In 1904 two Daily Texan editors led the drive to name the Athletic Fields for “Judge” James Benjamin Clark, who had served as a member of the UT Board of Regents from 1883–85, and as proctor, librarian and secretary of the faculty from 1894–97. He also had served as building and grounds manager, dean of students, registrar, business manager and admissions officer. Clark graduated from Franklin College Tennessee and studied law at Harvard University. He served in the 18th Mississippi Regiment of the Confederate Army in 1861, served as editor of the Kentucky People in Harrodsburg, Kentucky, and practiced law in Bonham, Texas, beginning in 1875. A 1927 article in the UT alumni magazine Alcalde stated that Clark had "done more for the University than any other man connected with the school."
In 1887, an athletic field was constructed at the corner of 24th Street and Speedway. It was first known as the Varsity Athletic Field. In 1904, the field was renamed Clark Field, honoring “Judge” James B. Clark, who served as proctor for UT from 1885 until his death in 1908. As proctor, he performed duties as manager of buildings and grounds, dean of students, registrar, business manager, admissions officer and secretary to the faculty.
The UT football and track teams used Clark Field until their move to Memorial Stadium in 1924. The baseball team played at this location through the 1927 season, when the University claimed the land as the future site of Taylor Hall. The baseball team moved to the new Clark Field, just north of Memorial Stadium, at Red River and 23rd Streets. This location remained the home of the Longhorn baseball team through the 1974 season. At that time, Clark Field was closed to make way for the College of Fine Arts and the Performing Arts Center. With these changes, the name Clark Field was transferred to the recreational area known since 1928 as Freshman Field, located east of Waller Creek between 19th and 21st Streets.
A major renovation of Clark Field took place in the early 1980s, at which time Recreational Sports assumed management of the facility. Clark Field was developed to include four basketball courts, eight handball/racquetball courts, exercise stations, new lighting, and a running track with an inner and outer loop with distances of 448 and 629 yards. In May 1999, the site was turned over to the University for construction of a student dormitory with the provision that at the conclusion of the project, approximately half of the space would return as outdoor activity space. To protect and redevelop as much green space as possible, the basketball courts were relocated to the site of an adjacent parking lot. The basketball courts reopened in the spring of 2001.
On Aug. 29, 2001, Clark Field completed the move to its current location at San Jacinto Boulevard and 21st Street, just a stone's throw from the San Jacinto Residence Hall. The new Clark Field consisted of four outdoor basketball courts, a quarter-mile free form recreational jogging/walking track, four sets of fitness stations and a turf area lighted for nighttime play.
On Nov. 16, 2011, a new and improved Clark Field turf and track reopened following a $4 million renovation project made possible through $3 million in private gifts and $1 million from Recreational Sports. The newly renovated facility was renamed the Caven Lacrosse and Sports Center at Clark Field in honor of former chairman of The University of Texas System Board of Regents and University alumni H. Scott Caven, Jr., and his wife, Vivien, who made the first significant gift to launch the renovation.
H. Scott Caven, Jr. has had a long and distinguished relationship with The University of Texas and he remains an avid supporter. One of Mr. Caven’s most significant contributions was his service of six years on The University of Texas System Board of Regents. Appointed by Governor Rick Perry in February 2003, he was elected chairman of the board in 2007. While a regen, he served on the Academic Affairs Committee; the Finance and Planning Committee; the Health Affairs Committee; and the Facilities Planning and Construction Committee. Mr. Caven chaired the Task Force on Admissions, Tuition, and Financial Aid and served as chairman of the board of directors of The University of Texas Investment Management Company (UTIMCO).
Today, Mr. Caven serves as chairman of the U.T. System Chancellor’s Council Executive Committee, is a life member of the U.T. Austin McCombs School Advisory Council, a founding member of the Texas Coalition for Excellence in Higher Education and serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Texas Cowboys Alumni Association. An alumnus of The University of Texas, Mr. Caven earned both a B.B.A. and L.L.B. and has been active in campus-related organizations including the Advisory Council of the McCombs School of Business and the U.T. Austin Business School Foundation. In private life, Mr. Caven is managing director and regional manager for Texas of Atlantic Trust Company, NA, a private wealth management firm.
The Cavens’ desire to upgrade the field, make it more accessible to students and redevelop it to accommodate lacrosse club sports, was done in memory of their son, Scotty Caven, a University of Texas Plan II Honors student whose athletic passion was lacrosse, and in honor of the many Caven family members who have been involved with the University for more than 90 years.
The renovated field includes a new synthetic turf, refurbished track, new exercise stations and new pedestrian bridge across Waller Creek. The pedestrian bridge links the Caven Lacrosse and Sports Center at Clark Field with the Recreational Sports Center. The renovated facility offers opportunities for informal recreation and provides UT sport clubs such as Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse with space for practice and competition.