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Official Review by Richard Smith, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The University of Maryland - Eastern Shore (UMES) is a Historically Black Land-Grant University located on the DelMarVa Peninsula just south of Salisbury, Maryland. Founded in 1886 the university has gone through several names: Delaware Conference Academy, Industrial Branch of Morgan State College, Princess Anne Academy, Maryland Agricultural College and Maryland State College before switching to its current name in 1970.
The 745 acre campus has many programs and degrees with hotel and restaurant management, fashion merchandising, construction management and professional golf management being some of the biggest, along with engineering.
The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) is made up of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) located between Florida and Delaware. Only nine of the 13 member MEAC schools field teams in baseball. Bethune-Cookman University has been dominating the MEAC for nearly two decades. UMES is a charter member of the MEAC.
UMES has had limited success in sports until recently. The UMES women's bowling team won the NCAA Bowling Championship in 2012 and is the most consistent team on campus. In 2015 the men’s basketball team played in their first postseason in 30 years, as they played in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com tournament.
Once a big time football program, UMES ended their program in 1979. There is still some talk of bringing the football team back into action. UMES is tied with Florida State for the most alumni appearing in a single Super Bowl game. In the 1968 game (Super Bowl III) between the New York Jets and the Baltimore Colts, UMES was represented by five alumni: Earl Christy (1961–1964), Johnny Sample (1954–1957), Emerson Boozer (1962–1965), Charlie Stukes (1963–1967), and James Duncan (1968–1971).
NFL player and coach Art Shell attended UMES. Other famous alumni are Clarence Clemons of the E Street Band and Jamaican track star Merrecia James.
Hawk Stadium was remodeled in 2008, but very little other information is known about the small, simple facility. It is located in a convenient spot on campus.
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".
There is a small table setup behind the home dugout selling some simple food items. Hot dogs are $1, hamburgers $2 and sodas $1. The prices are fair but if you want more you need to bring your own.
It is unclear if this table is set up for all games, or just because it is a weekend game.
There is not too much of Hawk Stadium. There is a single grandstand made up of metal bleachers that run from dugout to dugout. A few rows of bench seating is all there is.
The view is through and above a chain link fence. You feel pretty separated from the field of play. The angle is also low so some outfield action seems hard to see.
The simple scoreboard in left center was not working the day of this review. A PA announcer does a good job introducing players and playing music. No scorecard or program was seen.
There is nothing much right around UMES. Historic, as it is recognized, Princess Anne is right outside the campus. It is a nice town, but there is not much really going on in the quaint village that would really make you want to spend much time there before or after a game.
There are some restaurants in the area. Peaky's provides good seafood dishes, with the offering of the iconic Smith Island Cake a pleasant surprise. Lynn's Kitchen is a decent Chinese restaurant.
Besides that, Princess Anne doesn't offer much except fast food places like Popeye's, Hardee's and McDonald's.
It may be a good idea to head the 10 miles or so north into Salisbury where there is a plethora of restaurants. The Evolution Craft Brewing Company at 201 E Vine Street has a great tasting room and restaurant.
As with most northeast college baseball stadiums, the bulk of the fans tend to be family or friends of both teams. There are a number of local residents who seem to be regulars at the games. The fans are knowledgeable and friendly to visitors.
There should be plenty of parking around the stadium, especially on weekend games. Some daytime in-semester games could be a bit busier.
The main problem with UMES is that it is isolated on the DelMarVa Peninsula, relatively far from any real city.
The only time that UMES feels like it is not out of the way is if you happen to stop by on the way to an early summer/late spring trip to Ocean City. Maryland. Route 50 that cuts through Salisbury is the main path for most visitors to that beach vacation spot.
Of course, being south of Salisbury, means that even on the way to the beach, UMES is a bit out of the way. Princess Anne will never be anything but out of the way for most people.
UMES baseball games are free to attend and parking is also free. This coupled with the cheap prices for food make this a good investment for a true baseball fan. You will use quite a bit of gas getting to the game in somewhat isolated DelMarVa Peninsula. Maybe coupled with a trip to Ocean City, it would make the trip to a game somewhat palatable.
The UMES athletic facilities have a strange little mini golf course located on an old basketball court right behind the stadium. It is not opened for general use but it is a strange little sight. Maybe it is used for student activities?
The campus is also a nice little quiet place that warrants a quick walk around. The new Student Services Center building looks very nice.
Hawk Stadium is a very basic baseball facility. And the MEAC can offer some interesting baseball games, so the low cost of attending a game can make it worth attending this out of the way stadium.
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30361 Mt Vernon Rd
Princess Anne, MD 21853
30424 Mt Vernon Rd
Princess Anne, MD 21853
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