MUSKEGON – Shane Fairfield was 9 years old when he played his first football game at Hackley Stadium.
Several years later, the memory is still vivid for Muskegon High School’s 11th-year head coach. The stadium, however, looks a bit different.
“That was exciting because I felt like I was in the Big House (at University of Michigan). I mean, being a 9-year-old kid going through that tunnel and seeing the field and there’s no track around it and that kind of stuff, I was blown away then,” Fairfield recalled earlier this week, as he prepared his Big Reds (1-0, 1-0 OK Green Conference) for their big crosstown matchup against Mona Shores (1-0, 1-0).
At 7 tonight, the Big Reds will finally get the opportunity to play in their upgraded, century-old stadium. As fate would have it, the rival Sailors will be on the opposing sideline.
Muskegon High School has been playing football at the Hackley Stadium site since 1907. The home of Michigan’s all-time winningest program has stood the test of time, but this summer the classic venue received a facelift in the form of an approximate $1 million renovation, including a new AstroTurf playing surface.
Watch MLive’s time-lapse video above — footage courtesy of The Christman Company, general contractor for the renovation project – to see the transformation of the iconic stadium.
“It turned out nice,” Muskegon senior Tyreese Oakes said. “This ain’t what I pictured because you can’t really see from a picture. And then they got done … from the sand, I’m like, ‘It’s just a normal field,’ but when they took a little bit by a little bit, it was awesome.”
Added Big Reds senior Amari Crowley: “I didn’t believe it at first, then I saw them breaking ground – I got