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Official Review by Richard Smith, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
There are times that something good can spring from something so horribly bad. Stevenson University and their wonderful athletic facilities are the good. The events of March 1984 was the bad, at least for the residents of Maryland.
At 2am on March 29th of that year, fifteen Mayflower moving trucks arrived at the Baltimore Colts training facility in Owings Mills, a northwest suburb of Baltimore. Workers loaded all of the team's belongings and the trucks left for Indianapolis arriving later that day to a massive welcome. The move happened in the dark since the Colt’s owner Bob Irsay feared the Maryland legislature would pass an eminent domain bill that would have legally barred the team from moving. The bill did indeed pass later that day but it was too late, as the locally beloved franchise was already gone.
The former training facility had, in the early years after the Colts left, some of its lands sold off by then property owners Baltimore City. The main building and field also were used as a training center for local police officers.
Football returned from 1994 to 1995 as the Baltimore Stallions of the Canadian Football League (CFL) used the training center. The Stallions were quite a success, easily the most successful of the United States CFL expansion teams, with strong attendance numbers and appearances in the CFL Grey Cup Championship Game in both years they were in town. In 1995 they even won that championship. But when the Cleveland Browns agreed to moved to Maryland, the Stallions realized that they needed to move on. Move they did, back to Canada and they are still known today as the Montreal Alouettes.
In 1996, the newly renamed Baltimore Ravens team took up residence in the Owings Mills facility. The team would move to a new center called the Under Armour Performance Center in 2004. That new facility is also referred to as “The Castle.”
Villa Julie College has always been a bit of a quirky place. Originally located in the Greenspring Valley of Baltimore County and its Stevenson neighborhood, the college was an all-girls school until 1972 and did not even offer bachelor degrees until 1984. It also was entirely non-residential.
But eventually the college desired to add housing and more of just about everything, so a new campus was added in Owings Mills. This expansion dramatically increased the college’s offerings and student population. In 2008, they decided they needed a new identity and changed their name to Stevenson University.
The Owings Mills campus just happened to be right next door to the old Baltimore Colts training facility. Stevenson acquired the building and land and used it as the center of their athletic department. In 2006 it re-opened as the Caves Sports and Wellness Center. Some of the locker rooms and facilities are similar to the ones left behind by the Ravens, with necessary remodeling done.
In addition, in 2010, the 38,000 square foot Owings Mills Gymnasium was added. In 2009 the university announced that a Division III football team would be in place by 2011 and would play at 3,500-seat Mustang Stadium, on the old practice fields of the Colts/Stallions/Ravens. The stadium is also home to the university’s soccer, lacrosse, and field hockey teams.
Ed Hottle has been the coach at Stevenson since they started. A Frostburg State graduate, Hottle also began the football program at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C.
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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 permanent food stand at Mustang Stadium. The prices are extremely fair, even if the menu is pretty limited. Hot dogs are $3, nachos $4.50, pretzels $2, and various candy is available for $1.50. Soda and water are on sale for $2.
The best bargains are the Family Meal Deals which include three hot dogs, three drinks and three chips for $12 or one hot dog, one pretzel, three bottled waters, and an order of nachos for $10.50. If I was there with my family buying these deals would be a given.
A temporary stand was also in place during my visit. Called "A Tribute to Maryland" it had a crab cake sandwich for $12 and a pit beef or turkey sandwich for $7. Platters for either were $2 more.
There is plenty of room on the concourse level if they wish to have other temporary food stands. Credit cards are accepted at the official food stand.
The impressive stadium has general admission seating for 3,000 along the west side of the playing field. There is also a large press box and club level with 440 club seats, patio and a President's Suite. A large student fitness center is also in the press box building and overlooks nearby Owings Mill Boulevard.
With no track at the stadium, the fans are afforded a pretty close view to the game action.
Stevenson has a full marching band and cheerleaders to afford a very good game day experience. The university has also put good thought into the team introductions, as it is done at a high level.
The concourse level also has a fully stocked team store if you decide to become a big Mustangs fan, or purchase a souvenir. The official campus store is located nearby, outside of the stadium, if you need additional options.
Owings Mills is a suburb of Baltimore. So there are plenty of shopping centers and restaurants in the area. A couple of well stocked places are within easy walking distance.
The closest options for places to go for food are Edo Mae Sushi (10995 Owings Mills Blvd), Five Guys Burgers and Fries (10902 Boulevard Circle) and Courtney's Bagel Cafe and Deli (11000 Owings Mills Blvd).
The innovative Stone's Cove Kitbar (10997 Owings Mills Blvd) is also quite close. What is a Kitbar? According to their website it "combines the design of a kitchen and a bar to create one large communal table that surrounds the restaurant's kitchen, putting guests right in the middle of the action." I just call it good. Their flatbreads, shrimp and grits, and lobster roll cone have to be tried. If you are legal drinking age one should also try out the Cucumber Basil Martini.
The Owings Mills station of the Baltimore Metro subway system is located about a mile away from campus.
The team has not been around long but fans are very into the game, and quite vocal for their team. If you did not know better, you would think this is a long standing team and program.
Owings Mills Boulevard has an exit off of nearby Interstate 795. The stadium is a pretty quick one mile trip from the highway. I worried about traffic in an area that is pretty busy even on normal days, but the traffic was no problem.
The university has plenty of parking in the area and there are no issues here. Parking is free.
General admission tickets are $7. If paying with cash or getting from will call, tickets are available at the stadium. If paying by credit card, you will need to visit the official campus store located across the driveway from the stadium.
With free parking and cheap, quality concessions, Stevenson University football is a good value.
The former home of three professional football teams, the Caves Sports and Wellness Center is worth a quick trip around the corner from Mustang Stadium. Try to remember 1984 and the pain and struggle that local football fans went through for years.
Next to the stadium is a statue of a mustang, the university's mascot. This is a good meet up spot and photo opportunity.
Besides being on historic ground, Stevenson University's Mustang Stadium offers the fans a great value, as well as a wonderful place to watch a football game.
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10995 Owings Mills Blvd
Owings Mills, MD 21117
10902 Boulevard Circle
Owings Mills, MD 21117
11000 Owings Mills Blvd
Owings Mills, MD 21117
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