Saturday, June 25, 2016
LABOR DAY CLASSIC: PVAMU PANTHERS vs. TEXAS SOUTHERN TIGERS
Date: SUNDAY, SEPT. 4, 2016, 5:30 PM
Location: PVAMU, Texas
PRAIRIE VIEW, Texas -- Prairie View A&M University's Blackshear Stadium was in rough shape for as long as Roy Perry can remember.
The wooden benches he sat on as an engineering student in 1978 to watch Panthers football games had not changed much from when the team was in its heyday and won five black college titles between 1953-1964. Perry graduated in 1978 dreaming improvements would someday be made, but after an historic 80-game losing streak from 1989-1998, they never came.
Even when the Panthers program broke the skid of losing seasons in 2007, won a Southwestern Athletic Conference championship in 2009 and made sweeping building improvements campuswide, some fans had to watch games played on a field in disrepair from behind a perimeter fence because the 6,000-seat stadium was at capacity. Perry said Blackshear's appearance never meshed well with the overall beauty of the campus.
"It wasn't much of anything," Perry said. "Kids played in better stadiums at their high schools."
Perry, who now serves as chairman of the Prairie View A&M Foundation, said he watched with joy on Jan. 23 as the tiny stadium was demolished with a few swings of an excavator arm.
With Blackshear gone, the university will finally get what Perry felt the school deserved more than 30 years ago in a $60 million, 15,000-seat football stadium and sports complex, which will open for its first game in September 2016.
The movement to build a new stadium gained momentum in 2009 after Perry and other alumni helped raise $30 million to start the Prairie View A&M Foundation. Shortly after, Prairie View A&M President George Wright said, Perry started beating the drum to raise funds for a new stadium, and the Texas A&M System Board of regents responded.