Welcome Stadium – Dayton Flyers
Welcome To Dayton
The University of Dayton (UD) is a Marianist Catholic university located on the east side of the Miami River in Dayton, Ohio. It has a student body of more than 10,000 students and is known for its programs in the fields of liberal arts, engineering, law and social services. .
The athletic teams at UD are known as the Dayton Flyers as the city is known as the “Birthplace of Aviation” due to two residents of note: Orville and Wilbur Wright. UD’s approach to college athletics flies “under the radar” in many respects as the school is very academically oriented and does seek to be a football factory. It participates in the NCAA’s FCS level in the Pioneer Football League (PFL). The PFL is a football-only conference that does not offer athletic scholarships. It is made up of schools from throughout the country who share the concept of academics over athletics in their budgets. The conference includes schools as diverse as Butler University, Drake University, Valparaiso, Jacksonville University, Morehead State, Campbell University, Marist College, the University of San Diego, Davidson College and Stetson University.
The “landing zone” for Flyer football is Welcome Stadium, an 11,000 seat stadium located across the river from the UD campus, which is only a mile away. Welcome Stadium was built in 1949 by the Dayton Public School System, which still manages it today. While the folks who play at Welcome Stadium are friendly, it is not a welcoming place for visitors to play, as the football Flyers maintain a .824 home winning percentage since moving to the stadium in 1974. The name of the stadium is derived as a salute to one of the school system’s early athletic directors who played a large role in having the stadium built. The university and the school system have worked cooperatively to make capital improvements over the years, including the installation of artificial turf, the addition of a video scoreboard and the building of an attractive brick archway at the main gate into the stadium.
You might think this limited budget might affect the team’s performance on the field, but you would be mistaken. The Flyers have won 2 national championships at the Division III level, are 11-time conference champions and average 9 wins per season since 2000.
Welcome Stadium provides a nice selection of menu items at its two concession stands. The stands are located underneath the bleachers on each end of the field. This does not provide a view of the field while you are in line, but does provide a break from the cold and somewhat wintry weather late in the season.
Here is an overview of the menu and the prices for each item: hot dogs ($3), sausage ($3.75), chicken or pork sandwiches ($3.75), nachos ($3.50), popcorn ($1.50), peanuts ($2.25), pretzels ($2.00), chips ($1.50) and candy ($2.00). Beverage selections include Pepsi brand sodas ($3.75), coffee ($2.00) or hot chocolate ($2.00).
Welcome Stadium’s atmosphere is affected by the same issues faced by any stadium located off its’ teams’ campus. It is very difficult to replicate the ambience of having the campus quad, majestic academic buildings and other campus elements at a remote location. In the University of Dayton’s case this is compounded by the fact that it does not own the stadium and has no control over the elements in the stadium, as the Dayton School System is the landlord. When you arrive at Welcome Stadium, there is no signage indicating that the university plays their home games there. The stadium does not have anything on site painted in the school colors. A secondary issue is that the stadium is more than 70 years old and has not seen the frequent upgrades/ renovations that are so common at most college stadiums.
These issues are unique to the football program. The two other sports facilities in the complex, Woerner Field and the University of Dayton Arena, are owned and operated by the university. Even though they have the same issue of being an off-campus facility, you know when you arrive that you are at a Dayton Flyers game. They feature the school colors and logos prominently throughout their facilities.
To sum up, the atmosphere at Flyers games suffers from the outdated facility it plays in. The Flyers football team and fans deserve better.
Dayton, Ohio is known both as the “Birthplace of Aviation” as well as the “Invention Capital”. The Wright Brother began the design of the first aircraft in their bicycle shop along the Miami River. Other products that were invented in Dayton include the cash register, the electric car starter, modern refrigeration and the bar code scanner. These achievements are all recognized within the Carillon Historical Park, which is across the river from the stadium.
Welcome Stadium is located on the west side of the Miami River about 1 mile from the University of Dayton Campus. It is located adjacent to the University of Dayton Arena, home of the high-flying men’s basketball program and across the street from Woerner Park, home of the UD baseball program. The riverfront area is filled with a wide variety of outdoor activities, including the Great Miami Riverscape Metro park and the Great Miami Bikeway. Other activities along the river include kayaking and walking trails. Dayton has been named one of the Top 25 Outdoor Sports town in the country by Outside magazine. Another outdoor sports activity in Dayton is attending a Dayton Dragons baseball game at Fifth/Third Field. You will need to buy your ticket on the secondary market though, as the Dragons have sold out every game since 2000!
There are a wide variety of lodging and dining options located within a few blocks of the stadium. Restaurants of note include The Pine Club Steakhouse, the Carillon Brewing Company and The Trolley Stop. There are two hotels within walking distance of Welcome Stadium. They are the Marriot-University of Dayton and the Courtyard Marriott-University of Dayton.
One would think with the University of Dayton’s low-key approach to athletics that enthusiasm for sports from the fans would be low… and you would be wrong. The Flyers fanbase is very energized thanks a number of factors: 1) Football reigns supreme in the state of Ohio… from the giants like Ohio State and Cincinnati to the mid-size schools like Miami, Kent State and Ohio University and on to the smaller schools like Dayton or Wright State 2) The University of Dayton wins more than 80% of its home games 3) It is the major sport in town during the fall with no other professional teams to compete with 4) University of Dayton students attend the games free of charge.
The largest student organization on the University of Dayton campus is the Red Scare… and its primary responsibility is to create as much student support for all Flyer teams as possible. This includes everything from staging the Red Out Rallies the Friday prior to each game, to organizing transit to both home and away games and scheduling Homecoming Week. They work very closely with the school mascot, an aviator nicknamed Rudy Flyer and the school’s band to create skits and coordinated cheers for each game.
The students are joined in their support of the Flyers by a very loyal local fan base, who may not have any personal relationship with the university, but enjoy a good football game. The UD alumni also turn out in large numbers to support the team. They also insure that a much-treasured football tradition is carried over to Welcome Stadium, as tailgaters fill the parking lot before each game.
Getting to Welcome Stadium is a breeze. It is located immediately off I-75 at exit 51 (Edwin Moses Boulevard). The parking lot is at the end of the field and is plentiful. The stadium features aluminum bleacher seating with rather steep steps so persons with walking issues may have difficulty in navigating. The restrooms and concession areas are located under the grandstand and can get congested, especially during the quarter breaks and at halftime.
Return on Investment 4
Tickets to Flyers games are $10 for adults and $5 for children under 12 years old and all seats are General Admission. The concessions are very basic, but are inexpensive. Parking is free. The hotels near Welcome Stadium are priced in the $100/night level. A family of four can enjoy a well-played game very inexpensively.
Two notable UD football alums who went on to fame in the NFL are four-time Super Bowl winner Chuck Noll of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Super Bowl winner Jon Gruden of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The University of Dayton has an excellent football program and great fan support from the community. Welcome Stadium provides a basic place to play their home games, but the Flyers deserve a much better facility for their team and fanbase.
Carillon Historical Park
1000 Carillon Blvd
Dayton, OH 45409
2006 Edwin Moses Blvd
Dayton, OH 45417
Marriott at the University of Dayton
1414 S Patterson Blvd
Dayton, OH 45409
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Latest Crowd Reviews
Welcome Stadium serves its purpose. Its features are adequate and the recent updates have helped to modernize the place a bit.