When Florida Atlantic rolls onto the North Texas campus Saturday evening, they will be getting a glimpse of their immediate future.
Apogee Stadium opened on Sept. 10. The $77 million, 30,850-seat on-campus stadium is very similar to FAU’s new $70 million, 30,000-seat stadium that opens on Oct. 15.
The two home games that have been held at Apogee have attracted a total of 49,256 fans, the most in consecutive home games in the program’s 95-year history.
“It is louder, there is more atmosphere, a sense of vitality,” said North Texas Athletic Director Rick Villerreal.
“It really does help everyone at the university. It puts a smile on your face when you walk in. Coaches, players, fans, faculty, everyone,” said North Texas coach Dan McCarney.
North Texas had been on campus at aging Fouts Field, which opened in 1952.
“The stadium we had was antiquated. It had four sets of rest rooms and one permanent concession stand,” Villarreal said. “It was just a hard place to attract people to and hard to entertain them once they came.”
“The old stadium, it was almost depressing. There were no good memories in recent years in that place,” said McCarney, who is in his first year as head coach at North Texas.
Fouts Field was similar to Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, where FAU had played since 2003 and shared it with several high schools who used it as their home stadium.
Apogee Stadium not only is expected to help recruiting, it also helped North Texas hire McCarney, who was an assistant coach at Florida.
“That was something that was really important,” McCarney said about the new stadium. “There is a sense of commitment to the program.”
This is FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger’s final year, and FAU will be hiring a new coach to take over the program.
“FAU is going to have a long list of people interested that job,” McCarney said. “It’s not just the new stadium, it is all the talent down there you can recruit.”
McCarney said the stadium has already had an impact on recruiting.
“Recruits and parents are not only surprised, but shocked and blown away when they see it for the first time,” McCarney said.
Schnellenberger expects the stadium to have a similar impact at FAU. “We will be able to attract better prospects that we ever have before,” he said.
North Texas's new stadium gives FAU glimpse of its immediate future
Apogee Stadium has given Mean Green a boost
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