Brooks Stadium – Coastal Carolina Chanticleers

by | Dec 21, 2017 | Aaron S Terry, NCAA Football | 0 comments

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3.00

 

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Making the Jump

Slowly but surely, college football fields are turning from green to other colors – the most famous example is of course Boise State’s famed “Smurf Turf”, but what you may not know is that Eastern Michigan has a grey field, Eastern Washington has a red field, and Coastal Carolina, one of the newest members of the FBS, has a teal field.

Coastal Carolina recently made the jump up from the FCS, where for many years they were a perennial playoff team.  Their home turf, Brooks Stadium, may not be very big, but nevertheless is a great-looking venue, and provides some fun elements that make it a great place for college football.

Food & Beverage   3

Likely due to its size, Brooks Stadium doesn’t provide a ton of options at its concessions stands, but there is plenty to keep fans satisfied during their visit. The venue’s most unique offering is undoubtedly the Singleton, which is a pretzel cone filled with pulled pork, coleslaw, and barbeque sauce – this delectable treat is a slightly less messy way to enjoy a Carolina favorite.

Besides the Singleton, other main dishes available at Brooks Stadium include Hebrew National hot dogs, burgers, smoked sausage, and chicken sandwiches from Chick-fil-A. Other food items are also available, such as nachos, pretzels, popcorn, peanuts, pistachios, chips, Cracker Jack, and packaged candy; all food items cost between $2 and $6, which is very much on the low end for college football.

Drink options at Brooks Stadium are much more limited, with only five choices on the menu – soda, bottled water, Gatorade, coffee, and tea from Chick-fil-A; drink prices run from $2 to $5.

Atmosphere   3

Brooks Stadium is a great venue, with wonderful brickwork and a nice façade.  The facility has seating on three sides, including along both sidelines and in the north end zone. The seats in the north end zone sit in front of the Adkins Field House, and that section has been designated as the student section since 2011. Most of the seats along the sidelines consist of metal bleachers, but there is a small section of teal chairback seats in front of the press box, reserved for season ticket holders and donors.  The south end zone does not have any seating, but instead holds the jumbotron.

Brooks Stadium opened in 2003, the year the Chanticleers started their football program, with a capacity of around 6K.  The facility has been expanded several times since, most recently in 2017 when the program made the jump to the FBS, and currently holds 15K. However, the venue was designed to expand up to 20K should the need arise.

Brooks Stadium has several traditions, the most visible of which is having motorcycles on the field when the team comes onto the field, which the team runs through.  There is also a victory bell outside the facility, which is rung when the team wins – unfortunately the bell saw little use last season, the Chanticleers first year playing a full FBS schedule.

Neighborhood    4

Brooks Stadium is located in Conway, South Carolina, and there is not much in the way of restaurants and attractions in the area (unless you like nature and/or golf). By that I mean Coastal Carolina’s campus is bordered on the west by a wildlife refuge, and on the south and east by golf courses.  However, Conway is less than 10 miles from Myrtle Beach, and there is plenty to do there, including Ripley’s Aquarium and Medieval Times, a jousting-themed dinner restaurant.

Closer to Brooks Stadium there are a couple of non-fast food restaurants, such as Ala Mario’s Pizza or Oliver’s Restaurant. Oliver’s is a low-key place which offers mostly burgers and sandwiches, but if you are willing to make the quick trip to Myrtle Beach, you can find plenty of great seafood restaurants down there that should whet your appetite.

The closest hotel to Brooks Stadium is Comfort Suites, but there are plenty of other options down 501 toward Myrtle Beach, including a Hampton Inn, Sleep Inn, and Microtel.

Fans   2

The fans in attendance at Brooks Stadium are a good crowd, especially considering the Chanticleers’ record since they moved to the FBS.  I am sure the stadium was a lot fuller a couple of years ago, back when Coastal Carolina was making the FCS playoffs year after year, but the crowd has thinned a little since then.  There is still some decent noise during big plays, but a lot of empty seats, and not a lot of energy from the fans.  Hopefully the Chanticleers will get back some of their swagger if they can start to get some more wins.

Access   3

Getting to Brooks Stadium is not that difficult, although it may be a little off the beaten path depending on where you are coming from – Coastal Carolina’s campus is a good hour down Highway 501 from I-95, which is the nearest major freeway.

Parking, however, is a bit more of a challenge.  You can park for only $10 in lots near main campus, right on the main drag, but it is a pretty hefty walk from there to Brooks Stadium.  On the plus side, just this past season the school started offering shuttle buses from the parking lots to the stadium, but I am not sure taking the shuttle is worthwhile – there may not be enough buses yet, so the shuttles each stop at several parking lots along the way, so you can probably get to Brooks Stadium faster if you walk.

Once you get to Brooks Stadium, the entrances are on the north side of the facility.  The big downside, however, is there while there is a ticket booth near the entrances, the will call is actually at the baseball stadium, which is across the parking lot from the football field.  While it is not a long walk between the two, it seems a little silly not to have everything right there at Brooks Stadium instead.

Return on Investment   3

Tickets are pretty cheap at Brooks Stadium, coming in at around $15 each at the gate, but you can probably buy them a little cheaper from third party resellers like Ticket Monster, since the games don’t tend to be sold out – concessions and parking are also reasonable.  That said, there isn’t a lot of crowd noise as yet; it may take the Chanticleers some time to build up their fan base again (note that their stadium was smaller back when they were in the FCS, and thus was easier to fill up).

Extras   3

The biggest plus at Brooks Stadium is the teal field, which is unique in college sports.  The victory bell is also a nice touch, and the stadium does have a sleek, modern look to it, so even if the team isn’t playing all that well, it is still a nice venue to spend a couple of hours in.

Final Thoughts

If you are in the area, I would encourage you to give the “teal turf” a try – the Chanticleers are still finding their way as an FBS program, but they have shown a willingness to invest in their program and their football facility, so I have no doubt the experience at Brooks Stadium will improve over time.

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Food and Drink Recommendations

Oliver’s Restaurant

1301 US-501 BUS

Conway, SC 29526

(843) 347-3602

http://www.oliversrestaurant1964.com/


Ala Mario’s Pizza

2286 US-501

Conway, SC 29526

(843) 347-0805


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Entertainment Recommendations

Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament

2904 Fantasy Way

Myrtle Beach, SC 29579

(843) 236-4635

http://www.medievaltimes.com/plan-your-trip/myrtle-beach-sc/index.html


Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach

1110 Celebrity Circle

Myrtle Beach, SC 29577

(843) 916-0888

https://www.ripleyaquariums.com/myrtlebeach/


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Lodging Recommendations

 

Comfort Suites At The University

2480 US Hwy 501 East

Conway, SC 29526

(843) 347-9292

https://www.choicehotels.com/south-carolina/conway/comfort-suites-hotels/sc178


 

Hampton Inn Myrtle Beach-West

4551 US-501

Myrtle Beach, SC 29579

(843) 236-0045

http://hiltongardeninn3.hilton.com/en/hotels/south-carolina/hilton-garden-inn-myrtle-beach/


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Stadium Info

Brooks Stadium
540 University Blvd
Conway, SC 29528

Coastal Carolina Chanticleers website

Brooks Stadium website

Year Opened: 2003

Capacity: 15,000

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