Helen & Leonard Moretz Stadium
Originally constructed in 1924 for the Lenoir-Rhyne football program, the Helen & Leonard Moretz Stadium was initially known as just the Moretz Stadium. In 1989, the stadium was renamed to honor Helen and Leonard, two long-time Lenoir-Rhyne supporters. The stadium is the fourth-oldest stadium that has been in continuous use in NCAA Division II. In 2019, the university hired the Taylor and Viola Structural Engineers of Hickory to assess the integrity of the stadium, and the home side seating was demolished to address safety concerns. Temporary bleachers were used for the 2019 season. The university's current plan is to construct permanent seating for the 2020 season.
Backstory and Context
Moretz Stadium opened in 1924 and was home to the Lenoir-Rhyne football and baseball programs until a baseball field was constructed. It is the fourth-oldest stadium in continuous use in the NCAA Division II and one of the oldest in the country. The stadium was the site for the NAIA national seminal football game in 1960, which the Lenoir-Rhyne Bears won. Ultimately, the Bears won their first and only national championship that same year. The Moretz Stadium also housed the 1962 NAIA national semifinal game and a 2013 NCAA Division II semifinal game. Additionally, the stadium has hosted seven NCAA football playoff games, including two from the 2018 season.
Though at one point the stadium's capactiy was 9,500 after several renovations, a section of the visitors' seating was removed after the 1982 season, which lowered the maximum capacity to 8,500. In 1989, the stadium was renamed the Helen and Leonard Moretz Stadium to honor two long-time Lenoir-Rhyne supporters. Before the 2011 season, the university added a Model 3680 LED Football Scoreboard, that was built by Electro-Mech. In 2015, the university installed FieldTurf and a new drainage system as part of a $1.1 million dollar project.
In 2019, the university hired the Taylor and Viola Structural Engineers of Hickory to assess the integrity of the stadium, and the home side seating was demolished to address safety concerns. Temporary bleachers were used for the 2019 season. The university's current plan is to construct permanent seating for the 2020 season and to maintain the integrity of the stadium for future generations.
Athletic Facilities, Lenoir-Rhyne University Athletics. Accessed December 3rd 2019. https://lrbears.com/sports/2016/12/14/athletic-facilities.aspx.
Home seats to be demolished at Lenoir-Rhyne football stadium; safety concerns cited, Hickory Daily Record. November 8th 2019. Accessed December 3rd 2019. https://www.hickoryrecord.com/news/local/home-seats-to-be-demolished-at-lenoir-rhyne-football-stadium/article_e8719684-a18f-11e9-b66f-ff341a490740.html.