for general admission. Fans could opt to purchase season tickets at a cost of $7.20.

Softball game between the Governor's staff and Legislative staff at Centennial Field: Tallahassee, Florida (1968)

Softball game between the Governor’s staff and Legislative staff at Centennial Field: Tallahassee, Florida (1968)

After FSU moved to Doak Campbell, Centennial Field hosted occasional sporting events. The photo above shows action from a softball game between the Governor’s staff and the Legislative staff in 1968.

FSU played its first game at Doak Campbell Stadium on October 8, 1950.

Doak Campbell Stadium during dedication football game (1950)

Doak Campbell Stadium during dedication football game (1950)

The former site of Centennial Field is currently being developed by the City of Tallahassee, and will become part of Cascades Park.

Construction at Centennial Field at Cascades Park (2011)

Construction at Centennial Field at Cascades Park (2011)