Photos by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.29
Fred C. Yager Stadium Weeb Ewbank Way Oxford, OH 45056
Year Opened: 1983
Miami, Ohio: The Cradle of Coaches
Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, has had a football program since 1888. and from 1896-1982, it played its games at Miami Field. During this time, the school was the proving ground for developing future collegiate and professional coaches who would find success elsewhere. There were so many coaches that the school earned the nickname the “Cradle of Coaches”.
Yager Stadium is where the Miami Redhawks have called home since 1983. The 25,286-seat football stadium was built at $13.5 and named after Fred C. Yager, Class of 1914, who was the main benefactor in building a new stadium for the football program. Before it was built, the university had the second-oldest football facility in the nation.
The construction of the grandstand seating resulted in an unbalanced layout, with the west grandstands being 20 rows taller than the east grandstands. The south end zone consists of the scoreboard, and the opposite side features the recently constructed Randy Gunlock Family Athletic Performance Center which features a few areas of standing-room-only seating.
Food & Beverage 3
There is plenty of food and beer stands to serve fans, and orders are expedited rather quickly. However, the beer stands might require a little bit of patience since the wait is a tad longer than the food stations. There are quite a few options, and they include Miller Lite, Bud Light, Coors Light, Fat Tire, Founders All-Day IPA, Busch Light, Goose Island, and Michelob Ultra.
The food options do not vary, but that is probably OK with the fans, who are there for the game and may be quite full from the tailgating cuisine. Hot dogs, burgers, chicken sandwiches, and black bean burgers are cooked on large grills. Chicken strips, nachos, and fries are available as well. Pepsi products are the drink of choice at Yager Field.
The main two parking lots upon Ewbank Hill offer enough spots for tailgating before the game. Tents are pitched, grills are on fire, and fans entertain themselves with a variety of outdoor games. The crowd descends to the main entrance of the stadium, where much of the synergy takes place outside of the main grandstand.
Visitors will find everything they need at Yager Stadium from concession stands, beer kiosks, a team store, bathrooms, and vomitories to a seating bowl. It is a festive part of the venue, and many are wearing bright Miami red colors. The crowd dissipates slightly as kick-off approaches.
The beginning of the game features the marching band performing on the field, the unveiling of the U.S. flag by the cheer squad, and the playing of several other college songs. The football players take the field in a cloud of smoke with the official Redhawk mascot, Swoop.
The main seating bowl is slightly steep, but there is plenty of seating for individuals who have trouble walking. There are great views along the south endzone with room to house a drink or food option. Fans should make a trip to the north endzone to visit the Cradle of Coaches statues, more on that in the extras section, but a highlight of any college football stadium.
Oxford, Ohio, has a population of 22,700, and the university has slightly fewer with an enrollment of 17,327. The small town is quite attractive and provides a scenic college atmosphere for its students while keeping visitors entertained during a visit to a football game.
The campus itself has been described as “one of the prettiest campuses that ever was” by poet Robert Frost, and its buildings are in the style characteristic of Georgian Revival architecture, with all buildings no more than three stories tall.
The main college drag is High Street, a few blocks away from the campus and ballpark, where you can find a bevy of commerce at its bars, restaurants, and nightclubs. The action starts early on the weekends with local watering holes packed with students. CJ’s, Varsity, Brick Street, and Steinkeller are a few of the hot spots if you choose to mingle with the young crowd.
The area offers a few restaurants: High Street Grill, Paesano’s Pasta House, and local favorites: Mac & Joe’s, Spring Hill Tavern, and Hitching Post Saloon. Skippers and Bagel & Deli Shop are next to one another and offer patio seating, half-yard pints of beer, and awesome sandwiches. It is a great way to fraternize with the local population on a warm fall afternoon.
The main grandstand fills with a sea of red who watch the Redhawks battle it out on the gridiron. It is a typical MAC college vibe among the faithful, but many left the building after the first half of play. A few folks told me they were heading back to their cars to tailgate, where ice-cold beer and a few snacks were awaiting them. The student section was almost baron, but the ones there did an admirable job of showing school spirit.
Miami University is tucked away in its little oasis, and the town feels miles away from the metropolitan areas of Dayton, Cincinnati, Columbus, and Indianapolis. The small two-lane roads take you past farms, cornfields, and gravel roads; once on campus, it is easy to get around to and from the ballpark.
Yager Stadium is directly off Morning Sun Road (SR-732) and can is easily noticeable when driving in Ohio from either the north or east. Multiple access points to the stadium from High Street lead motorists to other parking lots.
Yager Stadium is designed to allow fans to get around during a football game. The main grandstand entrance includes the gift shop, bathrooms, and food and concession stands. There are a few more foods that stand behind the endzone of the stadium which provides additional options.
Return on Investment 3
The price of a ticket costs anywhere from $7 to $27, plus a $2.50 ticket fee. The fee is waived when purchasing a ticket at the game, which is a great option since most games do not sell out. The best spots for parking are at the West Millett and Fryman Lot for $10. There is also an accessible lot for the same price that is available. Menu options range from $4 to $6 for most products, while beer prices are $7–the non-alcoholic versions are $5.
The “Cradle of Coaches” statues at the endzone entrance is a must-see when at the game. There are 8 beautiful bronze statues of college and pro football legends who began their careers at the university. An ideal spot for photo taking for Jets fans (Weeb Ewbank), Browns/Bengals fans (Paul Brown), or Michigan fans (Bo Schembechler).
Up on Ewbank hill from the main entrance to the stadium are the original ticket booths from the program’s original Miami Field. The structures were built in 1895 and moved to the new location by the Class of 1959 and 1960. Many fans pass by these two historic structures, and they also provide great photo opportunities.
You are not allowed to bring your umbrellas into the stadium, but that is not a problem. Instead of trekking back to their vehicle, many leave them against the ticket booths, tables, and even grassy patches. When the game is over, they use the honor system and pick them up. Perhaps similar efforts can be found at other college venues, but this was a first for me as a reviewer.
Yager Stadium is a fine football stadium for the MAC and has all the amenities a die-hard football would want. It is in no way a perfect stadium, but it serves its purpose to the many who watch Redhawks games. The stadium is easily accessible, food options inexpensive, and fans are friendly enough to have an in-depth conversation about the university. The best part is that you get to enjoy the town and campus, one of the best little spots in the area.