Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina and the University of Hawai'i have agreed to a contract to open the 2017 football season in nonconference action in Honolulu, Hawaii. The first-ever meeting between the Mountain West-member Rainbow Warriors and the Southern Conference's Catamounts will take place in the islands at Aloha Stadium.
Kickoff time will be announced at a later date.
"Playing at Hawai'i allows us to play a 12th football game in 2017, a year that is slated for just an 11-game schedule," said WCU Director of Athletics, Randy Eaton. "Our financial responsibilities revolving around the 2017 season-opening road meeting in Hawai'i are more than covered by the terms of the contract."
Vying any additional scheduling over the next two seasons - and according to available research - Western Carolina, a NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) program, will become just the second Southern Conference program to travel to the 50th state, joining former member Appalachian State.
"This is a tremendous opportunity for our student-athletes to go and play a very good Mountain West opponent - and to do so in a beautiful setting in Hawaii," said WCU head coach Mark Speir, who was on ASU's staff in 2003 when the Mountaineers opened the year against the Warriors. "The chance to play this game really adds to the overall quality of our student-athlete experience for our football players at Western Carolina."
Western Carolina's scheduled 2015 meeting with Texas A&M in College Station, Texas, represents the farthest west the Catamount football team has traveled for a game, just a little further than the 1973 meeting with the University of Nebraska-Omaha. The 2017 game in Honolulu, Hawaii will by far trump that distance.
Catamount fans interested in traveling to Hawaii for the 2017 opener are encouraged to reach out to the Catamount Club office by phone at (828) 227-3047 to be included on the mailing list as more travel information becomes available.
Western Carolina returns to the spring practice field following Easter break, returning to the gridiron on Monday, April 6 with seven practice dates remaining. Spring drills will culminate with the annual Spring Game, presented by Wells Fargo, on Saturday, April 18 at 1:00 pm.
Season tickets for the 2015 season of Catamount football are on-sale now through the WCU Athletics Ticket Office and online at CatamountSports.com. Fans can purchase a reserved adult season ticket for all five home games for just $125 with youth reserved starting at $65. Returning season ticket holders must renew their season tickets by June 30, 2015. Fans can call the ticket office toll free at (800) 34-GOWCU or (828) 227-2401.
Upcoming Catamount Football FBS Opponents:
2015: at Tennessee - Sept. 19, 2015
2015: at Texas A&M - Nov. 14, 2015
2016: at East Carolina - Sept. 3, 2016
2017: at Hawai'i - Sept. 2, 2017
2019: at N.C. State - Sept. 7, 2019
2024: at N.C. State - Aug. 31, 2024