Cullowhee, N.C. – While much of campus gathered in the Bardo Arts Center for the semester’s opening address from newly-minted University Chancellor Dr. Kelli R. Brown, preseason football camp rolled on at E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field on Wednesday morning.

The Catamounts held their 11th practice of fall camp, working out for just over two hours combined in helmets and shoulder pads – or shells. The team is slated for a fully-padded practice on Thursday morning before breaking Friday to assist with the annual university-wide Freshman Move-In Day during the afternoon hours. Friday also includes Freshman Convocation in the Ramsey Center for the newest Catamounts.

Things ramp back up on Saturday 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 is Bailey Byrum, a senior offensive lineman from Sweetwater, Tenn. Byrum is a two-time Southern Conference Academic Honor Roll honoree who has two years of eligibility remaining after unofficially redshirting in 2017, but is using the 2019 season as his final year.



Name: Bailey Byrum

Major: Accounting



What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Byrum: Strawberry


What is your favorite animal at the zoo?

Byrum: Otter


Which team do you pick in Madden?

Byrum: Pittsburgh Steelers


What is your favorite off-season activity?

Byrum: Hiking and hanging out with friends


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

Byrum: Invisibility


What is your favorite holiday?

Byrum: Thanksgiving


Which teammate makes you laugh the most?

Byrum: Austin Phillips


What celebrity would you most like to meet?

Byrum: Steve Carell


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

Byrum: Dependable, hard-working, and trustworthy.


What motivates you to work hard?

Byrum: To make myself and everyone that has made sacrifices for me proud.


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

Byrum: Read the news; I like being informed.


Who is the most important person in your life?

Byrum: I have two – my dad and mom.


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

Byrum: A police officer.


What is the best advice you were ever given?

Byrum: “Never take anything for granted.”


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

Byrum: Offensive line (OL) – you must put your body on the line for the team.


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

Byrum: Basketball.


One major goal for the 2019 football season?

Byrum: To win as many games as we can and to earn a championship ring.


What made you choose Western Carolina University?

Byrum: The area reminded me of home and when I came on my visit, I knew this was the place for me.


What’s been your favorite class at WCU?

Byrum: American Government and Politics.


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

Byrum: The lifelong friends that I have made.


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

Byrum: Time management!


What is your favorite thing about home games in Cullowhee?

Byrum: The atmosphere that the crowd creates.


What does #CatamountCountry mean to you?

Byrum: A group of people that have the support of each other.


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

Byrum: “You’re too cool for school.”


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

Byrum: It means a lot to know that there are that many people willing to support us.


What has been your favorite athletics moment at Western Carolina?

Byrum: Beating Samford on the last play at home in 2017.


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

Byrum: Being around all of my teammates.


What does your athletic scholarship mean to you?

Byrum: It means the world to me and I am so thankful for it.


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

Byrum: Thank you for always supporting the Cats!