Home of the Penn State Nittany Lions
Experience the Park Beaver Stadium Fan Guide
The Erector Set Keeps Growing
For 2008, at least, Beaver Stadium is the largest stadium in college football, seating just over 107,000. But record crowds of more than 110,000 have squeezed in, and on game day the stadium becomes the third largest “city” in Pennsylvania.
It wasn’t always this large, however. Originally the stadium, then called Beaver Field, was located on the west side of campus, with seating for 30,000 fans. The structure was dismantled, and reassembled (it does kind of look like a giant erector set), and expanded at its current location surrounded by University Drive, Curtin Road, Park Avenue, and Porter Road. Expansions and renovations continued, most notably in the late 1970s when the stadium was actually lifted up to add new seats where the track once circled the field. The north end zone upper deck was added in 1991; ten years later, the most recent renovation included sky boxes and a south end zone upper deck.
One of the most frequently asked questions about Beaver Stadium is why ‘Beaver’ when the mascot is the Nittany Lion? The stadium is named for General James Beaver, a resident of nearby Bellefonte who served in the Civil War and was later the governor of Pennsylvania.
In most college stadiums, the home team stands on the side of the press box, which is on the west side of the stadium. Not Penn State. Legendary coach Joe Paterno wanted to be close to the student section, which runs from behind the goal posts in the south end zone to about the 20-yard line of the east bleachers. Paterno has led the football team out of the south tunnel, pumping his fists toward the student body, since 1966 and is the winningest coach in major college football.
The Nittany Lions (the nickname comes from Mt. Nittany, which can be seen from most of the stadium) were for decades Independent, winning National Championships as such in 1982 and 1986. Penn State joined the Big Ten in football in 1993, winning conference championships in 1994 and 2005.