Carlisle-Faulkner Field at M.M. Roberts Stadium is the focal point of the Southern Miss campus during football game days.
The stadium, which is affectionately known to the Golden Eagle faithful as The Rock at Southern Miss, has been home to a number of Southern Miss football standouts, including the likes of Reggie Collier, Brett Favre, Ray Guy, Derrick Nix and Sammy Winder.
Faulkner Field dates to Oct. 29, 1932, when State Teachers College defeated Spring Hill College 12-0 in front of some 4,000 fans seated on wooden bleachers.
On this homecoming date, the playing field was dedicated as Faulkner Field in honor of local businessman L.E. Faulkner, who provided the materials and equipment to build the original facility. Faulkner was chairman of Hattiesburg's Committee on Unemployment Relief and recruited unemployed men from the city to build the field.
Lights were added in 1934, and a public address system was installed in 1937.
In 1938, several Southern Miss football players were recruited to work with contractors building a stadium around the field.The players hauled the concreted used to build additions, prompting the athletes to begin calling the new stadium "The Rock."
The east side of the stadium was completed in 1939 and also served a men's dormitory. The west side of the stadium was completed in 1953, and upper decks were added in 1976, when the stadium was dedicated to honor M.M. Roberts.
Roberts was a local attorney and former member of the Institutions of Higher Learning's board. He also was an alumnus and longtime supporter, having played football from 1914-15.
The playing field at Roberts Stadium in 2004 was renamed Carlisle-Faulkner Field at M.M. Roberts Stadium in honor of Gene Carlisle, an entrepreneur, Southern Miss graduate and Golden Eagle supporter. Carlisle provided outstanding support and contribution to the athletics department and the University, much of which went to the installation of a new playing surface, Momentum Turf by Sportexe.
Previous improvements include an upgraded lighting system in 2002 that made it possible to televise night games without portable lights and, in 1989, a new irrigation system, renovations of the Robert “Ace” Cleveland Press Box and President’s Box, and the addition of chairback seating to the west side of the stadium.
The Pride of Mississippi
Since its founding in 1920 as a 20-piece brass ensemble, the Pride of Mississippi marching band has evolved into a boastful group of more than 300.
Its band department features three impressive concert ensembles and a complete jazz studies division. The Wind Ensemble is world-renowned and has toured throughout the United States and Europe.
The Pride of Mississippi performs at all home football games, numerous away games and high school marching band contests and festivals during the football season.
It has performed before presidents, governors and even the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Ireland, twice (1993 and 1997, having toured throughout the United States and to England and Ireland.) The Pride has performed for such events as the F.D.R. inaugural parade in the 1930s, the Senior Bowl and professional and collegiate bowl games--including a performance with the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field in 2006.