BYU AD Tom Holmoe Discussed Stadium Renovations At Big 12 Media Days

Jul 13, 2023, 11:08 AM | Updated: Jul 17, 2023, 10:24 am

ARLINGTON, Texas – BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe always dreamed of getting BYU to the Power Five.

That dream was realized when former Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby called Holmoe, saying his athletic department was getting the invite.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Listen to the full Tom Holmoe interview on KSL NewsRadio’s Big 12 Media Days special on July 14 at Noon (MT).

It was five decades of hard work that began with LaVell Edwards changing the trajectory of BYU’s storied program.

Edwards’ impact was profound on BYU football. That’s why the stadium BYU plays in bears his name.

By going into the Big 12, everything in Tom Holmoe’s athletic department is being sized up from top to bottom. That includes facilities like LES.

On July 1, Holmoe told reporters on BYU’s first day as a Big 12 program that LaVell Edwards Stadium was “a stadium that needs some work.”

Tom Holmoe weighed in on LaVell Edwards Stadium renovations

He expanded on that comment to KSL Sports during Big 12 Media Days at AT&T Stadium.

“We’re not going to redo it,” Holmoe told KSL Sports. “I can make it clear that I’ve never been a fan of making it a bowl. I think that if you add in the bowl, it makes it a bowl, but those are the worst seats in the house or not in the endzone or the sideline but from an angle. The sight lines aren’t great. You’d spend tens of millions of dollars doing that for seats that aren’t great.”

Holmoe added, “If you look at Stanford, they downsized when they redid their stadium. And people that are building new stadiums aren’t going 80,000. You have these traditional stadiums like LSU or Michigan or Clemson, that are older stadiums that were big when they were built. So I think the key thing is refurbishment. So we’ll dress them up, and we’ll put in some things that we feel are necessary at the right time for hospitality and amenity and fan experience. That’s what it’s about these days, not necessarily size, but what kind of an experience and what kind of a team you have playing on the field.”

Last season, Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark and his executive staff in the conference saw LES up close for the Baylor game. One of the takeaways, improvements probably need to happen at LES.

BYU associate athletic director Chad Lewis explained earlier this month during an interview on KSL Sports’ Cougar Sports Saturday.

“When the Big 12 came and saw Lavell Edwards Stadium, their response was, ‘This is really cool, this is a cute stadium. It’s kind of got that 1970’s/1980’s feel,'” said Lewis to KSL Sports. “We’ve got a lot to do to improve even our best facilities and that won’t come all in one day. It will be measured. It will be when we have the finances and resources to do it.”

Possibility of decreasing capacity at LES

Could there ever be a situation where BYU downsized the capacity at LaVell Edwards Stadium? They have seen a decrease at their basketball venue, the Marriott Center.

The capacity of the Marriott Center is now at 17,978 after putting in blue chairback seats everywhere in the area. When it was built in the 1970s, it was at 22,700 seats.

LaVell Edwards Stadium currently holds 63,470 fans. Would Holmoe consider decreasing capacity in the house that LaVell built?

Holmoe replied, “Well, it’s possible. … I think when Texas and Oklahoma leave, I think we will have the biggest football stadium in the Big 12. We want to still keep a large [capacity] number for our fans to be able to come to the games live. But that also has to be with amenities. You have to deal with that. People like sitting in chairs.

“When you look at this stadium right here at Cowboys Stadium, every seat here is a theater chair. Some are better than others. That’s not really our intention. I’m not trying to keep up with the Joneses –Jerry Jones, excuse me– I had to put that in there,” Holmoe said with a smile. “But we will do things the way that we feel would be best for BYU, our team, our game experience, and the fans.”

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s coverage of BYU in the Big 12 Conference on Twitter and Threads: @Mitch_Harper.

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BYU AD Tom Holmoe Discussed Stadium Renovations At Big 12 Media Days