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Official Review by Richard Smith, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
McDaniel College is a private four-year liberal arts college in Westminster, Maryland. It was established in 1867 and until 2002 was known as Western Maryland College. The name of the college did not reflect the geographic placement of the school as it is not located in the western part of the state. Instead it was named for the Western Maryland Railroad, which it shared some common board members.
The new name of the college honored alumnus William Roberts McDaniel and his 65-year association with the school.
Westminster is located 30 miles northwest of Baltimore and is a far suburb of that city. Over 160,000 people live in the area and the surrounding area of Carroll County, Maryland.
The football team at the college has had a long history. It was all the way back in 1891 when the first game was played against rival Gettysburg College. The Green Terror was a powerhouse in college football from 1925 to 1934. During that decade the Terror Squad had three undefeated seasons. The Green Terror were nationally ranked and beat schools such as Boston College, Bucknell University, University of Maryland College Park, Georgetown University, and Temple University. Baltimore's Memorial Stadium was a second home for many of the school's games.
Another historic moment for the school's program was in 1992 when McDaniel became the first college football team to play in Russia. Against an all-Europe team The Green Terror won 47 to 4.
The unique Green Terror's name stems from how teams would describe the Western Maryland players as "Terrors" on the field. The name stuck and since 1923 they have been known as the Green Terror.
McDaniel College plays as a member of the Division III Centennial Conference against schools such as Johns Hopkins University, Ursinus College, and Franklin & Marshall College.
The current stadium grounds have been the home to the Green Terror for most of the program's history, much of that as Hoffa Field. In 2012 McDaniel opened the new Kenneth R. Gill Stadium during halftime ceremonies of that year's Homecoming football game. The new stadium includes new seating, concessions, press box, coaches' rooms, observation boxes, plus the Sydney Albrittain Hospitality Suite.
The fields of McDaniel College/Western Maryland College was also the summer training camp of the Baltimore Ravens until the 2011 season when the team chose to relocate spring training to their main Owings Mills, Maryland facility. The old Baltimore Colts had also used the college as a training ground for many years.
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 one single concession stand located behind the new grandstand. It is a simple affair, but it is a great place for cheap hot dogs, hamburgers and the general basics. Nothing costs more than $5. It is basic, but a place for a quick bite and nothing more.
The atmosphere is very good at the game, but it is a bit divided. Tailgating is such a big deal here at McDaniel, so most of the fans gather in that area east of the football field. They can watch the game all while enjoying their party. This has been a longstanding tradition here. But it does mean that the fans in the main grandstand, oddly enough, seem to be away from the main part of the action.
The new stands are very nice. There are some seats with seat backs, but the rest are simple bench type seating, although there is a large amount of legroom, which is nice.
There is a small concourse under the grandstands which houses the small concession stand and some history of the school and its athletic programs.
The only other issue is that the track that surrounds the football field does keep the fans a bit away from the game action. There is a nice scoreboard on the south end of the field. The school also has the requisite cheerleader squad to help in the game atmosphere.
Westminster, being a far suburb of Baltimore, is in a pretty traditional suburban setting. Baugher's Restaurant and Farm Market is located nearby to campus and is one of the best family type restaurants around and offers no better place to buy fresh produce.
Downtown Westminster is also not far away. Here you can find some good choices such as O'Lordan's Irish Pub and Restaurant and Maggie's.
The tailgate setting here at this small college is one of the strongest around. In 2011, McDaniel was ranked 6th in the country for best tailgating by The Weather Channel, due to the ability for fans to park their cars practically on the field and actually grill & drink, a tradition that dates to the 1920s. McDaniel College is also ranked in Southern Living Magazine for the top 20 of the "South's Best Tailgates."
These are great football fans. McDaniel can have an average attendance over 5,000 and highs as much as 7,200, although the actual stadium itself holds dramatically less than those figures.
The stadium grandstands themselves seem to offer a great deal less in the terms of fan atmosphere. The fans over in this side tend to be a bit quieter than the tailgating ones.
The parking can be a bit tight as it is a small college and there is only so many places to park. Parking is free, although you can choose to pay $10 for close parking, as well as pay for tailgate spots.
Westminster is a small town so large crowds can easily overwhelm the streets around the school. Plan ahead and it won't be a large issue.
Route 140 is the main route from the Baltimore area towards Westminster and it stems from the end of Baltimore's I-795. Access to Baltimore, Washington D.C. and central Pennsylvania is fairly easy.
Attending a Green Terror game is free. It is incredible that for absolutely nothing you can attend a game with such a good atmosphere.
Even if you do end up paying for parking the value here is strong.
The tailgate scene alone deserves some attention. Being able to watch the football game while still attending your tailgate event is a nice twist. Stop by some of the parties and make some new friends.
The Western Maryland Railroad caboose is located next to the playing field and in the heart of the tailgate zone. The iconic piece of memorabilia just looks cool and can be a great meeting place for friends. The school also uses it as a home to gametime merchandise sales.
Also make sure to make some time to view the plaques about the school's athletic history located in the stadium concourse.
McDaniel College is a great place to watch a game, tailgate with some friends and soak in some local athletic history all in the same great location.
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289 W Main St
Westminster, MD 21158
310 E Green St
Westminster, MD 21157
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