What is now Neyland Stadium began in 1919 when Col. W.S. Shields, a UT Trustee and president of Knoxville's National Bank donated enough money to prepare and equip an athletic field. So, upon completion in 1921, it was named in honor of Mr. Shields and his wife, Mrs. Alice Watkins-Shields.
As the stands around the field grew, it came to bear the name of the distinguished UT head coach, General Robert R. Neyland. General Neyland, who began his tenure as head coach in 1929, was the man most responsible for the development of the stadium. Neyland was head coach from 1926-1952, but had 2 interruptions for military service. In his first dynasty, he captured 2 SEC Championships and had an overall record of 76-7-5 before he was called to serve with the Army in Panama in 1935. When he returned in 1936, he quickly rebuilt his Tennessee powerhouse and went undefeated from 1938-1940. But Neyland was called to serve again in World War II, where he earned the right to retire and devote the rest of his life to UT. He produced a National Championship team in 1951 and 3 straight major bowls. He retired as head coach in 1952 due to bad health but remained as athletic director for ten years until his death in 1962. Overall he led the Vols to 173 wins, 31 losses, and 12 ties as coach.
Under Neyland, the stadium underwent 6 expansions, and at the time of his death seated 52,227 spectators with the addition of an upper deck on the west side. By 1980, the upper deck would stretch all the way to the east side of the stadium, and seat over 91,000 fans. In 1987, a huge press box was built that would span the length of the field on the west side. Finally, in 1996, an upper deck was built on the north side, completing all possible expansion, and increasing capacity to 102,544, surpassing Michigan Stadium as the largest College Football stadium by a mere 43 seats. But not for long. As soon as the yanks up in Michigan found out they were second to a Southern team, they prepared plans to expand their stadium. So, this may be the last year Vol fans can brag about having the biggest stadium in College Football. At least there won't be any empty seats in our stadium on Saturdays.
CAPACITY: 102,544 - Nation's largest college football stadium. Originally seated 3,200 in 1921, and has undergone 13 additions since then to reach its current size.
LARGEST ATTENDANCE: 107,608 - September 21, 1996 - Florida 35, Tennessee 29.
FIRST GAME AS NEYLAND STADIUM: October 20, 1962 - Alabama 27, Tennessee 7.
FIRST GAME ON ARTIFICIAL TURF: September 14, 1968 - Tennessee 17, Georgia 17.
FIRST NIGHT GAME: September 16, 1972 - Tennessee 28, Penn State 21.
CONSECUTIVE WINS AT HOME: 30, from December 8, 1928 with a 13-12 win over Florida until October 21, 1933 with a 12-6 loss to Alabama.
CONSECUTIVE LOSSES AT HOME: 4, from November 13, 1954 with a 14-0 loss to Florida until October 8, 1955 with a 13-0 win over Chattanooga.