Clem's Baseball home

Home of the
University of South Dakota Coyotes


DYNAMIC DIAGRAM: Roll mouse over the links below.



Other famous domes:

Vital statistics:
Lifetime Capacity Outfield dimensions (feet) Behind home plate Fence height The Clem Criteria:
Built Status LF LC CF RC RF Field
Loc. Aesth. Overall
1979 GOOD 10,000
NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA 6 9 5 2 5.5

ARTIFICIAL TURF: ever since 1979

Collegiate football in the northern states is often hindered by early winter blizzards, and the advent of the Astrodome in 1965 sparked the imagination of many a college sports administrator. In 1970, Idaho State University became the first institution of higher learning to build an indoor football stadium, Holt Arena. The University of Northern Iowa followed suit with the UNI-Dome in 1976, and three years later the DakotaDome opened at the University of South Dakota. It all got started in 1972, when Carl Miller became Director of Athletics. He relentlessly promoted the idea of an indoor multi-use sporting arena, and after sharp arguments over the cost and uses, groundbreaking finally took place in 1976. The total project cost was a (relatively) modest $8 million.

Most of these college football domes featured an air-supported teflton-coated fabric roof, which was copied by the Metrodome, which opened in 1982. In the short run, it saved a lot of money, but in the long run it gave rise to never-ending headaches. The main problem was that heavy snow caused the roofs to collapse, which happened twice at the DakotaDome (1979 and 1982), and once again at the Metrodome on December 12, 2010. Besides, the fabric roofs just looked tacky. For these reasons, a new $13 million steel-supported roof was built at the DakotaDome in 2001.

thumbnail The DakotaDome replaced Inman Field, where football used to be played, and The Armory, where the Coyotes basketball team played. The DakotaDome is much less satisfactory for the latter sport, since there is a huge void beyond the movable bleacher sections. The overall shape is an "octorad," like in Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego or Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, except that the four sides are straight, not curved.

Recent improvements to the DakotaDome include a new video board built by Daktronics (headquartered in Brookings, South Dakota), as well as enhancements to the concourse area, the women's locker room, and the press box.

Hailed when it opened as technological marvel, the DakotaDome fell short of hopes that it would become a magnet for major events across the Midwest. Besides football and basketball, the DakotaDome also hosts swimming competitions, track meets, volleyball tournaments, and various trade shows. Each November it hosts the South Dakota high school football championships, and in May 2010 the first DakotaDome Youth Baseball Classic was held there. It is obviously far too small for adult baseball games, the DakotaDome was once useful as a place for the USD baseball team to practice during the late winter months. For budgetary reasons, however, the USD baseball program was discontinued after the 2004 season.


DakotaDome exterior panorama

Click on the camera icon (camera) links below to see the photos, one by one.

camera #1 Exterior panorama of the DakotaDome, from the east side. (October 8, 2008)

camera #2 The DakotaDome grandstand, from near the corner of the end zone. A near-capacity crowd was present for "Dakota Days" homecoming. (October 11, 2008)

camera #3 The USD marching band welcomes the Coyotes football team to the DakotaDome. (October 11, 2008)

Vox populi: Fans' impressions

Have you been to this stadium? If so, feel free to share your impressions of it with other fans! (Registration is required.) Also, I welcome submissions of original stadium photos that fans have taken, and will make sure they get properly credited. Just send me an e-mail message via the Contact page.

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