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September 6, 1980: Singer John Denver Helps Dedicate New Mountaineer Field

John Denver
AP Images

On September 6, 1980, singer John Denver and some 50,000 West Virginia University fans belted out a rousing rendition of “Country Roads” to dedicate new Mountaineer Field in Morgantown.

The big day also marked the first game for new football coach Don Nehlen. WVU’s 41-27 victory over Cincinnati would be the first of 149 wins at WVU for Nehlen, who was on his way to becoming the most successful coach in school history and a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.

New Mountaineer Field replaced the old one, built in 1924, on the downtown campus. The new stadium initially seated 50,000, but expansions increased it to 63,500. The stadium’s largest crowd—some 70,000 fans—showed up in 1993 to watch WVU beat Miami of Florida to win its first Big East Conference title, in the midst of an undefeated regular season.

In the ‘90s, luxury skyboxes were added, and the Caperton Indoor Facility was completed, allowing teams to practice regardless of weather. In 2003, the stadium was renamed in honor of benefactor Mylan Puskar, while the playing field is still known as Mountaineer Field.

Watch the performance


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