Garrison Stadium – Chowan Hawks
Photos by Aaron S. Terry, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.43
Murfreesboro, NC 27855
D2 Football in Eastern NC
Chowan University, pronounced Cha-wan, is located in Murfreesboro, North Carolina – their football team plays at the D2 level of NCAA football, and their sports teams are known as the Hawks. The football team is a member of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association.
Garrison Stadium was conceived in the 1960s when the athletic department and college administrators teamed up to launch a campaign for a home venue for the football team. The university dedicated the stadium circa 1965 with seating on both sides and a furnished press box. Improvements to the stadium took place in July 2007 which included new lights, perimeter fencing, and upgrades to the Bermuda grass field. The financing was made through donors.
The stadium would be renamed to Garrison in December 1987 after long-time athletic director and head football coach, Jim Garrison. He won 150 games during his 27 years as head coach of the Hawks.
Food & Beverage 2
Garrison Stadium has 2 concession stands, one a fixed stand underneath the home side, and the other 2 small tents next to the visiting side. The menu is small, but has burgers, hot dogs, nachos, popcorn, and packaged candy; drinks include water, soda, and Gatorade. There are fewer items sold on the visiting side, but some of the prices are lower on that side (for example, $2 for a hot dog on the visiting side versus $3 on the home side).
The atmosphere at Chowan Stadium is okay, but the grass field does lack the sharpness of turf – for example, the logo at midfield and in the end zones are a little scuffed. There are not a ton of fans in the stands, and for some games, there might be more visiting fans than home fans. Also, there is not much going on besides the game itself in terms of entertainment, fan contests, etc., although the PA announcer does have a lot of charisma. Chowan’s band is also very small and sits on the visiting side.
Garrison Stadium is located on Chowan’s campus, and there are some fast food restaurants about a mile away along Highway 158. The Jefcoat Museum is the closest tourist attraction and showcases early American history. There is only one hotel near the stadium, but you can find others in the closest town over, Ahoskie. The closest major town, Norfolk, is an hour away.
Garrison Stadium doesn’t have a lot of fans, and some games have more visiting fans than home fans. There is a small tailgating scene on what is interestingly called The Grassy Knoll, next to the visiting stands. Chowan’s win-loss record is up and down from year to year, however, so the stadium should have more fans in better years.
There is free parking right next to the stadium (take Union St to Hawks Dr), and a walking path along the lake that connects the home side and visiting side. You are free to walk around during the game if you want to switch sides or visit the other concessions stand. The major downside in terms of access is simply how far off the beaten path Chowan is, but on the plus side, there is almost no traffic to contend with.
Return on Investment 2
Tickets to football games at Garrison Stadium are $11, which is pretty cheap as far as college football goes, and the concessions are inexpensive as well. However, given how few amenities the stadium offers, and the slightly outdated facilities, you may prefer to visit a different stadium for your sports dollar, unless your favorite team is playing here that day.
There is a football center behind one end zone which some fans watch from, and a big tent for the boosters behind one corner of the stadium. Even though there may not be many fans in the stands, it is nice to see a good group of financial and alumni supporters. There are also fountains and a bridge across the lake, along with ducks and geese if you would like to do some bird-watching/nature walking while at the game.