Bob Ford Field at Tom and Mary Casey Stadium - Albany Great Danes Lacrosse
Photos by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.86
Bob Ford Field at Tom and Mary Casey Stadium
1400 Washington Ave.
Albany, NY 12222
Year Opened: 2013
Great Dane Lacrosse
The University of Albany first sponsored a lacrosse team in 1970. The Great Danes began to play in Division III, where they qualified for three NCAA tournaments before moving up to Division II for the 1995 season. The highlight of their six seasons of competition in Division II was finishing as national runners-up in 1997.
UAlbany moved up to Division I for the 2000 season. Since moving to the sport’s top division, they have experienced a great deal of success, qualifying for ten NCAA Tournaments and reaching the Final Four in 2018. Among the Great Dane’s lacrosse alumni is Lyle Thompson, who is considered one of the sport’s all-time greatest players. Thompson won the Tewaaraton Trophy, given to college lacrosse’s player of the year, in 2014 and 2015. He is the only player to win the award twice. His brother, Miles, shared the award with Lyle in 2014.
The Great Danes lacrosse team traditionally played at John Fallon Field, located just to the north of Casey Stadium. As the lacrosse program grew in popularity over the years, the 2,500-seat venue became too small for the team’s needs. In 2015 the Danes played their first game at Casey Stadium and continue to play there today.
Bob Ford Field at Tom and Mary Casey Stadium is named for the longtime football coach at UAlbany. Ford also served as the men’s lacrosse coach from 1971-1973 and as the school’s Athletic Director from 1978-1982. Ford retired after the 2013 football season, coaching for one year in a stadium named for him. The facility was given its current full name after Tom and Mary Casey donated $10 million to the school in 2015.
Food & Beverage 2
There is one concession stand open during the Great Dane lacrosse games. A basic menu is offered here featuring hot dogs, pretzels, popcorn, chips, and assorted snacks. It’s not the most diverse menu around, but it will do the job if you need a snack during the game. Pepsi products are featured at Casey Stadium. No alcohol is permitted inside the venue during lacrosse games.
Lacrosse games generally feature a fun, party atmosphere. As you approach Casey Stadium you’ll notice the tailgate setups in the season ticket holder lot. Fans will get here pretty early to prepare themselves for the game. The tailgates are not as numerous as they are on football Saturdays, but that doesn’t diminish the atmosphere here.
Lacrosse fans in general are a bit louder and more enthusiastic than many of their counterparts. It’s no different at UAlbany. The many family members in attendance seem to make their presence known. With a good turnout by the student body, the stands at Casey Stadium are filled with noise and activity.
There’s a video board in the south end zone that is put to good use with game stats, videos, and graphics. The sound system is excellent, with music playing during all stoppages. The PA announcer does a great job of injecting some energy into the proceedings. Shooting contests for younger fans in attendance and t-shirt tosses add to the fun atmosphere.
The University of Albany is located in northwest Albany, out near the airport. Downtown Albany and the state capital are located about a 15-minute drive away. The area around campus, particularly along Route 20 (Western Ave.), features a great many dining options in the vicinity of the University. A complete listing of dining options can be found here. You’ll find many options for lodging on the north side of campus near Interstate 90. You can find a listing of all local hotels here.
Lacrosse fans just seem to be a different breed. When compared to fans at a school’s other sports, lax fans appear to be just a little louder, a little more involved, and a little more connected to the team than other fans. At UAlbany, Great Dane lax fans fit this description to a “T.” The lower-level stands are abuzz with enthusiasm and noise throughout the game, particularly when the Great Danes are playing well.
Albany draws between 1,000 and 1,500 fans per game at Casey Stadium. There’s a good turnout here from the student body and the requisite amount of family members in the stands. Remember that the lacrosse season runs from February through May. Crowds increase in number as the weather warms throughout the season. Even with larger crowds in attendance, there’s plenty of room to spread out at Casey Stadium.
The University of Albany is located in the northwestern part of New York’s capital city, right by the intersection of Interstates 90 and 87. The downtown area is about a 15-minute ride from campus. The Albany airport is just a 10-minute ride to the north. Casey Stadium is situated on the southern edge of the sprawling campus, near the school’s other athletic facilities. Entering campus via Route 20 (Western Ave.) gives visitors the easiest access to Varsity Field.
There is a small parking lot adjacent to the stadium which is reserved for season ticket holders. Other visiting fans will be forced to park in the more distant Dutch lots, located about a half mile from the stadium. Fans will also be forced to pay a premium for the privilege. The area around the athletic facilities is well-manicured with wide sidewalks for easy access.
Casey Stadium consists of a single large grandstand on the west side of the field, with a berm on the north end of the facility. Bleachers on the east side of the field are not utilized for lacrosse games. A narrow concourse runs along the top of the lower deck. Center sections of the lower deck contain individual stadium seats, while the remainder of the seating consists of metal bleachers without backs on both levels. Views of the field are excellent from all seating areas.
The restrooms are clean and large enough for a typical Great Dane crowd. Lines are not an issue here or at the single open concession stand. There’s even a small souvenir stand on the main concourse.
Return on Investment 2
Tickets for Great Dane lacrosse games start at $30 for chairback seats in the central grandstand sections, with lower-level bleacher seats priced at $25 and upper-level bleacher seats priced at $20. Children’s tickets are discounted at $10. Add on a two-dollar handling charge, and tickets to a UAlbany lax game are not cheap!
Likewise, you’re going to pay to park at UAlbany. Parking in the preferred lot adjacent to the stadium will cost you $20 if you can even get in. Generally, these spots are reserved for season ticket holders, with a few spots available on a game-to-game basis.
Parking in the Dutch lots, about a half-mile walk from the stadium, will still cost you $15. Fans looking for free parking can park on the far side of Varsity Field in the lot behind the Management Services Center. It’s a good walk to get here. Judging by the number of cars here, it’s not an option chosen by many fans.
Concession prices are not outrageous for a sports venue but overall, you will spend a bit more money at a UAlbany lacrosse game than you might expect.
Digital programs are available for all fans in attendance. There’s a small pro shop on the concourse which sells Great Dane gear. Flags of all the America East Conference teams fly atop the east side bleachers.
During their time in Division One, the Albany Great Danes have been a constant presence in the postseason. At Casey Stadium, the team enjoys a modern, comfortable home at which fans can enjoy some quality lacrosse.