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  • Spencer Matthews

Glass Bowl Missile

Updated: Jun 5, 2023

Many UToledo students and fans may be familiar with the missile located outside the Glass Bowl Stadium. The rocket is painted in UT's school colors--navy and gold--and acts as the centerpiece of the northeast entrance to the stadium, commanding the attention of anyone entering the Glass Bowl. More interesting than the structure of the missile itself is the origin and positioning of the missile. To the untrained eye, the rocket may look like nothing more than an interesting statue after the school’s namesake, however, it is not just any statue.

The rocket was donated to the university by the US Army Missile Program back in 1961-- the same year that the program was disbanded--and is an actual Nike-Ajax Rocket. This particular type of rocket can reach subsonic speeds and altitudes of over 50,000 feet when launched. The rocket outside of the Glass Bowl Stadium is no different, fitted with a propellant booster that would theoretically be able to carry UT’s own rocket to those same speeds. Not only would this rocket be able to reach subsonic velocities if launched, but due to the positioning of the rocket itself, it would also be launched directly into the 50-yard line of our arch-nemesis’s stadium. This rocket was positioned specifically with Bowling Green’s location in mind, making it the perfect statement piece for the Glass Bowl Stadium.

Furthermore, although Ajax missiles laid the groundwork for several breakthroughs in their field--even outside of the militant world--they were decommissioned in 1960, making the one that now resides on campus a relic of the past in more ways than one. Although it would not be possible to launch the missile as it is now for several reasons (including the lack of fuel and the age of the rocket among other things), the mere existence of it as both a playful reminder of UT’s rivalry with Bowling Green and as a thoughtful gift from the now dissolved US Army Missile Program makes it a beautiful piece of UT’s rich history.


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