Fred Biletnikoff, Erie School District officials break ground for renovations to Erie sports legend’s namesake field

Story and photos by Christopher Millette/City of Erie

At a groundbreaking ceremony for renovations to Biletnikoff Field on May 25, 2023, one of Erie’s greatest sports legends brought a message of gratitude and hope to make Erie’s youth proud.

“To have my name on this field,” said Erie native Fred Biletnikoff, 80, “to become part of this school and Erie sports history, it means a lot to me.”

Fred Biletnikoff speaks during a ceremony where officials broke ground, on May 25, 2023, for Biletnikoff Field just east of Erie High School. In the background is a rendering of the facility. Seated in the background is Daria Devlin, Erie School Board president. CHRISTOPHER MILLETTE/CITY OF ERIE

Officials broke ground Thursday for renovations to the field, which is located just east of Erie High School. The $6 million Erie School District project will transform the field into a modern, multi-sport athletic facility named for Biletnikoff, an Erie native and NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver who graduated from Tech Memorial High School (now called Erie High School) in 1961 and played for Florida State and the Oakland Raiders where he was named the Super Bowl XI MVP in January 1977.

“We have to do something for these kids,” said Biletnikoff, addressing about 100 in attendance at the ceremony. “Something that they truly can be proud of. This is first-class.”

In attendance were Biletnikoff’s wife Angela Biletnikoff, Erie School District officials, state legislative representatives, friends of Biletnikoff, Tech Memorial School alumni, current Erie High School athletes and coaches, and many more.

Biletnikoff Field will include an eight-lane all-weather track, the addition of new artificial turf, a new concession stand, and stadium seating. Construction on Biletnikoff Field will begin immediately and is scheduled to be complete by November.

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