Cullowhee, N.C. – Western Carolina is set to kick off the 2019 football season in a huge way. The Catamounts open the season by hosting Southern Conference rival, Mercer, with post-game fireworks to again illuminate the western North Carolina sky following WCU’s home-opening football game as a part of a Labor Day weekend on Saturday, August 31.

With an evening kickoff time of 6:00 pm, WCU looks to paint E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field purple for both its 2019 home and Southern Conference opener as the Catamounts host league-rival, Mercer, under the lights in Cullowhee. All fans are encouraged to wear purple to the game, which opens with the traditional Freshmen Run, and the much-anticipated return of the “Pride of the Mountains” Marching Band.

WCU’s postgame fireworks extravaganza is again presented by Ingles and iHeartRadio partners, 99.9 FM Kiss Country and Star 104.3.

Over the past three seasons, WCU’s home-opener and fireworks night have drawn outstanding crowds including 11,598 in 2016 for the “White Out” victory over Gardner-Webb, while 11,763 helped “blackout” the stadium two seasons ago in a convincing win over Davidson. Last year, the best crowd yet of 12,111 flocked to Whitmire Stadium for the home-opening “White Out” win over Newberry.

WCU has led the Southern Conference in average attendance the past two seasons, edging out its season-opening opponent, Mercer, both years. In 2017, WCU ranked 23rd nationally for a second-consecutive with a SoCon-best average of 10,547 before cracking the top 20 out of the 124 NCAA FCS schools to rank 17th with an average of 10,580 last year. WCU has been inside the national top 30 in FCS attendance each year since 2014.

This season marks just the third time in program history that the conference-opener also raises the curtain on the season. WCU faced former league-rival, Appalachian State, in a season-opening SoCon game in 1986, while also squaring-off against VMI in the 1980 season and SoCon opener.

Kickoff times, broadcast availability, and a complete listing of additional special events surrounding each of Western Carolina’s five remaining home dates will be announced at a later date.

The best way to lock-in tickets for the 2019 home-opener and the highly-anticipated fireworks night is to purchase season tickets for each of Western Carolina’s 2019 six-game home schedule. Tickets are on sale now through the Catamount Athletics ticket office, located on the first floor of the Ramsey Center, by phone at (800) 34-GOWCU, and online at Three different seat types – reserved chair back, bench back reserved, and traditional stadium bleacher – options are available for the six home dates at E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field with prices beginning at $90 for an adult general admission and $55 for a youth bleacher season ticket.

Returning WCU Football season ticket holders must renew their season tickets by June 28, 2019, to lock-in their same seats from last year. The Catamount Club’s fiscal year deadlines for renewals is Sunday, June 30.

Single-game tickets for individual home games are set to go on sale Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019.

Keep track of everything related to Catamount football and WCU Athletics through its social media outlets on Facebook ( and Twitter (@catamounts, @WCU_FB), as well as video updates on the department's YouTube channel (CatamountSports).

Important Upcoming Dates in Catamount Athletics / Catamount Football:

Friday, June 28 – Catamount football season ticket renewal deadline

Sunday, June 30 – Catamount Club fiscal year renewal deadline

Thursday, August 1 -- Catamount Football Student-Athletes Report for fall camp

Friday, August 2 – First scheduled practice of 2019 preseason (helmet only)

Wednesday, August 7 – Catamount football single-game tickets go on-sale

Friday, August 16 – Western Carolina University Freshman Move-In Day

Monday, August 19 – First day of classes for the fall semester

Friday, August 30 – the 15th Annual Bob Waters Memorial golf tournament at the Waynesville Inn – Golf Resort & Spa

Saturday, August 31 -- 2019 Catamount Football season and home-opener vs. Mercer