Cherry and white football players past and present spent their Saturday at a familiar location Alumni Day, Enon Baptist Church, the site of the old Temple Stadium.
The Temple Stadium was home of the Owls from its opening in 1928 to 1978, when the Owls moved to Veterans Stadium. It encompassed 32 acres of the West Oak Lane neighborhood in North Philadelphia, housing near 20 thousand people. Football played on one end of the brick stadium, while baseball and softball diamonds sat on the other.
The horseshoe-shaped stadium had an opened end to the west-northwest building it into a natural bowl. Also called Owl Stadium and Beury Stadium, it stood long after the Owls took flight until it was sold to Enon Baptist Church in 2001 and was torn down.
Attendees of alumni day included players who remember Temple Stadium in its prime, however.
The cherry and white football alum turned fans gathered in their old locker room, which is now a multipurpose building, to reminisce about their days on the field and escape the heavy rainfall that current players had to endure for practice.
Bill Grubb and Rich Buggelli were among the alumni who played for Temple during the Cosby era. For them, the old Temple Stadium was home. In between sharing their favorite stories of old coaches and teammates, they described their old field.
“We have pictures of the stadium, I mean it’s amazing from the air. We would come here and dress and then we’d practice out on the side” said Grubb.
“I don’t know why they ever got rid of it. When I found out, I was pretty devastated about it, but I’m glad to see they’re back here again” said Buggelli.
Sitting alongside the football alumni was another Temple graduate, and one of the University’s biggest benefactors, Peter Chodoff, for whom Chodoff field was named.
“When I went to school here, we wanted to go to a game out here, we had to get here early or we couldn’t get a seat” he said.
By the time former NFL and Temple running back Paul Palmer started playing at Temple, however, the Temple Stadium has ceased to exist.
“When we came back here for our spring games, it was a pretty bad grass field and they had already removed the bleachers. It was pretty, it just seemed like a hole.”
Palmer said, however, that even though he had been to Temple Stadium as a player, he never suited up for Spring games due to injuries.
Playing for Temple just a few years before Palmer was Zachary Dixon, another former NFL running back. Dixon played for the cherry and white during the switch to the Vet.
Now, Dixon not only hangs around North Broad as an alum and former player, but as a proud Temple parent. He is the father of another alumnus, Raheem Brock, current NFL free agent, and Hassan Dixon, junior and Owl running back.
“All I wanted to do was go to Temple. Even with my dad, he didn’t really want me to come here, but I guess it was just instilled in me. I don’t even know why, but this is the only place I wanted to go,” said the current Owl.
“Well they wanted to follow in their dad’s footsteps, so that’s good for them” said Dixon.
In fact, Dixon says he may have another future Owl in the family, his 14 year old son, who he says might wind up being the best football player in the family.
Head Coach Matt Rhule, who was new to the nest last season, said he was just glad to see a strong support from alumni.
“We’ve had guys from the 20’s and 30’s. It shows that there’s a lot of pride [and] we need to talk about that and we need to proud of who we are and what we do as an entire University and football program” said Rhule.
While Alumni Day was the only scheduled time for the Owls to visit their old stadium, they will continue to spend spring practices at five other locations while Chodoff field at Edberg-Olson Hall is resurfaced.