There is a wide range of Division III stadiums located across the country that could be considered in the running for the most fantastic facilities at this level. While there are certain aspects of judging a stadium that is in the eyes of the beholder, these five arenas stand apart from others in their pure majesty, size, uniqueness, and notable alumni who have taken the field. We have picked the top five stadiums, ranking them in order of size which, of course, often correlates with a greater home-field advantage.
5. Cortland Stadium – SUNY Cortland
Home Team: Cortland Red Dragons
Year Built: 2002
Fun Fact: Hosted the New York Jets summer training camp in 2009
Notable Alumni: R-Kal Truluck
Coming in at fifth among the top venues is the SUNY Cortland Stadium Complex. Home to not just one but two fields, this complex contains two artificial turf arenas: the “White Field” with 1,500 seats, and the more well known “Red Field” with 6,500 seats. Both grandstands are connected by a common walkway and share a two-story press box to serve a range of athletic events including football, field hockey, soccer, and lacrosse. While they constructed the stadium in 2002, the Cortland Red Dragon football tradition dates back to 1893, making the team a staple in the rich history of Division 3 football. An 18-foot by 36-foot scoreboard with a 9-foot by 14-foot video screen at the end zone contributes to the stadium’s gritty ambiance, making it one of Upstate New York’s favorite locations for college football. A notable graduate of the SUNY football program is R-Kal K-Quan Truluck, who bounced back and forth between the CFL and NFL. He played for the Washington Football Club, Kansas City Chiefs, and Arizona Cardinals before finishing his career in the CFL on the Montreal Alouettes. With many more professional athletes in the making, Cortland Stadium will no doubt continue to ‘wow’ crowds for as long as the Red Dragons continue to lace up their cleats.
Related Coach Rating: Dan MacNeill
4. Crusader Stadium – University of Mary Hardin-Baylor
Home Team: UMHB Crusaders
Year Built: 2013
Capacity: 7,671 seats
Fun Fact: Signature concession items include Purple Vanilla Ice Cream and Cru Dogs
Notable Alumni: Jerrell Freeman, Nate Menkin
Crusader Stadium, home of the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor Crusaders. Seating 7,671 fans and complete with locker rooms, meeting rooms, concession stands, press boxes, and suites, the facility is a landmark project for the university.
The UMHB Crusaders, or more commonly called “The Cru”, completed another impressive 2020 season. With an overall undefeated record of 5-0, the team ended on high note amassing the American Southwest Conference title. Unfortunately, the national championship was cancelled due to the pandemic so The Cru will have to set their sights on next season. Two former student-athletes—Jerrell Freeman and Nate Menkin—have made a name for themselves in the professional football world. The Tennessee Titans drafted Freeman in 2008 where he played his first year before moving over to the CFL but ultimately ending his career with the Chicago Bears. Likewise, Menkin started as an undrafted free agent picked up by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2014, transitioned into the CFL, and now is a personal trainer. It is clear that UMHB is a powerhouse within the league, making Crusader Stadium a prime destination for watching The Cru build on its promising legacy.
Related Coach Rating: Pete Fredenburg
3. Clemens Stadium – Saint John’s University
Home Team: SJU Johnnies
Year Built: 1908
Capacity: 7,482 seats
Fun Fact: Sports Illustrated named it one of the top ten “College Football Dream Destinations”
Notable Alumni: Bob Shepard, Ben Bartch, John McDowell
Clemens Stadium, in Collegeville, is also known as “The Natural Bowl”. Nestled on the side of a U-shaped hill and surrounded by a beautiful green forest, the natural beauty integrated into its configuration creates a vibrant aesthetic unlike any other stadium in the country. Along with its historic stadium is the school’s football program that matches in prestige. The Johnnies are the winningest football program of the division with a 653-251-24. Most recently, in this past year the school saw former offensive tackle Ben Bartch selected in the fourth round of the NFL draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars. And of course, we can’t forget the alumni quarterback Bob Shepard who later became the PA announcer for the New York Yankees. Home to many records, a superior alumni coalition, and an organic elegance that is only found at Saint John’s University solidifies the stadium as elite.
Related Coach Rating: Gary Fasching
Related Minnesota Schools: University of St. Thomas, Bethel University
2. Titan Stadium – University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
Home Team: UW Oshkosh Titans
Year Built: 1970
Capacity 9,800 seats
Notable Alumni: Hal Robl, Eber Simpson, and Milt Wilson
A close contender to the best stadium in all of Division III arenas is JJ Keller Field at Titan Stadium, home to the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. Originally built in 1970, the facility underwent upgrades in 2004 thanks to the generous contributions from both public and private entities including JJ Keller and Associates. The venue is of Olympic-quality, 9-lane running track and a synthetic turf field designed to reduce injury risk. In the past five seasons alone, the Titans have made an impressive run in the national tournament. They are large competitors and claim notable alumni like Hal Robl, Eber Simpson, and Milt Wilson. Although the team has not yet seen an athlete excel to the professional level, there remains a strong traditional culture and continued motivation to push for excellence within the NCAA.
Related Coach Rating: Pat Cerroni
Related Wisconsin Schools: UW-Eau Claire, UW- Stevens Point
1. Perkins Stadium – University of Wisconsin
Home Team: Whitewater Warhawks
Year Built: 1970
Record Crowd: 17,535 on September 23, 2017. NCAA Division III record for attendance.
Notable Alumni: Derek Stanley, Matt Blanchard, Jake Kumerow, Quin Meinerz
At the top of the list is Perkins Field, home of the University of Wisconsin Warhawks. Perkins Field is a monstrosity with seating able to accommodate 13,500 spectators. It is almost double the size of most of the other most significant stadiums in the division, making this location an absolute standout. The stadium is named after Coach Forrest Perkins, the man who spearheaded the construction of the stadium in 1970. This stadium is the perfect place to foster a tradition of success at home to the 6-time national champion Warhawks, the most recent being in 2016. Further boosting their tradition of success, the Warhawks have sent more than 20 athletes to play professionally in the NFL and CFL since 1970 including Derek Stanley, Matt Blanchard, and Jake Kumerow. With a winning tradition and the Division 3 outlier that is Perkins Field, this program will continue to be interesting to watch as they continue to grow and succeed.
Related Coach Rating: Kevin Bullis
Originally published on Nov. 15, 2017 by Jake Sawyer.
* Originally published on July 12, 2021, by Jordan Alcon