Fans bid farewell to Coughlin-Alumni

People took different materials from stadium following final game

Coughlin-Alumni Stadium came to a close in a positive light Saturday, Nov. 7, as the South Dakota State University Jackrabbits defeated the No. 2-ranked team in the Football Championship Series poll.

When a structure with a history such as Coughlin-Alumni comes to an end, people who spent many years watching games and making memories try to hang on to anything they can from the establishment. Coughlin-Alumni Stadium was no different as spectators grabbed seats, seat backs, bleacher sections and other similar materials after the finale.

According to Jeff Holm, senior associate athletic director for facilities and operations, the athletics department didn’t know people would take things at the end of the game. Holm said the department was indifferent on the taking of materials from the stadium.

“I don’t know if we had a feeling one way or the other,” Holm said. “We just wanted to make sure people were safe.”

Scott Waltman was one of the spectators who took some materials away from the stadium after the game. Waltman said he had left the stadium and then returned to grab some items to remember the stadium by. Waltman was able to grab a seat cushion from the season-ticket holders’ section below the press box and a section of the blue and yellow bleachers.

The athletics department also saved some items from the stadium. Holm said the department removed the signs that were hanging on both sides of the press box, the very first turnstile from the concourse, the ticket stub containers and other items before the game. The tops of the bleachers were fiberglass, but the original wood bleachers were still underneath that fiberglass. According to Holm, the department was able to secure more memorabilia after the conclusion of the game.

“We cut off a bunch of those [wooden bleachers] and saved some wood,” Holm said. “So we will be doing some things with that.”

It is unclear whether or not the removal of items from the stadium after the game was a planned event.

“Some people had taken wrenches and tools to unscrew their temporary seats on the west side,” Waltman said. “They wanted to take the seats they had been sitting in the past several years, I think. It was kind of wild that people were that prepared. But I think taking the bleachers was a spur-of-the-moment thing. And once one person did it, it gained momentum. Everybody just wanted a little piece of history, a keepsake of all the memories, all the games.”

Holm mentioned that the bookstore will also have an apparel shop in the new stadium. The athletics department allowed the bookstore to take some items from the stadium for that shop.

“They are going to create some things in their new shop with that wood and with some of the other items that we saved,” Holm said.

The athletics department plans to return the letters that spelled out Coughlin-Alumni Stadium on the front of the press box to the Coughlin family. Holm said two of the letters are currently missing but the department knows the where abouts of those letters.

“We are going to have an area that honors Coughlin-Alumni Stadium,” Holm said. “That’s where it will probably end up, but we want the family to have the ability to make that call.”