Filed Under Sports

Mackay Field and Stadium

Home to the university's athletic facilities from 1909 to 1966

Mackay Field and Mackay Stadium were made possible through the extensive generosity of Clarence Mackay, son and heir of Comstock silver baron John Mackay. In 1908, the same year that he provided funding for the Mackay School of Mines, the John Mackay statue, and the university quad, Clarence Mackay turned toward improving the campus athletic facilities.

Prior to this, those facilities had consisted of a gymnasium, located on the current site of the Ansari Business Building, and Evans Field, a natural hollow to its northeast rented from J.N. Evans, where football games were played. Built in 1896, the gymnasium served as a physical education facility, dance pavilion, and auditorium, and allowed the University of Nevada to be competitive in intercollegiate sports for the first time. It was home to the 1899 women's indoor basketball team, which secured the first real intercollegiate victory won by a University of Nevada team.

In 1908, Clarence Mackay purchased Evans Field and deeded it to the university, and paid for the construction of the Mackay Stadium to provide a better facility for hosting sports practices and games for such sports as football, rugby, and track and field. The stadium had an oval, quarter-mile cinder track surrounding a new and improved football field, and rows of concrete bleachers that could seat 2,700 people. The stadium won praise as a sign of the University's continued growth and dedication to a quality sports program.

When the University of Nevada football team played their first game in Mackay Stadium on dedication day, Saturday, October 23, 1909, it was considered one of the finest athletic facilities on the west coast of the United States. In 1910, a two-story brick building known as the Training Quarters was completed beside the field, to allow University of Nevada teams to train nearby.

A newer and larger Mackay Stadium was constructed north of the older field in 1966. The location of the former athletic field and stadium is now known as Hilliard Plaza or Hilliard Quad, and is surrounded by the Ansari Business Building, Mack Social Sciences Building, Schulich Lecture Hall, the Chemistry Building, the Leifson Physics building, and the Reynolds School of Journalism. A plaque commemorating the stadium can be found on a rock in the north-center of the plaza.

Video

Football at Mackay Field Historical footage of football filmed by Ned Westover in 1937. Creator: Amanda Buell Date: 1937
Student acrobats at Mackay Field, 1937 Acrobatics on Mackay Field filmed by Ned Westover in 1937. Creator: Amanda Buell Date: 1937
Mackay Field A compilation of historical images of Mackay Field. Source: University Archives, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries Creator: Amanda Buell
Rugby and football on Mackay Field A compilation of historic images of rugby and football on Mackay Field. Source: University Archives, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries Creator: Amanda Buell
Track and Field events A compilation of historical images of track and field on Mackay Field. Source: University Archives, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries Creator: Amanda Buell
Women's field hockey at Mackay Field A compilation of historical images of women's field hockey on Mackay Field. Source: University Archives, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries Creator: Amanda Buell

Images

Homecoming, 1926
Homecoming, 1926 The 1926 Homecoming football game, University of Nevada v. St. Mary's. Rows of parked cars are in the foreground. Players are at edge of Mackay Field, near the 50-yard line. Source: University Archives, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries Creator: Keith Scott and John Babcock of Jewel Studio Date: 1926
Under construction
Under construction Training Quarters building under construction, ca. 1909. Source: University Archives, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries Date: ca. 1909
Mackay Training Quarters
Mackay Training Quarters The Mackay Training Quarters stood beside Mackay Field from 1910-1965. Source: University Archives, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries
Gymnasium on the hill
Gymnasium on the hill The historic gymnasium stood from 1896-1964. It was built after a series of fundraisers, enabling university to participate in intramural sports in its early years and was home to many special events such as performances, sports, and commencement. The hollow behind the gymnasium, Evans Field, was developed as a football field and later became the first Mackay Field and Stadium. Source: University Archives, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries
Baseball team
Baseball team The Baseball team poses in front of Mackay Training Quarters, ca. 1911. Source: University Archives, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries Creator: Dana Photo Date: ca. 1911
Runners on the track
Runners on the track Runners approach the tape at the finish line during a high school track meet at the University of Nevada, 1911. Source: University Archives, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries Date: 1911
Women's field hockey
Women's field hockey The women's varsity field hockey team practices on Mackay Field, 1925. Source: University Archives, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries Date: 1925
High jump
High jump The University of Nevada track team perform the high jump at a track meet in 1940. Source: University Archives, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries Date: 1940
Football
Football Football with the Mackay Training Quarters in the background in 1952. Source: University Archives, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries Date: 1952
Football team, 1954
Football team, 1954 University of Nevada football Wolf Pack opens its 1954 season entertaining the San Francisco State Gators at Mackay Stadium. Members of the squad are, top row, left to right; Bob Ferrari, John Mayerhoff, Buddy Piazzo, Jim Wittenberg, Bill Howton, Walt Ryals, Dick Bankofier, George Ball, Jim Thornton, Chuck Harrison, Phil Hatch, Jack Hogan, Mike Marfisi. Middle row, left to right are: Feffler, John Scrivani, Ed Jesse, Frank Sullivan, Otis Blankenship, Dave Ryan, Jim Fast, Mike Leslie, Jerry Booth, Joe Viani, Boyce Ford. Bottom row, left to right; Lee Schroder, Ken Fujii, Bob Litton, Jim Chapman, Frank Garcia, Jim Baker, George Mross, Floyd Justus and Jim Wright. Source: University Archives, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries Date: 1954
Empty stadium, 1960s
Empty stadium, 1960s Mackay stadium as it stood in the 1960s. The Virginia Street Gymnasium and Lincoln Hall are visible behind the stadium. Source: University Archives, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries Date: 1960s
Marching band
Marching band University of Nevada marching band and head majorette in the fall of 1962. Source: University Archives, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries Creator: T.J. "Doc" Kaminski, University News Service Date: 1962
Governor's Day protest, 1970
Governor's Day protest, 1970 Students on Mackay Field protest the killings at Kent State University during Governor's Day in 1970. ROTC cadets are in the foreground. Source: University Archives, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries Date: 1970
Hilliard Plaza, 2004
Hilliard Plaza, 2004 The former site of Mackay Stadium and Field later became known as Hilliard Plaza, an open space surrounded by campus buildings. The newer Mackay Stadium, built in 1966, can be seen in the background in this 2004 photograph. Source: Special Collections, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries Creator: Theresa Danna-Douglas Date: 2004

Location

Metadata

Amanda Buell and Reno Historical Team, “Mackay Field and Stadium,” Reno Historical, accessed June 14, 2024, https://renohistorical.org/items/show/76.