Stadium has housed good games over 40 plus years

Ariy-El Boynton

Ariy-El Boynton

For 47 falls, Coughlin-Alumni Stadium (CAS) has hosted SDSU football games.

Since its inception in 1962, it has seen some special games.

Among them were two spirited games on Nov. 17, 2007 (NDSU) and the most recent game.

“The McNeese State and North Dakota State game last year were two of the most lively crowds to watch a game at Coughlin,” said SDSU Director of Athletics Fred Oien. “Even the old-timers have said, ‘Wow that’s different.'”

Coughlin-Alumni Stadium was dedicated on Sept. 22, 1962. Charles Coughlin, a 1909 alumnus who also has the Coughlin Campanile named after him, got the ball rolling on the outdoor stadium in the mid-1950s. Coughlin and Alphus Christensen brought up the idea of replacing the old State Field.

A formal committee named “Stadium for State” was established in early 1958. Coughlin provided $50,000. Through the fundraising process of thousands of alumni, students and other friends of SDSU, the rest of the $250,000 was raised.

SDSU fell to Arkansas State in the first ever game at the stadium in 1962.

Since 1962, there have been several improvements made to the stadium. A press box has been added, along with bathroom and concession areas. The added features are worth well over $250,000.

Over the years, the parking lots have also been paved and tailgating has been offered. Thousands of fans on a given week in the fall enjoy going to the “Backyard” for tailgating.

Within the last five years, significant upgrades have been made. In 2005, a new Daktronics scoreboard was installed, which replaced the “antique” existing scoreboard.

The new scoreboard gives fans extra incentive to make the trip to Coughlin-Alumni Stadium.

In the year 2000, a single improvement was made to the stadium that added to Coughlin-Alumni Stadium’s ability to host more entertaining games at SDSU: lights.

Brookings High School and SDSU shared the cost of lights in the stadium.

The Jackrabbits’ first night game was Sept. 1, 2001, when the Jacks beat Ferris State (Mich.), 34-24. SDSU is 17-4 in night games played at CAS.

With the added improvements and the D-I move, the crowds have also increased, which has made football exciting for SDSU.

“It’s really fun to get out of the locker room and see a packed stadium,” said head football coach John Stiegelmeier.

“Now, it’s so big that fans even cover an inch up to the fence.”

Overall, the Stadium has seen 248 games against 56 teams. In his 11 years of coaching,

Stiegelmeier is 48-17 at home. The 2008 team is 2-1 so far this season and is 7-2 the last two years at home.

The largest attendance record at “the house that Coughlin built” came last year when North Dakota State came to defend its Great West Football Conference title.

The Bison not only lost the GWFC title but the top spot in the FCS when SDSU beat NDSU, 29-24, in front of a crowd of 16,345.

Before the D-I move, some of the most spirited games in CAS took place against the Coyotes of the University of South Dakota.

“It’s always exciting, there’s no doubt it.” said Oien. “It’s a lot of South Dakotans coming together in the Stadium.”

The second and third most attended games in CAS history are against USD. On Oct. 19, 1975, 15,866 fans saw USD fall to their in-state rivals, 24-22. One day and 10 years later, The 16,193 came to CAS on Hobo Day. The number-one ranked Coyotes lost to SDSU, 24-12. Oien can still remember the 1985 match-up on Oct. 20 as having a very loud and energetic crowd.

Whenever USD and SDSU get together again the Stadium will be different from the last time the two played at Coughlin, in 2002.

Next year, Coughlin-Alumni Stadium will have an added asset to it with the Dykhouse Student-Athlete Center (DSAC).

The DSAC will have a team locker room for the home team, a pressroom and a possible “suite” room. The suite room would be one way SDSU looks to have a revenue generator inside Coughlin-Alumni Stadium.

Some of Stiegelmeier’s favorite memories of the stadium are from when the games end and he has time to reflect.

“I’m talking about after the press conference and the lights are still on. You’re kind of by yourself, and you look at the lit-up scoreboard,” he said.

“That’s where the blessing, the treat of being a part of this whole thing really sinks in for me.”

All-time, the Jacks are 152-96 and have never had a tie at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium. Five times, SDSU has won every game at home in a single season. The Jacks swept in 1963 (4-0), 1972 (5-0), 1985 (5-0), 1996 (5-0) and 2004 (4-0).

The Jacks have never gone a whole season without winning at least one game at home in CAS history. Since the D-I move in 2004, the Jackrabbits have posted a 19-5 record against foes at CAS.