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  • Writer's picturePaul Baker

W.B. Mason Stadium – Stonehill Skyhawks Football


Photos by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.86

W.B. Mason Stadium Blessed Basil Moreau Dr North Easton, MA 02356



Year Opened: 2005

Capacity: 2,400

 

The Sky’s The Limit

Many who follow college sports in New England were surprised when tiny Stonehill College, a school with an undergraduate enrollment of 2,500 students, announced in April 2022 that they were elevating their athletic programs to the Division One level and becoming a member of the Northeast Conference. The private Catholic school is located in North Easton, Massachusetts on the original estate of Frederick Lathrop Ames Jr. It was founded in 1948 by the Congregation of Holy Cross.


W.B. Mason Stadium, located on campus, was built in 2005. W.B. Mason, a business supply company headquartered in neighboring Brockton purchased the naming rights for the facility. The company, led by CEO and Stonehill alumnus Leo Meehan, pitched in $1.5 million of the $4 million construction cost of the stadium. The playing field is dedicated in honor of Tim “Cogs” Coughlin, a class of 1980 alumnus and member of the Stonehill football team, who lost his life in the attacks on the World Trade Center. In addition to serving as home to the Skyhawks football team, W.B. Mason also serves as home to Stonehill’s field hockey, lacrosse and track and field teams.


Stonehill has sponsored football teams since 1988, using the nickname “Chieftains” until 2005. Stonehill football competed in Division Three until 1996, when they moved up to Division Two, staying there until 2021. The Skyhawks joined the Football Championship Subdivision’s Northeast Conference for the 2022 season and will become a full member of the conference in 2026.


Food & Beverage 3

W.B. Mason Stadium lacks permanent concession facilities, but the school overcomes this shortcoming with what will be a rotation of food trucks throughout the season. Stadium Journey attended the home opener of the 2022 season, and two trucks were present at the north end of the bleachers, serving BBQ food and gyros. It will be interesting to see what future games bring.


In addition, there is a tent operated by Stonehill food services which offers assorted snacks and drinks. Fans can get nachos, pretzels, candy and assorted ice cream novelties here. Cans of Coca-Cola products are featured. Alcohol is not sold at this on-campus facility.


Atmosphere 2

The fine folks at Stonehill College are still new to this Division One thing, so you wouldn’t expect an over-the-top game day presentation at a small facility such as W.B. Mason Stadium. Now, that doesn’t mean that it’s a boring time at Stonehill. There are plenty of touches here that make a fall afternoon in North Easton a good time.


Fans who regularly attend college football games will find plenty that is familiar here. Music and PA announcements play over a quality sound system throughout the game. The Stonehill cheerleading and dance squads set up on the sideline, performing for the fans. The Skyhawk mascot, Ace, roams the stands posing for photos and interacting with fans. The absence of a pep band is noticeable. A simple scoreboard in the north end zone provides basic game information.

Stonehill Cheerleaders, Photo by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey


Neighborhood 2

Stonehill College’s sprawling, contained campus belies its location in a bustling area with many dining and lodging options for visiting fans. State routes 123 and 138 intersect at the southwest corner of campus. Both routes are pretty busy local roads, lined with strip malls filled with the usual national chains alongside a few local eateries in both directions. Stadium Journey recommends checking out Stoneforge Grill or Brach’s Grill and Tap for your pre- or postgame meal.


While you may not find many attractions in the immediate vicinity of Stonehill, Boston is located just a half hour’s drive to the north. Visiting fans will find no shortage of things to do there. Fans looking for lodging options closer to school should check out the Residence Inn by Marriott right by Route 24.


More information about local accommodations, restaurants and attractions can be found here.


Fans 3

Even with W.B. Mason Stadium’s rather small capacity, the facility could fit the entire undergraduate enrollment inside. So, it’s not surprising that there are not huge crowds at Skyhawk football games. Still, there’s a lot of excitement here about the program’s move to Division One and good crowds fill the grandstand on Saturday afternoons.


There’s a decent, if not overwhelming, turnout by the student body. The majority of the fans in attendance appear to be locals, many of whom have a connection to the players down on the field. With the Northeast Conference’s compact geographic footprint, you’ll be sure to see a good number of visiting fans in the stands.

An interesting characteristic of a Stonehill crowd is that they are late arriving. Tailgating is allowed in the parking lot right across the street from the stadium right up until kickoff, and it seems that a good percentage of the fans in attendance keep the party going until the last possible minute. It’s pretty interesting to see the foot traffic increase along Blessed Basil Moreau Drive as kickoff time nears.


Access 4

Stonehill College is located in suburban North Easton, MA, directly to the west of the city of Brockton and 25 miles south of Boston. The campus is easily accessible, as both Interstates 495 and 93 lead to Route 24, which runs north-south just a mile from W.B. Mason Stadium. The stadium is located on the western edge of campus, adjacent to some of Stonehill’s other athletic facilities, including Lou Gorman Field and the Sally Blair Ames Athletic Complex.


Fans will find ample parking in the lot in front of the McPhaidin Library located a short walk from the stadium. The entrance to W.B. Mason Stadium is located on the southeast corner of the facility, with the grandstand on the opposite west side of the stadium.


Seating consists of a single grandstand that runs the length of the field. The center sections contain individual molded plastic seats, with the rest of the seating consisting of metal bleachers without backs. This new grandstand is fully ADA compliant and easily accessible for all fans. Fans looking for an alternate viewpoint can take advantage of the standing room along the southern edge of the field.


Unfortunately, the presence of a track surrounding the football field pushes the seats a bit further from the action. This is a common feature of the multi-purpose fields that are found at smaller schools. Rest rooms are located in the Sally Blair Ames Athletic Complex, with additional port-a-johns available behind the grandstand.


Return on Investment 5

Tickets to Skyhawks games are sold as general admission, with tickets priced at $12. Seniors 65+ and students can purchase tickets for $7. Waiting until game day to buy your tickets increases the price by three dollars.

Parking is free in the lot near the stadium. With inexpensive concessions, an afternoon at a Stonehill football game is a very affordable entertainment option for southeastern Massachusetts sports fans.


Extras 1

As of Stadium Journey’s visit for the Skyhawks’ home opener of 2022, there was not much going on that could be considered extra at W.B. Mason Stadium. The athletic department promises that more features will be added as the season moves on. All fans are given a free roster sheet upon entering the stadium.


Final Thoughts

W.B. Mason Stadium is a nice, smaller facility which compares well to its peer facilities in the Northeast Conference. While the fans and staff at Stonehill are adjusting to life in the FCS, they promise that bigger and better things are on the horizon, both on and off the field. The addition of Division One sports are a welcome addition to the southeastern Massachusetts athletic scene and a Stadium Journey well worth taking.

Follow Paul Baker’s stadium journeys on Twitter and Instagram @PuckmanRI.

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