Beginnings of Coughlin-Alumni

DREW CARROLL Managing Editor

Coughlin-Alumni Stadium’s beginning holds a rich history. The stadium has served as the home of the South Dakota State University football team for the past 54 seasons. 

 A committee was formed to plan what the new stadium would look like, what it would include and how many people it could accommodate. The committee set its goals high and initially failed to meet some of its goals. The goals were altered and eventually the South Dakota Board of Regents approved a plan to build a new stadium.

 Jason Hove, assistant athletic director for sports information, said the committee was formed in 1957 to discuss the idea of erecting a new stadium to serve as the home of the South Dakota State University Jackrabbits football team. The new stadium was named Coughlin-Alumni Stadium.

The committee originally wanted the stadium to seat 14,000 people and be ready for use during the 1959 football season, Hove said. Plans enclosed a bowl-type seating arrangement, locker rooms and a track. The committee wanted to raise $500,000 for the new stadium in about one year of fundraising, but only raised about $182,000 during that time frame.

 After the planning committee failed to raise the $500,000, a $15 student assessment was voted on by students twice in 1959 and then again in January of 1960. The assessment, or fee, would have been used to help the committee raise more money for the construction of the new stadium. After students voted against the fee three times, the project got scaled back according to Hove.

In April of 1961, the SDBOR approved a plan to construct a stadium that would seat 6,300 people. Construction began in 1961 and the project had a $300,000 price tag. Charles Coughlin, a 1909 graduate of SDSU, donated $50,000 to the project and the remaining $250,000 came from other, smaller alumni donations, resulting in the name Coughlin-Alumni Stadium.