Colloquially known as "The Rock," M.M. Roberts Stadium opened in 1932 as Faulkner Field, which held 4,000 in a wooden grandstand. Six years later, concrete grandstands, which also contained student dorms, were built on the east side, with help from the football team to haul the concrete - their efforts were the genesis of the facility’s nickname.
The stadium was completely rebuilt in the 1970s, which led to the current stands on the east and west sides. The press box was added in 1989, and the south end zone was enclosed in 2008, including glass-fronted specialty suites.
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".
M.M. Roberts stadium offers basic fare at low prices from cookie cutter stands on both sides of the venue.
Chicken sandwiches, barbecued pork, smoked sausage, hot dogs, hamburgers, and nachos are available at the stands along the east and west sides (either on the upper or lower level). You can also find peanuts, cotton candy, candy bars, Cracker Jack, and pretzels. There is one satellite stand on each side of the upper level that sells fries, but all of the other stands sell the exact same items.
While there are probably enough food choices to meet most tastes, the drink options leave a little to be desired - there are only three choices (Coke products from the fountain, bottled water, and frozen lemonade). However, you can't complain about the prices, because everything in the stadium costs $3, $4, or $5.
M.M. Roberts Stadium offers all of the typical amenities, including a very impressive band, a beautiful campus, and a stadium design that nicely blends modern and vintage elements.
The architecture and setting is what really catches the eye - the sleek athletic center and modern box seats in the end zones almost make you forget that most of the stadium is over 40 years old. The arches built onto the ends of the east and west stands are even carried over into the seating on the south side (which features a curved design with multiple arches). It is also pleasant to look out from the stadium onto the Southern Miss campus, which features plenty of greenery.
The band dresses smartly and does the typical formations, and there are plenty of flags being waved and run across the field after scores. But the most impressive display is the "Eagle Walk" on the east side - best approached from the south; this is a progression of brightly-colored banners displaying the team's accomplishments over the years.
Almost all of the seating at M.M. Roberts is metal bleachers without chair backs, including the new seating on the south side - there are only a few rows of bucket-style chair back seats at the top of the first level on the east side, and a few additional rows on the second and third levels on the south side. Like many smaller football venues, the north end zone has no seating, but instead contains the athletic center and a massive video board.
The best seats in the house are on the plaza above the south end zone. Fans can stand here and look down on the field, and even sit at tables complete with umbrellas.
Hattiesburg, Mississippi is a small town not far from the Gulf of Mexico (almost in Mississippi's pan-handle). In fact, easily three-quarters of its population of 47,000 could fit inside the stadium.
However, the proximity to the coast means seafood is what you should look for when you visit - while there aren't many eateries near the stadium proper (which is located in the heart of campus), there are a couple of great seafood places within a few miles. A popular one is Marlins Bar & Grill on 26th Ave (aka US 49), which features fun tropical-themed cocktails and a wide selection of seafood entrées.
The most popular attractions in Hattiesburg are the zoo and the military museums (the Armed Forces Museum and the African American Military History Museum). The zoo is open daily except Monday, and the African American Military History Museum is open Wednesday through Saturday. The Armed Forces Museum was under renovation during my most recent visit, but should reopen in 2016.
There are no hotels within walking distance of M.M. Roberts Stadium, but there are plenty of options, at varying price points, on the west side of campus, closer to I-59.
Southern Miss has a surprisingly solid fan base for a team in a mid-major conference.
In a good year, M.M. Roberts Stadium will be at least two-thirds full for most games, and oftentimes more. You will see plenty of tailgating all around the stadium, with tents up to half a mile away in some areas (since parking is a little difficult).
The noise level inside the stadium is certainly impressive, and you will see plenty of black and gold, as the majority of fans sport team gear. The crowd will get plenty loud, even when their team is performing poorly, as avid fans vent their frustrations on the referees (and sometimes their own team's play callers).
Because M.M. Roberts is literally in the heart of USM's campus, parking is difficult, and the bathrooms are narrow and difficult to navigate. But at least the venue is easy to get in and out of.
Most fans park pretty far away from the stadium (on the south side). The good news is you can generally find free parking, but the bad news is there is no signage helping you figure out where. Paying for parking is comforting at times like this because at least you know you are allowed to park there without your car being towed. But with no attendant in sight, you may want to confirm with a fellow fan (who attends USM games more often) if it is ok to park in the lot you have chosen.
There is only one entrance that sells tickets (southwest corner) so you may want to bring your tickets with you, instead of relying on will call. Other than that, getting in and out of the stadium is pretty easy. There is a ramp entrance in the middle on both the east and west sides, for fans with seats in the upper deck. These are convenient because they let you skip all of the other traffic, and go right to your seat. For fans on the lower level, there are entrances at the south end on each side.
Moving around M.M. Roberts Stadium is easy because there are no stairs - just "flat" pathways and the two ramps, and the concourses are more than wide enough to accommodate everyone. The bathrooms, however, leave much to be desired - built long ago, they are long with narrow entrances, and thus difficult to get in and out of (even the ones on the press/suite level).
Attending a Southern Miss football game is a great value for the cost, offering a solid experience at a low cost, making it an easy entertainment choice even if you are bringing a large group.
The fans make it fun, and the setting and design of the stadium make it enjoyable to walk around and take it all in. Concessions are very cheap, parking (while possibly a little far away) is free, and tickets are very inexpensive due to the many promotions USM offers.
For many games, tickets can be found for about $10, and USM even offers interesting promotions, such as name your own price, where you pick which yard line you want to sit at, and see if the ticket office accepts your "bid." You can also find them cheap on the secondary market since the stadium doesn't usually quite sell out.
The campus is also really pretty - even in late November there is plenty of greenery, and the buildings around the stadium are nice to look at as you walk to and from the stadium, and even during the game.
The proximity to the gulf is also a bonus. While certainly not within walking distance, if you wanted to stay for the weekend you would have plenty of time for a nice day trip to the sea.
While Conference USA might not have the panache of the SEC or the Big 10, when it comes to football venues there are certainly some gems here, and M.M. Roberts Stadium is one of them. So make a point to visit the next time you are in the area. It will be well worth your time.
Nothing beats football Saturdays in the South and one of the best places to experience all the pageantry is M. M. Roberts Stadium at the University of Southern Mississippi. The stadium affectionately known as "The Rock" was originally opened in 1979, but its history dates back to the late 1930's.
The Rock was already one of the toughest environments in which to play in Conference USA, but the stadium was closed in on the south end zone to give 4,000 more seats and added luxury suite boxes to bump the total capacity to 36,000 seats. The north end zone houses a HD scoreboard and athletic field house.
The Rock gives fans the ability to be right near the action and exposes them to one of the best atmospheres in the South. The Pride of Mississippi Band and the Dixie Darlings make this a great experience for any sports fan.
M.M. Roberts Stadium is home to the Southern Miss Golden Eagles, one of the nations most successful football teams. Nicknamed, "The Rock," the stadium is state of the art, with several suites/clubs, huge scoreboard, and great sight-lines all around. The fans pack the stadium and are very passionate and loud all game. Great football for a great price! Southern Miss... To the TOP!
M.M. Roberts Stadium or better known as (The Rock) is a stadium located at The University of Southern Mississippi. The stadium is known for its crazy loud environment especially in CUSA! USM probably has one of the loudest stadiums in the league but here is the real kicker the stadium could be 20x better and maybe a regional destination in the south. The problem is the fans in Hattiesburg and south MS are mostly SEC fans and really don't show the kind of support that could be for The Rock! Its really a shame...the rock could be a special place. People of south MS need to understand and realize that Southern Miss represents the people of Southern Mississippi and they need to become loyal to who they are and represent their university and athletic programs.
Many talented football players have called M. M. Roberts Stadium their home field during college. Players such as Brett Favre, Ray Guy, Patrick Surtain, and Louis Lipps played their college ball for the Golden Eagles.
Originally opened in 1932 with a capacity of 4,000 fans under the name of Faulkner Field, The Rock now holds 36,000 fans after an expansion closed in the southern end zone of the stadium in 2008. With a record breaking crowd attending a game in Hattiesburg in 2009, it seemed Southern Miss and M. M. Roberts Stadium were well on their way to Conference USA dominance, and in fact, the Golden Eagles reached the top in 2011 with a Conference USA championship.
However, mired in a losing streak that has stretched over two seasons in 2012 and 2013, hard times have fallen in Hattiesburg.
"'The Rock' at Southern Miss" is a Special Place of Quality over Quantity--a cozy close-to-the-field setting where capacity crowds have witnessed electrifying and memorable Victories over the likes of highly-ranked and undefeated TCU, long-time conference foe Louisville, "name" teams like Virginia and Illinois, and in-State rival Mississippi State--plus competitive/entertaining/bowl-influencing close loses to the likes of Florida State, Cal, Nebraska, and Texas A & M!
The double-deck stands are "flat" (with no curving away-from-the-field concave), with no running track and a very close-to-the-goal enclosed south end-zone, so that the fans are exceptionally close to the field at a very steep angle, making the crowd seem "right on top" of the [opposing] players--meaning our 35,000 fan noise can sound like a crowd of twice that number! Very disrupting and intimidating!! (Just ask the visiting quarterbacks who've played there since 1976!!!)
"There's not a 'bad seat' in the house!"
"Hattiesburg--'THE HUB CITY' of Southern Miss!"
And of course the City of Hattiesburg (where USM is strategically located in the very Heart of the City [known as "Midtown"]) is the cultural, social, economic, medical, governmental, educational, retail, and transportation "Capital" of South Mississippi and much of the central Gulf South: New Orleans, the State Capital, the unique Mississippi Gulf Coast, Mobile and the beautiful Florida panhandle are just 2 to 3 easy hours or less away--so naturally that's a Major Plus for all things Southern Miss! SMTTT ["Southern Miss--To The Top!!!"]
3803 W 4th St
Hattiesburg, MS 39401
1315 Hardy St
Hattiesburg, MS 39401
122 Carlisle St
Hattiesburg, MS 39402
2895 W 4th St
Hattiesburg, MS 39401
107 S 17th Ave
Hattiesburg, MS 39401
1001 Lee Ave W
Hattiesburg, MS 39407
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