Memorial ‘70 families receive piece of Cessna Stadium as tribute to WSU’s football history

Cessna Stadium opened in 1969 as a place meant to propel Wichita State football into a new era.

A crowd of 28,245 watched the Shockers defeat Utah State 17-7 on Sept. 13 of that year. The stadium featured stands that expanded the capacity to 31,500 from 12,500. A year-long fund-raising effort for $1.5 million resulted in “lush, green synthetic grass” known as Poly-Turf, a two-level press box with private boxes, covered seating for the 220 Turf Club members and a new running track.

“It was so cool – I was from back East and the stadiums held maybe 3-4,000 people,” said Ed Plopa, a freshman defensive back in 1969. “When we played Utah State, that place was going nuts.”

This Monday, as part of the Memorial ’70 ceremony, football players, friends and families from those years received a piece of Cessna Stadium seating.