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WHAT'S IN A NAME: ‘The Chet’ pays homage to an iconic coach

When local sports fans hear that a game is at “The Chet,” chances are they know exactly where to go.

Chet Anderson Stadium 2.jpg
Chet Anderson Stadium sits along the shores of Lake Bemidji and hosts football and soccer games for BSU and BHS.
Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer
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Editor's note: This is part of a 20-story series titled "What's in a name?" completed by Pioneer reporters for our 2022 Annual Report. Read more of the section by clicking the embed at the bottom of this article.

When local sports fans hear that a game is at “The Chet,” chances are they know exactly where to go.

Formally called Chet Anderson Stadium, the scenic field is synonymous with plenty of Bemidji teams, including football and soccer at both BSU and BHS. But often lost in the convenience of the nickname is a knowledge of the stadium’s namesake.

In 1955, a new coach named Chester A. Anderson took command of BSU football. “Chet” coached for 10 seasons, and he still ranks third in program history for wins (43), winning percentage (.555) and games coached (82).

Chet Anderson 1996 (1).jpg
Chet Anderson is pictured in 1996 on the day Bemidji State's football stadium was named in his honor.
BSU photo

“I was fortunate to meet Chet when I was here,” current head coach Brent Bolte said of Anderson, who died in 2008. “My first handful of years, he would stop in the offices and draw up some plays. As I got to know him more — he’d be at every Beaver Pride function on campus — it was a lot of fun to hear not only the stories about Chet from his former players but to actually hear from him.”


Resting on the shores of Lake Bemidji and neighboring Diamond Point Park, the stadium arose in 1939.

Prior to that, a field often referred to as Diamond Point Field was located just south of the current location, with end zones to the north and south and the east sideline running along the lakeshore.

But then came a federal grant of $172,000 for sports fields in 1939, and the money was used, in part, to build the field at today’s location.

Chet Anderson Stadium.jpg
Chet Anderson Stadium was dedicated to the former BSU football coach in 1996.
Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer

“It’s evolved,” Bolte said. “Back when I first got here, it was still grass. … There were big jack pines right outside the end zone on the east side and throughout other parts of the stadium. That ties back into who we are. We sell that northern Minnesota, lumberjack type of mentality.

“It’s a beautiful, picturesque setting to play college football.”

The facility was officially named after Anderson in 1996, an honor initiated by his former players. Bolte said that honoring history like that is a big step in creating tradition within a program.

“We talk about standing on the shoulders of the people who came before you,” Bolte said. “(When I met Chet), it was fun to match a face and personality with something as iconic as the stadium we named after him.”

Micah Friez is the sports editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. A native of East Grand Forks, Minn., he joined the Pioneer in 2015 and is a 2018 graduate of Bemidji State University with a degree in Creative and Professional Writing. Follow him on Twitter at @micahfriez for Lumberjack and Beaver updates.
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