Dix Stadium – Kent State Golden Flashes
Photos by Dave Cottenie, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.29
Dix Stadium 2227 Summit Rd. Kent, OH 44240
Year Opened: 1969
A Flash of Lightning
In 1914, a football team was attempted at Kent State University. Unfortunately, the team was disbanded as the school decided to focus on basketball. Enter coach Paul Chandler who would push Kent State to once again field a team and in 1920 the team would take the field, this time with longevity in mind.
On November 6 Kent State would host their first home football game against Bowling Green. Kent State would show resilience and would be rewarded with its first victory in 1925. Kent State University president John Edward McGilvrey had an affinity for silver foxes which he raised on his farm. As a result, the team was first known as the Kent State Silver Foxes. After his controversial firing in 1926, a name the team contested would produce the Golden Flashes name, which has no other relevance to the team.
Home for the Golden Flashes since 1969 is Dix Stadium. Formerly Memorial Stadium, it was renamed in 1973 after Kent State trustee and Record-Courier publisher Robert C. Dix. In 1951, Kent State would fully adopt the MACtion, joining the Mid-American Conference where they remain today. The university-owned stadium has seen a few successful Golden Flash seasons including a 1972 MAC Championship and three bowl appearances. With a capacity of over 25,000, Dix Stadium can accommodate nearly the entire 29,000 people that live in Kent or the entire 22,000 student enrollment at Kent State University. The MAC is the perfect spot for a school like Kent State where a flash of lightning is a great time on a Saturday afternoon.
Food & Beverage 3
Dix Stadium offers a fairly pedestrian concession selection. There are decent items on the menu, but nothing that will blow the doors open. Pulled pork sandwiches, hot dogs, coney dogs, brats, nachos, pretzels, popcorn, chips, candy, burgers, Italian sausage, and fries are all available.
There are a couple of smaller concession stands in the gathering area just after the west entry gate as well as a large concession in the south end zone. Pepsi products are the soft drink available as well as bottled water, coffee, Gatorade, and hot chocolate. There are some beer options at Dix at various spots including some decent craft options. MadCap, Thirsty Dog, and The Brew Kettle are all available along with Bud Light.
Dix Stadium offers a decent atmosphere for some weekend MACtion. Fans who are arriving at the stadium will be drawn to the west entrance, which would have to be considered the main entrance. Fans are greeted by a large, permanent Kent State Golden Flashes logo upon approaching the west gate.
Getting past security and into the stadium area has more of a feeling akin to a Western stadium where large gathering areas exist between the entry gates and the stadium proper. The west side of the stadium is for regular and visiting fans as opposed to the east side which is designated for students. Entrances to the seating bowl are delineated with signage honoring not only former Golden Flash greats but also the lineage of the Kent State football helmets over the years.
Inside the seating bowl, fans will find that the best option is the west grandstand. It may be the only option. The students are segregated to the east grandstand and many visiting fans will take up residence in the north end zone stands. There are no stands in the south end but the George Jenkins and Jim Phelan Hall of Fame Plaza is a breath of fresh air for college stadiums.
The west grandstand offers the best view of the fifty-yard line logo and has the only reserved seating at Dix. Reserved seating, found in the center sections of the west side, comes with backs to the bleacher seats, a feature that helps the uncomfortable seats a little and is not available in the other sections. The biggest concession stand at Dix Stadium stands under the video board in the Hall of Fame plaza, flanked by large brick towers.
Off of the towers are the banners of the other MAC schools, with the curious exception of Akron. Below the MAC banners are the banners honoring the retired Golden Flash numbers of football legends. James Harrison, Josh Cribbs, Eric Wilkerson, Jim Corrigall, and Jack Lambert were all football legends at Kent State and are honored accordingly.
The plaza also features high-top tables and at each table,, there are placards for KSU Hall of Fame football players. It may be the best spot to watch the game from. The north wall at field level highlights banners for the three bowl games the Golden Flashes have participated in unsuccessfully including the 2013 GoDaddy.com Bowl, the 1972 Tangerine Bowl, and the eclectic 1954 Refrigerator Bowl.
The game day atmosphere in Kent is about what you would expect from a college football experience. The band enters and plays before the game and during halftime. The cheerleaders cheer the team on and perform gymnastic stunts and the dance team performs during a stoppage. Flash the Golden Eagle, the Kent State mascot is found on the field during pre-game and on the sidelines throughout.
Dix Stadium is located at the eastern edge of the City of Kent and Kent State University. There isn’t too much to be found between the main campus and Dix Stadium and there are plenty of parking lots around the stadium.
This makes Dix a better spot to slap up your tailgate party as opposed to heading to a pub before the game. However, a five-minute drive into town, and there are plenty of options to be found. Mike’s Place, Bricco in Kent, Lucci’s Place, and Wild Goats Fresh and Funky Fine Dining are all good options. Downtown Kent has several options also and Belleria Pizza and Italian is a great option.
Kent State is unfortunately most famous for the tragedy that happened on May 4th, 1970 and the Memorial and Visitor Center at Kent State is a somber spot to visit while on campus. The Art Gallery on campus may also be of interest. For other sports, the basketball Golden Flashes play on the main campus at the Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center. The cities of Cleveland and Akron are also close by for rounding out a sports weekend.
For fans wishing to stay in Kent, the University Hotel and Conference Center and Holiday Inn Express are both good options.
Comparing college football attendance can be dubious. The Golden Flashes usually average between 10,000 and 13,000 fans per game. Rivalry games against Akron and Bowling Green, as well as the Homecoming game, are the best-attended games.
However, the Golden Flashes do not have a consistent reputation for excellence on the football field so a big bump up in attendance has not been seen in a while. Games late in the season are often sparsely attended. The fans in attendance are fairly laid back. Not over the top, but supportive of their team. Students often have difficulty sticking around for the entire game.
The City of Kent is located about four miles north of I-75. The small size of the city makes it fairly easy to maneuver through to get to Dix Stadium. There is plenty of parking around the stadium on Summit Drive. The shuttle lot offers free parking and a shuttle ride to the stadium, but fans who wish to park a little closer and walk can expect to pay a mere $5 to park.
For fans who wish to take public transit, some buses head right to the stadium. Fans should check the Portage Area Regional Transportation Authority website for fares, schedules, and maps. The ticket windows, including will-call, can be found on the west side of the stadium at the Adam S. Hamilton West Entrance. There are four main pavilions in each of the corners of the stadium that serve as the washroom facilities. They are more than adequate for the stadium.
Return on Investment 5
MACtion continues to be a great deal. The product on the field in the conference and at Kent State is vastly underrated. The ability to see great players at a great price is the staple of the Mid-American Conference. Tickets for the Golden Flashes go for $32 for reserved seating and $20 for General Admission. Along with $5 to park and decent concession prices and Kent State offers a combination that produces a great afternoon of football at a respectable price.
An extra mark for the Golden Flashes rivalry games. Kent State plays Bowling Green for the Anniversary Award and they play Akron for the Wagon Wheel. An extra mark for the May 4th Memorial. An extra mark for the Hall of Fame Plaza
Taking in some MACtion is always a great experience and the Kent State Golden Flashes are no exception. Dix Stadium is a pretty good spot to catch some autumn entertainment and maybe even a few rays of sunshine and it won’t kill the pocketbook. Check out some MACtion at Dix Stadium soon.