Marquette University Stadium, built on October 18, 1924, and located at 35th and Clybourn, was used for football and track by both Marquette University and Marquette University High School. Although the intent was to create a stadium on par with the likes of Notre Dame and Ohio State, those plans didn’t come to fruition, as the lack of interest in the football team made expansion of the stadium financially unrealistic. When the football team was finally disbanded in 1960, the stadium began to fall into disrepair. In 1976, the stadium’s bleachers and locker rooms were torn down, leaving only the track and field section, which was refurbished in 1998 by Marquette University High School and renamed Quad Park.
Marquette University stadium was built
so that Marquette’s football team would have a stadium that was on par with the
stadiums of Notre Dame and Ohio State. The Marquette University Alumni
Association decided to buy eight acres of land from the city of Milwaukee at
West 35th and Clybourn for $40,000. The steel and concrete stadium
was initially built to accommodate 20,000 people with bleachers to the east and
west of the fields with plans to expand it to 40,000. The stadium opened on
October 18, 1924 but despite the success of the football team during the 1920s,
attendance never warranted the expansion.
December 9, 1960 Marquette University decided to discontinue the football
program due to a series of losing seasons and financial difficulties. After the
football program was shut down, Marquette rented out the stadium to various
organizations including University of Wisconsin--Milwaukee’s football team. In
1976, due to more financial difficulties, the stadium was demolished, which
left only the track and field section. The site was used sparingly until 1998
when Marquette University High School bought the site and turned it into the
Quad Park sports complex for soccer and track and field, which is now located
at 38th and Clybourn.
Marquette University’s football teams during the 1920s were known as the “Golden
Avalanche.” They were undefeated from 1922-1924 and featured a crushing defense
that earned them their nickname. In 1936, the Marquette football team was
invited to play in the first Cotton Bowl. They were defeated 16-6 by TCU, led
by quarterback Sammy Baugh, the future NFL Hall of Famer. Notable Marquette
University football team alums include LaVern Dilweg, who played for the Green
Bay Packers from 1927-1934 and was a Congressman from 1943-1945, and Gene
Ronzani, who became the second head coach of the Green Bay Packers in 1950.
The stadium was also the home track of Ralph
Metcalfe, one of the fastest humans on Earth during the 1930s. Metcalfe, who
studied at Marquette from 1932-1936, was also the football team’s water boy. As
the star of the track and field team, he broke numerous NCAA and Marquette
records, including records in 100 meter and 200 meter sprints. During his time
at Marquette, Metcalfe raced against many great track stars, the greatest being
Jesse Owens of Ohio State, who he beat in the 100 meter dash at the 1934 AAU
national championship held at Marquette Stadium. Metcalfe was also a decorated
Olympian and raced with Owens in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, finishing second
to Owens in the 100 yard dash.