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Official Review by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Jack Coffey Field, a 7,000 seat multi-purpose stadium located in The Bronx, New York, serves as home to Fordham University's football and soccer teams. In addition, Houlihan Park, home of the school's baseball team, is also located here.
The field is named for Fordham alumnus, baseball coach and major league player Jack Coffey. Coffey graduated from Fordham in 1910, and played for the Boston Doves in 1909, as well as the Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox in 1918. Coffey is the only player to play with both Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth in the same season. After his playing days, he returned to Fordham in 1922 as the school's first full-time coach, remaining there until 1958. Coffey amassed 817 wins as baseball coach, and also served as the school's athletic director from 1926 to 1958.
The Fordham Rams compete in the Football Championship Subdivision. They are members of the Patriot League, which prides itself on its high academic standards. The school has featured football teams on and off since 1881, and was known as a national power in the sport throughout the 1930's and 1940's. The team finished in the top 20 of the UPI and AP polls for seven straight seasons from 1935-1941. Included in this run was a third best ranking in 1937. During this run, Fordham appeared in both the Cotton (1940) and Sugar (1941) Bowls. Fordham ranks 15th all-time in NCAA history in wins with 1262 entering 2016, and fifth in FCS history with 749. Since beginning competition in the FCS, they have made the playoffs five times (2002, 2007, 2013, 2014 and 2015).
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
Concession stands at Coffey Field offer your typical stadium fare, but little more.
There are concession stands underneath the grandstand operated by Fordham's Dining Services that sell hot dogs, nachos, pretzels, peanuts and drinks. Fans looking for something a little more substantive should head to the grill located in the northeast corner of Coffey Field, which offers burgers, grilled chicken sandwiches and sausage sandwiches.
Coca Cola products are featured at Coffey Field. No alcoholic beverages are allowed at this on-campus facility.
While the choices and quality of food here at Coffey Field may be a bit underwhelming, no item sold costs more than five dollars.
The game day experience at Coffey Field is fairly typical of an FCS game in the northeast. The presentation is typically understated and laid-back.
The Fordham pep band performs at Coffey Field, and the cheerleaders perform throughout the game. There is a new video scoreboard located in the south end zone, but it is poorly placed, and obstructed by the goal posts and netting depending on where you sit.
The student body turns out in impressive numbers, but unfortunately, many arrive late and leave early. In addition, a great percentage of the student body seems to be there only to be seen, and spend much time walking up and down the aisles and along the walkway in front of the seating area, creating distractions for those who are there to watch the action.
While the Fordham University campus is quite lovely, it is located in the Bronx, in the middle of a neighborhood with a less than stellar reputation and areas best avoided. Stories are told of students who rarely, if ever, leave the campus during their four years at Fordham. While these tales may be overstated, the campus is certainly safe and secure, especially if visiting on a fall Saturday afternoon. Despite the roughness of the neighborhood surrounding the university, there are worthy destinations near the Fordham campus.
Directly adjacent to the campus is the New York Botanical Garden, with the Bronx Zoo located just a few blocks from campus. Visitors to the area looking for places to eat during their trip to Fordham should head over to Arthur Avenue, otherwise known as the "Real Little Italy of New York," where several fantastic Italian restaurants can be found.
There are no places for visiting Rams fans to stay immediately near the campus, but a complete listing of lodging options can be found here.
Fordham attracts decent crowds to Coffey Field for football games. The Rams averaged 6,500 fans per game in the 2015 season, not too shabby for a facility that seats 7,000.
Crowds at Coffey Field are primarily a mix of alumni and students. Unfortunately, not many locals seem to make it out to the Fordham campus to catch the games.
While there is an impressive turnout by the student body at Coffey Field, a significant percentage of the students arrive late (a steady stream of students continue to enter well into the second quarter), and leave early (the packed stands of the first half become half empty bleachers in the second half). It seems that many students come to Ram football games to be seen more than to catch the action on the field. There is a steady stream of people walking up and down the stairs and along the walkway at the front of the seating area. It can be very distracting to fans trying to watch the game.
Fordham University is located right in the middle of The Bronx, only a few miles from Interstates 95 and 87, as well as the Bronx River Expressway. Unfortunately, this is New York, and driving is never the best method for getting around in the city. For fans travelling from out of town, driving directions to the Rose Hill campus can be found here.
Public transportation is the best way to get to Fordham. The metro-north train out of Grand Central Station has a stop on campus. The D line of the subway is located a few blocks from Fordham. In addition, city busses stop regularly on campus.
If driving, there is a large parking garage, as well as a surface lot, located a short walk from Coffey Field.
Seating at Coffey Field consists of one large set of metal bleachers located on the east side of the football field. Strangely enough, there is no seating on the west side of the field. It's got to be a bit disorienting to the visiting team to have nothing but vast open space behind them. Fans wishing to avoid the metal bleachers can purchase premium seating, consisting of chairback seating located between the 40-yard lines.
These bleachers are not handicap accessible, so fans needing accessible seating have a special area set up for them in the north end zone. Restroom facilities are clean and spacious, but lines do form during halftime, so plan accordingly.
Tickets for Fordham Rams football games are very affordable, with general admission seating costing only $12. Children and seniors are admitted for $7. Fans wanting chairback seating can purchase those seats for $15. Premium seating in this section will run $20. If planning to attend homecoming, ticket prices rise to $25 for chairback seats and $15 for general admission.
Parking in the lot or garage adjacent to Coffey Field costs $10 ($15 for homecoming). With affordable concession prices, catching a Fordham football game is an affordable entertainment option for New York sports fans.
While not played at Coffey Field, the first televised college football game was hosted by Fordham University. On September 30, 1939, Fordham beat the Waynesburg Yellow Jackets 34-7 at Triborough Stadium on Randall's Island. The game was broadcast by NBC.
Located just outside of Coffey Field is a monument to the Seven blocks of Granite, the offensive lines of Fordham's highly ranked teams of the 1920's and 1930's. Included in this group is football immortal Vince Lombardi. Fordham also honors three numbers on the press box façade, #40 (Vince Lombardi), #33 (Connie Murphy) and #28 (Bill Tierney)
If you get a chance while visiting Fordham, be sure to take a walk around campus. Well known for its Gothic architecture, cobblestone streets, ivy-covered buildings and expansive lawns, the Rose Hill campus is known as one of America's most attractive college campuses.
Coffey Field offers an experience that is typical of many FCS schools in the northeast. While many fans won't venture to the Bronx due to its less than stellar reputation, there is plenty to do in this area to make for a wonderful fall day.
Follow Paul Baker's stadium journeys on Twitter @PuckmanRI.
Member Review by Jba0088 on Sep 01, 2012
Deep in the heart of the hustle and the bustle of the Bronx is a team that's all-time roster includes an iconic member of sports history. Babe Ruth and the Yankees? Yes, but that's a different review. We're talking football here and the great Vince Lombardi cut his teeth at Fordham University as a player in the 1930's. Coach Lombardi was a member of "The Seven Blocks of Granite" offensive line in 1936-37 that posted a 12-1-3 record with eight shutouts. He then went on to do bigger and better things in Green Bay.
The Fordham Rams play on campus in Jack Coffey Field. The campus itself is amazing. Beautiful gothic buildings and well manicured lawns are just steps away from the busy thoroughfare of the Bronx. The stadium's namesake (Jack Coffey) was a long time athletic director of the program and was a former pro baseball player for the Red Sox and Tigers. The stadium consists of one side of bleacher seating that sits approximately 7,000. The stadium shares the field with the baseball team, and has a field turf surface.
The Rams play in the Patriot League and are one of the few NCAA FCS schools that have an alumni as a current NFL starting QB (John Skelton). While the Rams are coming off a disappointing 1-10 season in 2011, their new coach hopes to turn things around quickly.
Member Review by sportsroadtrips on Oct 24, 2015
A beautiful campus and a reasonable ticket price are the good things here, and it is not a far walk from the subway along Fordham Road. The game I attended did not have much atmosphere despite a 59-42 win for Fordham, but it was still enjoyable. The Rams are a ranked team in FCS this year and worth a visit if you like to see high-powered offense and no defense.
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