Carlisle-Faulkner Field at M.M. Roberts Stadium is the focal point on Southern Miss' campus during football game days in Hattiesburg, Miss. With all the excitement and atmosphere surrounding the game, there isn't a better place to be. 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 greats, including the likes of Reggie Collier, Austin Davis, Brett Favre, Damion Fletcher, Derrick Nix and Sammy Winder.
Since the opening of M.M. Roberts Stadium in 1976, named after the former Golden Eagle letterwinner and IHL Board of Trustees member, Southern Miss has accumulated a 69.1 winning percentage at home enjoying 10 undefeated home seasons over that span, including 6-0 marks during both the 2009 and 2011 seasons.
During the summer of 2013, the stadium went through extensive renovations as improvements were made to the playing surface, press box and stadium's videoboard in the north end end zone.
A new artificial surface, Matrix Turf, was installed by Hellas Sports Construction after the old turf was deemed unplayable following a Feb. 10, 2013, tornado that hit the Hattiesburg area and caused damage to not only the field but also the southern part of campus.
In addition, the Robert "Ace" Cleveland press box enjoyed renovations that included upgrades to the area's air conditioning/heating system as well as to its roofing along with the installation of new windows throughout the entire length of the facility.
The stadium's videoboard system also enjoyed an upgrade. The original videoboard, which was installed prior to the 2007 season, was replaced with a new high definition board that should give fans a much better in-game experience with this fall when they attend games at The Rock.
These renovations are the first major work projects to the stadium since the addition of 34 luxury suites, club-level seating, elevators on each side of the south end zone and a visiting team locker room were added for the 2008 campaign.
The stadium was dedicated on September 25, 1976, with Southern Miss hosting intrastate-rival Ole Miss.
Even though it seems like recent history, the stadium's history dates back to October 29, 1932. On that date, State Teachers College defeated Spring Hill College, 12-0, as some 4,000 fans looked on from 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.
Through the years, a number of improvements have been made to the field and stadium. In 1989, the playing field had a new irrigation system installed, while the press and president's box was renovated and chairback seating was added to the west side of the stadium.
In 2002, the lighting system was upgraded to provide brighter lighting and two new poles were added, one in each end zone, making it possible to televise night games without the expense of portable lights, as well as enhancing fans' enjoyment of the game.
The playing field at Roberts Stadium underwent a name change in the 2004 summer when it was renamed Carlisle-Faulkner Field at M.M. Roberts Stadium in honor of entrepreneur, Southern Miss graduate and Golden Eagle supporter, Gene Carlisle, who provided outstanding support and contribution to the Athletics Department and the University – as he donated the school's first artificial surface, Momentum Turf by Sportexe.