Cullowhee, N.C. – Since his installation as head football coach at Western Carolina University, Mark Speir has stressed the importance of creating the best home atmosphere at E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field, not only in the Southern Conference but in all the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision.
Catamount Nation continues to respond in a boisterous voice.
For a second-consecutive season, Western Carolina led the Southern Conference in average home football attendance, posting a program-best 17th national ranking in the FCS in 2018 as the NCAA released its annual football attendance surveys. Last year marked the fifth-consecutive season that WCU has ranked inside the national Top 30 in attendance figures and a fifth-straight year the average attendance number has improved in Cullowhee, posting an average of 10,580 in 2018 – the best seasonal average since 1991.
“The Catamount Nation has created a game day atmosphere second to none here in Catamount Country – you have helped us lay the foundation for Western Carolina football,” said Speir. “We can’t wait to see the Catamount Nation back out in full force again this fall. We have a great home slate of games that starts out Labor Day weekend with a Southern Conference opponent, the Mercer Bears. We continually talk to our team about ‘starting fast’ – and we need your help to pack Whitmire Stadium for that home opener on Aug. 31 to do just that – and then, hit repeat for each of the five home dates.”
“Our fans … our student body, our alum, our former student-athletes and the ‘828’ – our western North Carolina community – all are a key component in our success as we feed off your enthusiasm and energy. Thank you, again, for your continued support to get to No. 17 last year – let’s shoot for the Top 10 this year,” Speir said.
With four home games and an average of 24,770 fans per game, Jackson State led the Top 30 list in 2018, just ahead of perennial attendance leader, Montana, in second at 24,677. James Madison (20,911) was third with Southern (18,803) and North Dakota State (18,106) rounding out the top five schools.
All told, the Southern Conference had three teams inside the national Top 30 in average home attendance in 2018 with Mercer (22nd, 9,803) and The Citadel (24th, 9,343) to rank sixth out of the 13 national NCAA FCS conferences.
Season tickets for Western Carolina’s 2019 six-game home schedule 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 CatamountSports.com. 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.
Kickoff times, broadcast availability, and a complete listing of additional special events surrounding each of Western Carolina’s home dates in 2019 will be announced in the coming days. 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 (fb.com/catamountsports) and Twitter (@catamounts, @WCU_FB), as well as video updates on the department's YouTube channel (CatamountSports).
WCU Home Football Attendance Average Last 5 Years:
2018 – 17th – 10,580 (1st in the SoCon)
2017 – 23rd – 10,547 (1st in the SoCon)
2016 – 23rd – 10,465 (3rd in the SoCon)
2015 – 26th – 10,119 (4th in the SoCon)
2014 – 28th – 9,525 (3rd in the SoCon)
Important Upcoming Dates in Catamount Athletics / Catamount Football:
Friday, June 7 – The Catamount Shootout golf tournament at the Marion Lake Club in Nebo, N.C.
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