In preparation for the 2012 season - the first under new head coach Mark Speir - Western Carolina's football student-athletes reported to campus on Thursday. For many, it was simply a return to campus as 87 players were enrolled in the second session of summer school. The report date comes on the heels of Wednesday night's "unofficial" kickoff of the
fall with the successful Western Open golf tournament and dinner held at the Waynesville Country Club. Reporting day opened with both newcomers and returners alike moving into the on-campus residence halls, and included a day spent with both WCU's athletic training staff and equipment managers. Players are slated to officially report to the Ramsey Center Hospitality Room for the first, full team meeting on Thursday evening.
"Reporting day is always an exciting time for us as coaches, but also for our fan base," said Speir. "All of the off-season work -spring drills, the early mornings, the voluntary workouts through the summer - it all culminates with today."
He added, "We've got 11 opportunities on our schedule this season and I'm excited for the players to get this opportunity to start a new chapter of Western Carolina football. I'm also pumped for our fans and alumni - they've been so gracious and supportive of us here leading up to this day. Now, it's time to go to work."
In addition to the moving-in process, Thursday's activities included finishing up evaluations and physicals through WCU Athletic Training and on-campus medical staff, as well as equipment fitting for the newcomers. With Friday marking the last day of summer session final exams, the Catamounts will hit the turf for the first practice of the camp on Friday evening beginning around 7:30 pm. As per NCAA regulations, the first two practices will be conducted in helmets only as WCU debuts the return to the purple headgear this season. The squad will practice in helmets and shoulder pads on Sunday and Monday with the first practice in full pads slated for Tuesday afternoon.
WCU officially opens the Mark Speir era on Thursday, Aug. 30 against the Mars Hill Lions in Cullowhee. The Lions are coming off an 8-3 season, advancing to the second round of the NCAA Division Ii national playoffs. Catamount running back Shaun Warren rushed for a career-best 203 yards and four touchdowns in last season's 52-31 home win over Mars Hill, extending WCU's current winning streak over the Lions to 13-straight games. The pre-Labor Day season-opener has a special mid-week kickoff time of 8:00 pm.
Upcoming Dates in Catamount Athletics:
August 3 - First Catamount Football practice; 7:30 pm, Whitmire Stadium/Waters Field
August 3 - Women's Soccer student-athletes report to campus
August 4 - WCU Football Media/Photo Day; 9:30 am
August 7 - Volleyball student-athletes report to campus
August 7 - Catamount Football: First practice in full pads; 3:30 pm, Whitmire Stadium/Waters Field
August 7 - Catamount Women's Soccer: Exhibition vs. Clemson Tigers; 7:00 pm
August 11 - Catamount 101: Ladies Love Football event; 10:30 am
August 11 - Catamount Club Tailgate Kickoff
August 18 - Valley Ballyhoo, 2012 on-campus in Cullowhee
August 19 - Catamount Women's Soccer: 2012 Season Opener - at West Virginia
August 20 - First day of fall classes at Western Carolina
August 24 - Catamount Volleyball home tournament, home-opener; 6:30 pm
August 30 - Catamount Football home-opener vs. Mars Hill; 8:00 pm
August 31 - Catamount Women's Soccer home-opener vs. Albany; 7:00 pm
August 31 - Catamount Cross Country home meet; 6:00 pm
September 21 - The Bob Waters Memorial golf tournament
October 1 - Appalachian State single-game tickets go on sale to the general public