Cullowhee, N.C. – Though Friday was an off-day from the practice field, it was anything but “off” for the Catamount football team – simply a small lull before Saturday’s big scrimmage on the turf at E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field.

WCU’s football student-athletes attended team and position meetings in-and-around daily treatments and special teams walk-thru sessions. Then, by unit – offense and defense – the team aided in the campus-wide “Freshman Move-In Day” before being granted a much-appreciated night off.

Things ramp back up on Saturday, though, with an afternoon scrimmage scheduled for 1 pm team stretch – or flex – period on the turf at Whitmire Stadium. Each of WCU’s practices is open to the public. It is respectfully requested, though, that spectators observe from the stadium seating area and avoid being either on the field or the sidelines for safety. Practice times are subject to change.

Both single-game and season tickets for all six home dates in 2019 are on sale now through the WCU Athletics Ticket Office located on the first floor of the Ramsey Center or by phone at (800)34-GOWCU or (828) 227-2401. Fans can also purchase season tickets online by visiting Tickets for the home and season-opener against Mercer – the “Purple Out” that includes postgame fireworks presented by Ingles and iHeartMedia partners 99.9 Kiss Country and Star 104.3 FM – are going fast!

Up next in this year’s preseason "Get to Know" features Austin Phillips, a senior tight end from Banner Elk, N.C. Crucial to the Catamount running attack, the hefty tight end does have six career receptions including a pair of touchdowns – one in both 2017 and 2018. He has played in 28 career games for the Purple & Gold over the past three seasons.



Name: Austin Phillips



What is your nickname?

Phillips: Hammer, Gooby, or Goobers


What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Phillips: Moose Tracks


What is your favorite animal at the zoo?

Phillips: Catamount!


Which team do you pick in Madden?

Phillips: New York Jets


What is your favorite off-season activity?

Phillips: Playing golf or snowboarding


If you were a superhero, what powers would you want?

Phillips: Ability to fly


What is your favorite holiday?

Phillips: 4th of July


Which teammate makes you laugh the most?

Phillips: Hard to choose; they’re all funny.


What celebrity would you most like to meet?

Phillips: Post Malone


What three words or phrases would your teammates use to describe you as a person?

Phillips: Funny, hard-working, and lover.


What motivates you to work hard?

Phillips: My friends and family.


What is something you always love doing even when you are tired or rushed?

Phillips: Play video games; it’s relaxing.


Who is the most important person in your life?

Phillips: My mother.


As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Phillips: A Catamount football player.


What is the best advice you were ever given?

Phillips: “If you’re gonna be dumb, you’ve gotta be tough.”


What position do you play – and what is the one key thing to know about playing that position?

Phillips: Tight End (TE) – you’ve got to bring the maximum effort.


If you weren’t playing football, what sport would you have played in college?

Phillips: Water polo.


One major goal for the 2019 football season?

Phillips: To win the Southern Conference.


What made you choose Western Carolina University?

Phillips: After multiple visits to the university, I thought it was a great place to continue my athletic and academic career.


What’s been your favorite class at WCU?

Phillips: Geometry of Nature


What’s your favorite part about being a student-athlete at Western Carolina?

Phillips: Putting in the work with my brothers day-in and day-out


What’s the most challenging thing about being a student-athlete at Western Carolina?

Phillips: Trying to manage your time.


What is your favorite thing about home games in Cullowhee?

Phillips: Definitely the Cat Walk and getting a win in front of over 12,000 people.


What does #CatamountCountry mean to you?

Phillips: A close-knit group of people who love their school.


What is your favorite quote or saying from WCU head football coach Mark Speir?

Phillips: “One Clydesdale horse can pull 7,000 pounds but two Clydesdales can pull 26,000 pounds.”


What does it mean to play in front of a large home-game crowd in Cullowhee?

Phillips: It makes all of the hard work worth it.


What has been your favorite athletics moment at Western Carolina?

Phillips: Beating Samford in 2017 in a close game.


What will you miss MOST about being a Catamount student-athlete?

Phillips: The friendships that I’ve made during my time here.


What does your athletic scholarship mean to you?

Phillips: It means a lot to me. I earned a scholarship last year and it felt great to help my parents out and to see that my hard work paid off.


What message would you like to send to the Catamount Nation?

Phillips: Cats by 90!