To a near capacity crowd, the Elizabethton Cyclones played their last game ever in Brown Childress Stadium (Thursday, October 30, 2014). With the construction of the new on-campus athletic facility at EHS, the Orange and Black took the field for the last time at the stadium on Holly Lane.This would also be the last time that the Betsy Band would warm up on the front lawn of the school and march through the west gate to take their place in the endzone just prior to kickoff. After the game, the sound of "Short Betsy" would echo one last time through the old concrete bleachers that have stood for more than 65 years. The stadium was built in the late 1940's and was put into service for the first time in 1947, In the beginning there were only bleachers on the north side of the field. Two large concrete openings in the stadium would serve as tunnels to the area under the bleachers which housed restrooms and concessions. Many great players and coaches would dedicate a large part of their lives fighting battles for one more yard of real estate on this field. This has been a place where boys have become men. We have seen troubled teens grow into NFL superstars, coaches, teachers, and successful businessmen. We have seen state champion bands perform at halftime. For more than 60 years this has been "Our House". A place where we celebrated victory and suffered loss. Many of us marched on that field, played football on that field, stood on the sidelines as a player, coach, medical staff, photographer, cheerleader, trainer, and even a female place kicker.
Sixty seven football teams took the field here. There were 67 "Betsy Bands", 67 homecoming queens and 67 cheerleading squads. If you were part of any of these, consider yourself privileged. You are in an elite group.
Thank you Brown Childress Stadium and Dave Ryder Field for a lifetime of memories. May we never forget "Ye ole Betsy".
(Editor's Note: I personally have had the privilege to play football on this field, march in the band at halftime on this field, work as a Rescue Squad personnel during games on the sidelines, and I have photographed games here for more than 35 years. I am very excited about the new stadium and feel that it is in the best interest of the youth of Elizabethton to provide them with the facility that they have been promised since 1974. That being said, it is hard to explain the feeling I had as I walked out of Brown Childress Stadium for the last time. So many memories that I couldn't help but be a little emotional. Next year I will walk into that new stadium with pride and excitement, but a part of my heart will never leave the sidelines of Dave Ryder Field.)
In anticipation of this day, I have been able to provide photos of the early days of this landmark. Below are photos of the stadium just after construction and the band as it took the field for the first time. At the bottom of the page are photos of the last evening of High School football to ever be played in this local landmark. Special thanks to Eddie Pless for his help with acquiring photos.
1973 Coaching Staff
On the field for the first time (1947)
On the field for the last time (October 30, 2014)
Last play in Brown-Childress Stadium
For best viewing, click on the first photo below and it will open in a larger window. You can then use your left and right arrow keys to navigate through the gallery.
Good-by old Friend. Thanks for the memories.
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