A massive renovation of Robertson Stadium took place last year, thanks to a $6 million gift from the John and Julie O'Quinn Foundation to the University of Houston. In addition to the 20 luxury suites added in the summer of 1998, "Phase I" entailed replacement of the current track with a ring of tiered seating, bringing the stadium's capacity to 32,000. To accommodate this tiered seating, the entire playing field was lowered nine feet.
In recognition of John and Julie O'Quinn's generosity and loyal support, the field at Robertson Stadium was named "John O'Quinn Field." The Cougars christened their new field with a 28-3 whipping of city rival Rice, in what was the renewal of the storied Bayou Bucket battle.
Houston "Returned to Robertson," full time in 1998, marking the first time since 1949 that UH played its entire home schedule on campus. With its five home contests a year ago, UH has now played 16 games at Robertson Stadium over the last five seasons. The Cougars have now posted a 23-21-1, thanks in part to a 4-1 home record in 1999.
Last season the Cougars defeated Rice, Louisiana-Lafayette, Cincinnati and Tulane in the friendly confines of The Mighty Quinn. At one time during the home slate, Houston kept the opposition off the scoreboard in nine consecutive quarters. The ferocious Cougar defense allowed a meager 14.6 points per game in their new digs, while the offense generated 27 points a contest while rolling up 45 points against UL Lafayette and 36 versus Tulane.
Robertson Stadium, as it is known today, was originally constructed in 1941 as a joint project of the Houston Independent School District (HISD) and the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a federal agency created by Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal.
In 1940, HISD purchased the land now bound by Holman, Cullen, Scott and Wheeler streets and passed a resolution in March 1941 to provide $650,000 to build the stadium.
The new stadium was named Houston Public School Stadium and served as the site for all home football games for area high schools. The first game was held September 18, 1942, when Lamar High School defeated Adamson High School of Dallas 26-7 before a crowd of 14,500.
The University of Houston's inaugural football game in the stadium was against Southwestern Louisiana on September 21, 1946. The stadium was the site for every subsequent Cougar home game through 1949. In 1950, the Cougars played five home games in Public School Stadium and two others in newly constructed Rice Stadium. UH moved all of its home games to Rice Stadium beginning in 1951. The Cougars were the first college team to play its games in a domed stadium when they moved to the brand-new Astrodome in 1965. UH played all of its home games there through 1993 before splitting time in the two stadiums over the last three seasons. All-time, Houston was 112-55-3 in the Astrodome. The Cougars' record in Robertson is 19-20-1.
The HISD School Board renamed the stadium Jeppesen Stadium in 1958. UH bought Jeppesen Stadium in 1970 and the stadium was rededicated as Robertson Stadium in 1980 to honor former UH Board of Regents member and Athletics Committee Chairman Corbin J. Robertson. Robertson Stadium underwent a $2 million facelift in 1983 when the University of Houston hosted the NCAA Track and Field Championships. Smaller projects readied the stadium for home games in 1995 and 1996, including erecting the scoreboard, which sat in front of where Jeppesen Fieldhouse used to stand. A new, state-of-the-art scoreboard, complete with a massive replay board and dynamic sound system, was installed in the fall of 1999 when the stadium received its much-needed facelift.