Photos by Aaron S. Terry, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.71
University of Charleston Stadium 1549 Piedmont Rd Charleston, WV 25311
Year Opened: 1979
Country Roads, Take Me Home to D2 Football
University of Charleston Stadium is located in Charleston, WV near the state capitol, and is owned by Kanawha County Schools. Due to lack of funds to maintain the venue, however, the county partnered with the University of Charleston, which provided $1.5M in 2003 for upgrades such as new turf, a new skybox, and new locker rooms, in exchange for access plus naming rights. The stadium is shared by the university’s lacrosse and football teams, and is also used by the local high school. The stadium was originally built in 1979, and currently holds 18,500 fans.
Food & Beverage 3
University of Charleston Stadium has very low-cost concessions, including burgers, calzones, pizza, hot dogs, corn dogs, nachos, and Chick-fil-A sandwiches (separate stand), with nothing over $3.50; other options include packaged candy and popcorn for $1.50, or chips for 50 cents. However, if none of those options are to your liking, you can also pay $10 out in front of the stadium for an all-you-can-eat buffet sponsored by the alumni club, and enjoy barbecue, chicken, beans, coleslaw, dessert, canned soda, and bottled water.
Once inside the stadium drink options include soda, Gatorade, bottled water, coffee, and hot cocoa for between $2 and $3 each. There are two concessions stands inside University of Charleston Stadium, one underneath each grandstand in the exact middle. Despite the low attendance at games, concessions lines can be pretty long, especially during halftime, so you may want to opt for the Chick-fil-A stand instead, which is a separate stand located close to the main entrance, outside the grandstand area itself.
The UC Golden Eagles at University of Charleston Stadium provide a decent atmosphere for football – on one hand the attendance is very sparse, so there is not much crowd noise at all, but on the other hand you can walk around pretty much wherever you want, so you can get really, really close to the action. In fact, you can even stand next to the field the whole time and the staff won’t bother you, as long as you don’t get on the turf itself.
The field is surrounded by a track, and the cheerleaders perform in front of the home side all game long. There is no mascot, however, and there is no video board either, so you can’t watch any replays.
University of Charleston Stadium is in a pretty run-down part of town, but it is close to the state capitol, and there are a couple of restaurants and other attractions nearby if you happen to be in town for the day or weekend. The most popular tourist attractions are the Capitol itself and the Clay Center (sort of a children’s museum), and there are also a couple of decent restaurants within a mile or so of the facility, including Bluegrass Kitchen (featuring upscale comfort food) and Soho’s (an Italian bistro and bar).
If you plan to be in Charleston overnight, there are plenty of hotels around depending on your preference and budget – the two closest are Residence Inn and Charleston Capitol Hotel.
Very few fans come out to Golden Eagles games at University of Charleston Stadium, so the venue will generally be practically empty. Part of this is of course due to the weather, as it can get pretty darn cold in the Appalachian Mountains by October or November – the scenery here is nice, though, with the mountains clearly visible in the background as you watch the game.
Getting to University of Charleston Stadium could not be easier – the stadium is literally visible from the freeway (I-77/I-64 practically goes right over the top of it at Exit 99), and there is free parking on the other side of Elizabeth Street from the facility; you can park about 100 feet from the main entrance.
While the venue itself is a little run-down, there are more than enough bathrooms to accommodate the small crowd, so the only wait you might have it at the aforementioned concessions stands.
Return on Investment 4
Tickets to UC Charleston games at University of Charleston Stadium cost just $10, which is as cheap as you will probably ever see for college football. And while you will not find a ton of energy at this venue, being able to walk right up to the field makes it well worth it, and you can’t beat the free parking and cheap concessions.
There is not much at University of Charleston Stadium besides the game itself, but you do get the nice scenery in the background, all the seats are chair back benches, and there are also UC painted school buses parked right on site, so that might be something to explore while you are at the game – selfie, anyone?
The closest FBS stadium to Charleston, WV is over in Huntington, or you can drive several hours north to see West Virginia play. But for the money and the ease of access, seeing a game at University of Charleston is not a bad way to spend an afternoon in the Mountaineer state.