Instagram Account Shares Cool Picture Of Ute Stadium From 1938

Jun 20, 2023, 1:53 PM

SALT LAKE CITY – There is no doubt Utah football has come a long way and sometimes it’s fun to take a step back to really appreciate the growth of the program.

An Instagram account by the name of Old Salt Lake recently helped illustrate just how much the program has changed over the years providing a picture of Ute Stadium from about 1938.

Taking a close look at the picture, you can see there are no west towers or press boxes, no Einar Nielsen Fieldhouse to the north, no Marriott Library or Social and Behavioral Sciences Buildings to the northeast, no Ken Garff south endzone and the trolly system ran on 400 South, not Campus Drive.


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A post shared by Old Salt Lake (@oldsaltlake)

A Little About The 1938 Utes

At the time this picture was taken, the Utes were in the Mountain States Conference and in their 14th season under legendary head coach Ike Armstrong.

Armstrong held the winningest head coach title in Utah football history until 2021 when current head coach Kyle Whittingham eclipsed him. Whittingham and the 2023 Utes will be looking to add to his record in the upcoming season.

Utah football finished the 1938 season with a 7-1-2 overall record and 4-0-2 in conference play earning the MSC Title. The Utes’ lone loss that season was to Idaho, 0-16. Utah also had two ties, one against BYU (7-7) and another against Colorado (0-0).

Utah’s seven wins came against Montana State (34-0), Utah State (33-0), Denver (21-0), Colorado A & M (13-0), Wyoming (39-0), Hawaii (14-13) and New Mexico in the Sun Bowl (26-0).

The Utes had one 1939 NFL Draft pick in tackle Barney McGary (Cleveland Rams) who was team captain that year and earned First-Team player on the 1938 All-America team by the Central Press.

From Ute Stadium To Rice Stadium To Rice-Eccles Stadium

While the ground Utah football’s stadium has sat on hasn’t changed, the stadium itself and the surrounding area has evolved immensely over the 85 years since Old Salt Lake’s photo was taken.

Ute Stadium was built in 1927 (96 years ago) and was renamed Rice Stadium in 1972. During that stretch the Einar Nielsen Fieldhouse was built to the north (1939) and received a facelift with the help of passionate Ute fans in 2015. The Marriott Library also appeared in that span (1968) along with the Social and Behavioral Sciences buildings in 1970.


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A post shared by Michelle Bodkin (@bodkinkslsports)

In 1998, the newly facelifted Rice-Eccles Stadium was opened just in time to host the 2002 Winter Olympics, featuring new media and box seating nestled between two towers on the west side.

Former Utah kicker Tommy Truhe recently recounted what it was like watching Rice-Eccles being built around the old Rice Stadium as a player.

“In ’97 we were playing in Rice Stadium and they were currently building the new stadium on the outside of it,” Truhe recalled. “So it didn’t even really disrupt too much of our home games. That’s how much bigger that stadium is. It literally fit on the outside of the existing stadium. Then in ’98- I actually did the kickoff I believe. Very first time the ball went into play- I hadn’t thought about that till right now. I kicked the ball for the first time in that stadium.”


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A post shared by Michelle Bodkin (@bodkinkslsports)

Rice-Eccles Stadium saw two more very recent changes upgrading the jumbotron in 2016 and closing in the south endzone in 2021 to create the Ken Garff Red Zone premium seating area.

Needless to say, Utah football and their stadium have seen a major glow-up since 1938.

Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @BodkinKSLsports




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Instagram Account Shares Cool Picture Of Ute Stadium From 1938