- Lloyd Brown
Haynes and Carolyn Hill Stadium at Lynn Cottrell Park - North Georgia Nighthawks
Photos by Lloyd Brown, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.14
Haynes and Carolyn Hill Stadium at Lynn Cottrell Park 201 Barlow Rd Dahlonega, GA 30597
North Georgia Nighthawks website Haynes and Carolyn Hill Stadium at Lynn Cottrell Park website
Year Opened: 2009 Capacity: 222
There’s a Softball Park in Them Thar Hills!
The University of North Georgia (UNG) opened in 1873. It is in Dahlonega, GA, and has a student body of 18,046. Its’ largest areas of study are biology, psychology, and business. The University of North Georgia is one of only six senior military colleges in the U.S. Students are not required to be in the military programs at UNG, but a sizable percentage of the student body does enroll in the military sciences area of study.
The athletic team at UNG are known as the Nighthawks. They participate in sports at the Division II level of the NCAA as a member of the Peach Belt Conference. This conference includes smaller schools from the states of Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina.
The home of Nighthawks softball is the on-campus Haynes and Carolyn Hill Stadium, more popularly known as simply “The Hill”. It is in Lynn Cottrell Park, UNG’s Outdoor Athletic Complex. It opened in time for the 2009 season and has a seating capacity of 222, plus a terraced area beyond the outfield walls. Major improvements since its’ 2009 opening include the addition of the FieldTurf artificial turf in 2014 and the installation of a new video board in 2020.
The softball team is a longtime powerhouse in Division II softball, as it has won 50 or more games per season six times since moving into The Hill. This includes seven trips to the NCAA Division II Championship round and four visits to the Division II Super Regionals. The Lady Nighthawks were the National Champions for Division II in 2015. They have won eleven Sun Belt Season Championships since the stadium opened, as well as fourteen Sun Belt Tournament Championships.
The NCAA has also recognized The Hill as an excellent facility, as it served as the site for the Southeastern Regionals of Division II from 2009-2012 and 2014-2019. North Georgia University firmly believes that the stadium and its ongoing improvements have been a boon to its recruiting efforts.
Food & Beverage 4
There is one concession stand located at Coleman Field House. The stand is well-staffed, and the lines move quickly.
The stand serves a very basic ballpark standards menu. However, the prices at the concession stand are much lower than we find at most college venues. The menu includes hot dogs ($3.75), nachos ($3.75), pretzels ($3.50), candy ($2.25), and chips ($1.25). The stand carries Coca-Cola brand beverages ($2) and bottled water ($2). Beer is not sold on the University of North Georgia campus.
Haynes and Carolyn Hill Stadium is a great place to enjoy a Nighthawks softball game. It is a very modern facility, as it opened in only 2009. The ballpark features the blue, gold, and white team colors of UNG. The ballpark is in a valley, between several forested hills, which form a backdrop beyond the outfield walls. The grandstand is located behind home plate, and it features some very comfortable chairback seats.
Fans have a great view of the action no matter where they are in the bleachers. The entire field, including the infield base paths, is made of a synthetic surface. This is due to the harsh weather conditions in February when the softball season gets underway. The Nighthawks have very few rainouts during the season.
The ballpark also features a state-of-the-art electronics package. There is a large videoboard in left-center field behind the outfield wall. It was installed in 2020. The videoboard features each batter’s name and background information as they come to the plate, in addition, it also provides information on the upcoming games. The sound system at The Hill is extremely clear.
UNG is in Dahlonega, GA. Dahlonega was the site of the first Gold Rush in the U.S. in 1828. Gold in very small amounts can still be found in the area. The city of Dahlonega is located 66 miles north of Atlanta in the North Georgia mountains.
The heart of Dahlonega is Courthouse Square, which is just two blocks east of the UNG campus. The square is filled with unique shops, great restaurants, and services that fill the everyday needs of both the year-round population and the UNG student body. The old courthouse in the square is now home to the Dahlonega Gold Rush State Historic Site Museum.
Among the more popular businesses located on the square are the Dahlonega Brewing Company, and the iconic Smith House Inn and Restaurant. The Smith House Inn opened in 1899 and is still an active lodging site. Its’ restaurant is famous for its family-style dining, and it is packed regularly with both locals and tourists.
Dahlonega hosts several festivals each year, with the biggest being Gold Rush Days in October. This festival celebrates both the town’s heritage with gold and the fall leaf colors in the North Georgia mountains.
The area is also a hub for the wine industry in Georgia. There are more than 15 wineries amongst the hills surrounding the town. The surrounding mountains also draw many outdoor enthusiasts to the area for hiking, white water rafting, and mountain biking.
For more information on things to do during your stay in the area, go to www.dahlonega.org.
The fan base at Nighthawk games consists of students, parents, and family members of the players as well as the townspeople of Dahlonega.
UNG and the townspeople of Dahlonega share a great town/gown relationship. UNG is the only sports game in town, other than the lone high school in the county. Fans proudly wear the UNG colors, even if they have no official link to the school.
The UNG campus and The Hill are located 66 miles north of Atlanta. They are easily reached via Highway 400 and US Highway 19. Once in Dahlonega, turn left at Morrison Parkway. Go 1.5 miles and turn left at Barlow Road. Parking and the ballpark will be on your left.
Directions from Atlanta: Take Highway 400/US 19 North for 32 miles. When Highway 400 ends, continue on Highway 19 North for 8 miles. Turn left at the red light for South Chestatee Street (US 19) This will bring you up and over a steep hill that overlooks the city of Dahlonega.
After you have passed the hospital, go down the hill to the next traffic light. Turn left onto Morrison Moore Parkway. Turn left on Barlow Road. The parking lot and The Hill will be on your left. You can park in any space in the lot.
Gates to the ballpark open one hour before the first pitch, leaving you plenty of time to watch batting practice or visit the concession stand in Coleman Field House.
Return on Investment 5
You will not break the bank when you attend a softball game at Haynes and Carolyn Hill Stadium. Parking is free anywhere within the Lynn Cottrell Athletics Park. Ticket prices are $10.00 for General Admission seats and $7.00 for Seniors/Students/Military.
The items at the concession stand are priced well below the typical costs charged at most college venues.
Programs for the softball games are free, as they are digital, and are available by snapping a photo of the QR code at the entrance to the ballpark. Lodging in the area can be found for less than $100 during the softball season.
The University of North Georgia turns 150 years old in 2023. Several special observances will be held throughout the season, highlighting the athletic achievements of various Nighthawk teams over the years.
Dahlonega gold covers the steeple of the Price Memorial Hall on the UNG campus and the Georgia State Capitol Dome in Atlanta.
As an active Senior Military College, UNG still has military observances of Reveille, Retreat, and Taps. While only students in the military studies programs observe Reveille and Taps, all students, faculty, and staff stop when Retreat is sounded at 5 pm. They stop whatever they are doing and put their hands over their hearts and face the Drill Field while the Colors are taken down and the cannon on the field is fired.
Zac Brown of the Zac Brown Band is a native of Dahlonega and he took classes at UNG.
Haynes and Carolyn Hill Stadium provide a better-than-average experience for small college softball fans. Its’ state-of-the-art facility offers a beautiful setting amongst the North Georgia mountains, with an electronics package that you would expect to have at a much larger school. The fan base is a model of town/gown cooperation, with everyone wearing the school colors. Finally, the town of Dahlonega offers visitors plenty of things to do before or after the game.