NEW ORLEANS — In 1980, six years after Tulane University played its final on-campus home game in 1974, construction crews removed the last vestiges of Tulane Stadium.
Thursday afternoon, Tulane’s drive to complete a new stadium received three financial shots in the arm.
School officials announced during a press conference at Ben Weiner Hall that the new facility will be named Yulman Stadium after donors Richard and Janet Yulman, who contributed $15 million toward the Uptown project.
The new field will be named Benson Field after New Orleans Saints and Hornets owner Tom Benson and his wife Gayle, who contributed $7.5 million toward the new stadium.
The Jill and Avram Glazer Family Club will offer club space for premium tickets holders in the new stadium which will hold 30,000 fans and is set to be completed for the kickoff of the 2014 season. The Glazers’ contribution was listed as a “multi-million dollar gift,” which is expected to be in the neighborhood of $7 million.
“The total cost of the stadium, which also includes maintenance and other things like that, will be about $70 million,” said Tulane Athletic Director Rick Dickson. “But the construction cost will be about $55 million, of which we have now raised $45 million. So we are 90 percent there.
“This input today is fabulous,” said Dickson, “especially for a private university that is competing in a pro market.”
Dickson said that playing occasional games in City Park convinced him of the need for an on-campus home.
“We have played five times at Tad Gormley Stadium, drawing about 20,000 fans for each,” said Dickson. “The fans loved being outside and tailgating, and it showed us that we needed more of a college-like setting.”
“Tulane football belongs back on campus,” agreed Richard Yulman, who serves as chairman of the Greater Miami Jewish Foundation and, along with his wife, sponsored 96 elementary students in Albany, New York, pledging to pay their college tuitions provided they received high school degrees.
Richard Yulman is the owner of the mattress manufacturing company Serta International and a member of the Tulane board.
“Tulane football will be in a very good place,” said Yulman. “I am looking forward to 2014 when our friends and neighbors will come home.”
Tulane President Scott Cowen called the proceedings, “an extraordinary day; a game-changer for Tulane.”
The Tulane football team hasn’t played an on-campus home game since Nov. 30, 1974, when the Green Wave lost to Ole Miss 26-10 in Tulane Stadium.