Shields-Watkins Football Field Completed
In 1919 and 1920, UT trustee Colonel W. S. Shields, who was president of City National Bank, paid off the purchase of land for a new athletic field, and UT agreed to get the field ready. About 700-800 students and faculty volunteered over two days in March 1921 to level the playing surface, install drainage tiles, and complete construction of the field. It was called Shields-Watkins Field in honor of the donor and his wife, Alice Watkins-Shields. The Vols played their first football game there on September 24, 1921, defeating the Emory and Henry Wasps 27-0. The original west stands that were transformed into Neyland Stadium were also completed in 1921 and seated 3,200 people. Shields-Watkins Field, which originally included the track and space for baseball games, was UT’s first regulation football field. The Vols played their earliest games off campus at Baldwin Park and Chilhowee Park. Games began on campus in 1908 at Wait Field, UT’s first athletic field, located near Cumberland Avenue and Phillip Fulmer Way.