Elon University celebrates 20 Years in Rhodes Stadium

During its game against Wofford College to open the football season on Saturday, the university will celebrated 20 years in the stadium made possible through a lead gift from Dusty and Peggy Rhodes.

On Saturday, the Elon Athletics Department celebrated the 20th anniversary of Rhodes Stadium, the university’s on-campus football stadium that opened in September 2001.

Rhodes Stadium was the result of years of planning and fundraising by the Elon community, with a lead gift by Warren G. “Dusty” Rhodes and his wife, Peggy, in honor of their family. Dusty Rhodes is an Elon University life trustee and the couple still lives close to campus. Several  members of the Rhodes family will be in attendance and recognized at the celebration.

“We didn’t provide the lead gift for ourselves,” Dusty Rhodes said earlier this week. “We did this for the Elon supporters. Even though I can’t be at every game, I look at the attendance every week and I’m very happy for the support of the program and the stadium.”

The video tribute below was played during the first media timeout during the game to honor the support of the Rhodes family for Elon that made its signature stadium possible.

The first game at Rhodes Stadium, held on Sept. 22, 2001, against North Carolina A&T State University, ended a 92-year football “road trip.” Elon had played its home games four miles from campus since 1949, competing at Burlington’s Williams High School Memorial Stadium.

Dusty and Peggy Rhodes pictured at the stadium that bears their name when Rhodes Stadium was preparing to open.

“I thought that we need to have our own facility,” Rhodes said. “So I went ahead and pursued that challenge. I was happy that I could work with Bill Loy and envision a stadium on that old farm property. That’s what Elon really needed.”

Rhodes Stadium is nestled in a wooded setting with brick and wrought iron construction, creating a classic collegiate atmosphere. Alumni Field house, which opened in 2011, stands at the north end of the stadium, opposite Theos Arch, which is the stadium entrance overlooking the south end zone.

Rhodes Stadium has a capacity of 14,000, with all seats close to the action. Restrooms and concessions are plentiful and the two-story Woods Center press box includes suites for private gatherings, along with fully-wired facilities for print and broadcast media. Every feature of the stadium and its surroundings fit the character of Elon’s campus.

An aerial view of Rhodes Stadium when it was under construction.

When the stadium opened, Elon also introduced a new marching band, The Fire of the Carolinas. The band continues to march today, providing an atmosphere that makes Elon gameday special.

Since the opening of Rhodes Stadium, Elon has seen many highlights. The Phoenix have made the FCS playoffs three times since 2001, hosting a 2017 postseason game against Furman. On Nov. 14, 2009, Rhodes Stadium saw the largest crowd in stadium history, a total of 14,167 fans as Elon hosted Appalachian State. The stadium has also hosted soccer and lacrosse games.

Numbers To Know

16 – Feet below ground level sits the playing field, with a sophisticated turf, drainage and irrigation system
102 – Tons of steel to build Rhodes Stadium
5,550 – Cubic yards of concrete to build Rhodes Stadium
14,167 – The largest crowd in stadium history
25,000 – Yards of imported hand rock to build the stadium
106,000 – Square feet of playing surface
260,000 – Bricks used to build Rhodes Stadium