Dickerson Stadium – West Virginia State Yellow Jackets
Photos by Aaron S. Terry, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.57
Dickerson Stadium Stadium Dr Dunbar, WV 25064
Year Opened: 1963
Building Better in Dunbar
Dickerson Stadium, home of the West Virginia State Yellow Jackets (yes, two words) is in the midst of some great renovations that will make the venue better and better over time. Opened in 1963 and holding 5,000 fans (about 20% more than the school’s enrollment), the facility recently added a turf field, lighting so the team can host night games, a new athletics center on the northwest side, and new bleachers on the visiting side – next on the list, when they receive enough donations, is a new set of home stands complete with press box and new concessions.
Food & Beverage 4
The concessions selection at Dickerson Stadium is not bad, but not as wide as at some other sports venues you might have been to – on offer are pizza, hot dogs, nachos, candy, chips, popcorn, canned soda, bottled water, coffee, hot cocoa, Gatorade. The pizza is actually phenomenal, however, and on the plus side the prices are very low – canned sodas and bottled water are only $1 each, which is crazy good, and the most expensive thing on the menu is only $4 (hot dog with chili; a slice of pizza or hot dog sans chili is only $3). Note that the concessions are cash only, however, so please plan accordingly.
The staff does a lot here to enhance the gameday atmosphere, which makes up for the still dated home stands – for example before the game and after WVSU scores, the stadium lights flicker on and off in various sequences (during night games only of course), which is a really great effect for fans to see – this occurs most prominently between the 3rd and 4th quarters and at halftime, as well as after WVSU scores. There is also what I call a ‘glitter cannon’, which launches gold foil confetti into the air after each Yellow Jacket score, which is another great effect, especially at night when the accompanying light show makes the foil pieces glitter even brighter. The Jackets also have a great mascot (Yellow Jacket-dressed individual, complete with stinger) who leads the team onto the field, and a great band in the form of the WVSU Marching Swarm. The cheerleaders also perform (from a spot right in front of the home side bleachers) throughout the game to pump up the fans in attendance.
Yellow Jacket Mascot, Photo by Aaron S. Terry, Stadium Journey
The only drawback I would mention is the wooden bleachers on the home side, which are peeling and at least in need of new paint, if not replacement – but as I mentioned the University is planning to upgrade these as soon as possible. The metal bleachers on the visiting side are actually in better shape, so I would recommend sitting there instead if you want to avoid potential splinters (although of course the visiting side doesn’t have any concessions below it, so it would mean extra walking if you do sit over there). I would also mention the scoreboard is static, so if you miss a play you will not be able to re-watch it on screen; there is a videoboard section, however, that plays team graphics sometimes, such as during third downs or after home team scores. There is also a team gear stand near the main entrance.
Dickerson Stadium is located on the banks of the Kanawha River (pronounced Ka-naw) in the small town of Dunbar, WV. The Pitch Sports Bar & Grill is nearby, as is Ridge View BBQ, which oddly enough boasts the best wings in the state. There is not a lot to do in Dunbar itself, being mainly home to West Virginia State University, but Charleston is only 5-10 minutes away, which offers plenty of hotel, dining, and entertainment options if you plan to be in town for the day or weekend.
WVSU football boasts some pretty solid fans, the home stands being pretty full even in years when the team is not doing so well on the field. You will also see plenty of fans sporting the Yellow Jackets black and gold, and those in attendance cheer loudly for their team.
Dickerson Stadium is easy to get to, not far from I-64 and only a few miles down the road from Charleston, WV (where I-77 and I-64 meet up). There is also free parking right in front of the facility, making for an easy walk into the stadium. The main entrance is actually on the visiting side, but there is a walking path around the southeast end (the northeast end is blocked off to fans) so you can get to the home stands.
Dickerson Stadium Main Entrance, Photo by Aaron S. Terry, Stadium Journey
The only concessions are located underneath the home stands, as are the only bathrooms. The bathrooms themselves are a little dilapidated, but again the school is planning to replace the whole shebang on the home side as soon as they get the funding, so this should improve over time.
Return on Investment 4
Admission is only $15 for football games at Dickerson Stadium, which is a great deal to see college football, especially adding in the cheap concessions and free parking. This is a pretty good return on investment for the mostly-modern stadium, with new lights, new brightly colored turf, and the light shows, mascot, and cheer squads enhancing your experience.
The Yellow Jackets have great uniforms – black shirts and black pants with a large gold logo on one side of the helmet. The scoreboard also displays game stats throughout the game, i.e. rushing yards/passing yards/penalties, which is not common but great for football junkies who like to keep track of such things. I also can’t say enough about the light shows throughout the game.
West Virginia State University is a D2 program, so you may not expect much from your visit. Certainly it doesn’t have all the pomp and ceremony of some of the bigger FBS programs, for example, but it is a great experience for this level of football, and on the plus side the small, intimate stadium means it is much easier to move around than the larger venues, and you can also get much, much closer to the action – if you are able I would definitely recommend a visit to Dickerson Stadium. Go, Jackets!