North End Zone Facility excites TROY supporters

Fans in the new north end zone expansion watch TROY play Boise State.

Fans in the new north end zone expansion watch TROY play Boise State.

Troy University alumni, fans and supporters marveled at the unveiling of the new North End Zone Facility at Veterans Memorial Stadium this weekend.

The $24 million addition features seating, in-stadium tents and the North End Zone Club, and whether alumni, former players or longtime Trojan fans, those who roamed the facility walked away impressed.

“I’ve had season tickets for 17 years now, so we’re here a lot, and this is quite an addition,” said Jeff Seymour, a lifetime member of the TROY Alumni Association. “It adds a lot. The stadium looks finished now.”

One of the former players whose efforts helped build the foundation of what TROY Athletics are today, Freddie Thomas, sees the North End Zone Facility as another reason for athletes to attend TROY.

“This is a nice facility here,” said Thomas, who played on the Trojans’ national champion football teams in 1984 and 1987. “It’s a good opportunity for the university, and it gives an opportunity to the guys who are coming up. When I played, we didn’t really worry about facilities, but that’s a big attraction for kids nowadays. They want to know what field you’re playing on and what facilities you have. It puts us on an even recruiting platform with all the other (Football Bowl Subdivision) teams.”

Rick Wilkinson has held season tickets since 2003, and he’s never experienced a view like the one he had Saturday when the Trojans took on Boise State.

“This is phenomenal,” said Wilkinson, whose wife and daughter are TROY alumni. “This is the day we’ve all been waiting for as TROY fans. I was a little worried, because I was on the 50-yard-line in section 212 forever, and we moved over here because of the excitement. But I really don’t think there’s going to be a bad seat in the house. This is a great view.”

Troy resident Bubba Ash, a longtime Trojan fan and supporter, echoed those sentiments.

“I think it’s great,” he said. “It brings a great atmosphere to the program for the fan base, it’s really going to help recruiting, and for the city of Troy, I think it’s a big visual improvement for the stadium.”

The additional seating created more of a buzz around game day for some fans.

“It makes the stadium feel a whole lot bigger than it was before,” said Mike Atkins, a TROY fan from Dothan. “It’s really nice, and it’s definitely going to help recruiting. Also, this is a different angle to watch the game from. It’s more interesting sitting here than in my old seat.”

Players aren’t the only ones likely to be attracted by the new facility.

“I think it’ll start bringing bigger crowds here,” Seymour said. “I believe a lot of fans will be coming to TROY.”