Since 1972, Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium has been the stunning home of the UW-Platteville Pioneer football and soccer teams, and the stadium was enhanced even more during a 2005 renovation that included the installation of a ProGrass in-fill surface.
The renovation to the 10,000-seat stadium further ensures the facility as one of the nicest in all of the country. The stadium offers a beautiful view of not only the action on the field but the fall colors of southwestern Wisconsin.
The Pioneers sport a 99-87-1 record in their home stadium, which is the second largest in all of NCAA Division III.
The stadium was named after Ralph E. Davis, a major contributor, and was christened on Sept. 9, 1972 with a 38-0 Pioneer win over Iowa Wesleyan College. Since that time, thousands of fans have enjoyed the winning tradition of Pioneer football, which has had only nine losing home seasons.
Over the years, Pioneer Stadium has seen several special moments. A quick walk down memory lane reminds the Pioneer fans of some of the best moments at the stadium: the 1976 league champions, whose 4-0 record marks the only time the Pioneers were undefeated and untied in Pioneer Stadium; the 1980 miracle comeback game from a 33-0 deficit against UW-Eau Claire for a 53-43 win; the "Fog Bowl" against UW-Whitewater in 1990; the exciting 24-21 victory over nationally-ranked Augustana in 1995; the 1999 and 2001 Homecoming wins over UW-La Crosse; the 2002 Homecoming victory over UW-Stout in overtime; and the 21-20 upset victory over NCAA Division I Drake in 2003. In an exciting 2004 home season, the Pioneers beat three top 20 teams by a total of six points.
Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium and the surrounding practice facilities served as the summer home of the Chicago Bears training camp for 18 years (1984-2002).
The stadium contains two locker rooms, shower rooms, an athletic training area, equipment room, officials’ and coaches’ dressing area, a concession stand and restrooms. It is topped off on the west stands by a 90-person press box.
Ralph E. Davis
When construction originally scheduled for 1971 stalled because the contractors' bids far exceeded the budget set in 1970, Pioneer Stadium was in danger of not being built. However, in 1970, the Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity pledged $100 in honor of Homecoming queen Debbie Kitner to get the ball rolling again. From then on, donations were collected at football and basketball games, in the student center and through the alumni department.
One alumnus came through in a huge way. Ralph E. Davis's generous donation helped complete the $1.25 million facility. Davis was the director of the Wisconsin Mining School from 1910 to 1920. Referred to as the "godfather of the natural gas industry," Davis was instrumental in introducing natual gas to major U.S. cities and his donation was instrumental in building Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium.
Butch Leitl Field
Butch Leitl coached three sports over 41 years - from 1927 to 1968 - and retired from UW-Platteville in 1969. Leitl is known not only for his efforts as a coach but also as a mentor to student-athletes. Leitl lettered in football at UW-Oshkosh and then at UW-Madison where he held the school record for the long-distance place kick for many years.
He is a member of the UW-Platteville Hall of Fame and the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame. A decorated veteran of World War I, Leitl also is remembered for his emotional support of players leaving for World War II. The field at Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium was named after Leitl on Nov. 15, 2008.