Stadium’s best return to campus


The 50 greatest players in stadium history were honored over the weekend.

Jim Langer. Josh Ranek. Adam Timmerman. Danny Batten. Adam Vinatieri.

These names elicit memories of Saturdays passed in Brookings.

The Jackrabbits’ home for the last 50 years has witnessed a fair share of great football players and last Saturday, a majority of the 50 players who were selected to the Coughlin-Alumni Stadium All-Time Team were on hand to take in some SDSU football and a halftime ceremony honoring the Jackrabbit legends.

Many of the men who stood at midfield Oct. 22 continued their careers on Sundays.

Timmerman, a two-time Super Bowl Champion guard for the Packers and Rams, was a four-year letterman at SDSU (1990, 1992-94) before being selected in the 7th round of the 1995 NFL Draft. Timmerman came back to Brookings for the CAS All-Time Team festivities, which included a banquet and tour of the Dykhouse Student-Athlete Center along with the Dakota Marker game.

“It was cool [being back],” Timmerman said. “I think the atmosphere that they’ve built here over the past five years or so just adds so much to the game and it really seems like big-time football and it’s exciting.”

It wasn’t long ago that SDSU was a Division II school playing in the old North Central Conference in a time before giant scoreboards and student-athlete centers and permanent bleachers in the south end zone. CAS didn’t even have lights until the 2001 season.

Scott Connot, a former Jackrabbit defensive back (2001-03) and three-time letterman who had a brief stint with the Kansas City Chiefs, played on the last Division II SDSU football team in 2003. (SDSU began football at the Division I level as a member of the Great West Football Conference in 2004)

Just how much has CAS changed in 10 years?

“I’m not going to lie, walking through the Dykhouse Center today, it was a far-cry difference from when I was here,” Connot said. “But it’s good. I’m happy for everybody and it’s a good step for the program. It’s an exciting future here at SDSU.”

Timmerman shared similar views on the newer additions, saying some of the former players on hand were joking about how bad they had it when they attended SDSU.

“Every age kind of had their own story about how destitute [the facilities] were because you can usually be topped by the group that came before you,” Timmerman said.

While Timmerman and Connot only knew of Division II amenities, four-time letter winner and former SDSU defensive lineman Eric Schroeder’s (2005-08) first season saw the addition of the present-day scoreboard at CAS. Even though the extra amenities were nice, Schroeder also knows how far SDSU has come as a program since making the transition to the FCS (formerly I-AA) level and he’s happy to be involved.

“It feels great being a part of it, being one of the building blocks of [SDSU’s move to] Division I. I was there for the first five years and to see where the program has gone since then is just awesome,” Schroeder said.

Timmerman, Connot and Schroeder described their selection to the All-Time Team the same: they all felt “honored”. Each former player also looked back on their Jackrabbit years with a smile on their respective faces.

“It was fun. The guys I played with … they’re friends for life. We built some great relationships and had a blast out there,” Timmerman said. “A lot of blood and sweat on the practice field and on the game field builds those relationships for life. That’s what it’s all about for me.”

While the former Jackrabbit greats reflected on their past, they each commented about the bright future of the SDSU football program.

“I like how the ball is really rolling now,” Schroeder said. “I like to see the transformation and the future plans of what they’re going to do to the stadium and the indoor practice facility. It’s really exciting to be a part of a school like this.”