Paladin Stadium – Furman Paladins
Photos by Aaron S. Terry, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.71
Paladin Stadium 1300 Duncan Chapel Rd Greenville, SC 29613
Year Opened: 1981
Purple Powerhouse in the FCS
Furman football won the FCS National Championship back in 1988 and was the first private school to do so; they have also been to the big game two other times, and are 4th in the FCS in terms of playoff appearances with 18. The Paladins have won the Southern Conference 14 times, which is also a league record, and lately the team is often ranked in the FCS top five. Furman plays its home football games at on-campus Paladin Stadium, which seats 16,000 and has had a turf field since 2013.
Food & Beverage 5
Despite its small size, Paladin Stadium has pretty much everything you could want for food and drink at a football game. Chicken sandwiches, hot dogs, pulled pork sandwiches, pizza, nachos, pretzels, popcorn, chips, candy bars, cotton candy, bottled water, Pepsi products, fresh-squeezed lemonade, shaved ice, funnel cake, and fried Oreos are all available with nothing costing over $6, including beer and wine, which are available either under the main grandstand or in the hospitality section (wristband required, look for the ID check station next to the visitor stands). Alcohol selections include Bud, Bud Light, Michelob Ultra, Michelob seltzers, and several options from Wicked Weed. There is also a food truck under the visitor stands which sells frozen dipped bananas/cheesecake, ice cream bars, and caramel apples.
Games at Paladin Stadium are a lot of fun, especially given how well the team is playing of late, meaning they have a good chance of winning most of their games. There is a great tailgating atmosphere outside the stadium, and great décor as well with the bright purple splashes of Furman’s logo all over the venue. The highlight of the day is undoubtedly the Paladins mascot, a real chainmail-clad knight riding his trusty steed – the horse and knight lead the team onto the field prior to kickoff, and then spend the rest of the game entertaining fans in the hospitality section behind the south end zone (which anyone at the game can enter). The horse is super-gentle, and his human rider openly invites children and others to pet the horse or take photos with it; this is a great experience if you have little ones along or happen to like equines.
Live Mascot, Photo by Aaron S. Terry, Stadium Journey
Another fun thing to do at Paladin Stadium (besides taking in the football of course) is to walk around the facility and enjoy all the amenities. The aforementioned hospitality zone behind the south end zone is open to all fans, and includes tents you can stand under and watch the game from, complete with electric fans to keep you cool, but also has cornhole you can play, and also has the aforementioned horse and rider mascot. You can also find selfie opportunities like the knight painted on the side of the main stands, and there is also Furman-themed artwork to enjoy.
Paladin Stadium is on Furman University’s campus, nestled next to a lake and a golf course. While serene and picturesque, the stadium and surrounding area are actually almost completely sheltered by trees, so it is a little hard to find the facility, as you can’t see it until you get really close (my GPS couldn’t handle it, so I had to stop and ask for directions). As such there is not much that is walkable from the stadium in terms of restaurants and hotels, but you can find a couple of things within a 5 to 10-minute drive as you get closer to Greenville proper; two good food options nearby are Michael’s Cajun Seafood and Wings, or Pete’s on Poinsett.
The closest hotels (Best Western, Hampton, and Swamp Rabbit Inn) are about 5-10 minutes north of campus, but the only nearby attractions to speak of (besides the University itself) are the aforementioned Swan Lake and Furman University Golf Course, and nearby Paris Mountain State Park – the much larger town of Greenville, SC provides additional options if you prefer to drive a little further.
Paladin Stadium draws a decent crowd, but you may see a lot of empty seats on the home side. Depending on the opponent, in fact, you may even see more fans sitting on the visitors side of the field, and a lot of the tailgating outside the stadium consists of tents showing the colors of the opposing team.
Even though Furman University is located in a pretty big town, getting to the campus and stadium itself is a little tricky. The best way to get there is to take Poinsett Highway (aka Highway 276) heading north – the stadium will be to your left although you won’t be able to see it through the trees – and take the exit for Furman University (which is on the right side of the road, but will spin you around left to the heart of campus). If you pass the solar farm you missed it, but you can take a left a little further down on Roe Ford, then veer left onto Marchbanks/Glenrose/Ole Roe Ford, then follow Ole Roe Ford past the lake and the chapel to the stadium.
Once you get to Paladin Stadium you can park next to the facility or at the chapel for $10 (easier if pre-paid but okay if not). Getting around the stadium is really easy, and even if you enter at the wrong gate you can cut through the hospitality section in the south end zone to get to your seat on the other side.
Return on Investment 4
Tickets to games at Paladin Stadium start at $25, and concessions are pretty reasonable compared to other sports venues at this level. The nice thing about Furman football games is that you won’t have to fight a big crowd, and that you can get pretty close to the action given the size of the facility.
The live mascot is definitely a plus, and it is a great bonus that the horse is so gentle and that the rider openly invites fans to pet the horse and take photos with it. The décor and artwork around the stadium are also a really nice touch.
Paladin Stadium Artwork, Photo by Aaron S. Terry, Stadium Journey
Furman provides a really great setting for football, and has a solid, winning program, so you are pretty much guaranteed to see some quality play on the field. This is definitely a stadium to visit if you are in the Greenville area.