Cullowhee, N.C. - All eyes will be on the Spartanburg Marriott in Spartanburg, S.C., on Tuesday, July 18 as the Southern Conference holds its unofficial kickoff to the 2017 athletic season with the 2017 SoCon Football Media Day. All nine head coaches -- two in their first seasons at their respective schools -- and select student-athletes from each school will be on hand to meet the media and preview the upcoming season.
Southern Conference Commissioner John Iamarino will address the full group prior to the kickoff luncheon and all of the assorted media activities. Also on Tuesday, the SoCon will unveil its official predictions including both coaches' and media preseason polls, as well as the coaches' preseason all-conference teams.
In addition to sixth-year head coach Mark Speir, Western Carolina will be represented by a pair of seniors on either side of the football -- all-purpose running back Detrez Newsome and defensive back Keion Crossen. Newsome, the reigning NCAA FCS all-purpose yardage champion, is coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons and was a three-time postseason All-America selection a year ago, while Crossen -- a two-sport athlete who won the men's 100-meter dash at the 2017 SoCon Championship -- recorded a career-best 61 tackles a season ago including 43 solo stops.
The afternoon media session will be streamed live through the Southern Conference Digital Network (SoConDN.com). Each head coach and student-athletes representing each SoCon program will appear on the live stream, moderated by Pete Yanity in a press-conference style interview (schedule listed below). Iamarino will also be interviewed on the stream to wrap-up the day's activities. The full session will additionally be archived on the digital network.
Fans are invited to keep tabs on SoCon Media Day through WCU's social media outlets with various portions available through Facebook LIVE (fb.com/catamountsports); join in on the conversation through Twitter (@catamounts, @WCU_FB) and Instagram (wcu_catamounts) using the hashtag #SoConFB and #ClawsOut.
The preseason releases, as well as images "Through the Lens," accounting the day's activity will be posted online at CatamountSports.com.
SoCon Live Stream Schedule:
1:10 p.m. -- Live Stream Begins
1:15 p.m. -- VMI: Head coach Scott Wachenheim; Stephen Miller, OL; Allan Cratsenberg, LB
1:30 p.m. -- Samford: Head coach Chris Hatcher; Devlin Hodges, QB; Omari Williams, DB
1:45 p.m. -- Chattanooga: Head coach Tom Arth; Alejandro Bennifield, QB; Lucas Webb, DB
2:00 p.m. -- Mercer: Head coach Bobby Lamb; Thomas Marchman, OL; Lee Bennett, LB
2:15 p.m. -- The Citadel: Head coach Brent Thompson; Dominque Allen, QB; Kailik Williams, DB
2:30 p.m. -- ETSU: Head coach Carl Torbush; Austin Herink, QB; Chris Bouyer, DL
2:45 p.m. -- Western Carolina: Head coach Mark Speir; Detrez Newsome, RB; Keion Crossen, DB
3:00 p.m. -- Furman: Head coach Clay Hendrix; Matthew Schmidt, OL Jaylan Reid, DL
3:15 p.m. -- Wofford: Head coach Mike Ayers; Brandon Goodson, QB; Tyler Vaughn, DL
3:30 p.m. -- SoCon Commissioner John Iamarino
SoCon Digital Network Video Stream Link
Season tickets for all five home dates of Western Carolina's 2017 football season are on sale now through the WCU Athletics Ticket Office, located on the first floor of the Ramsey Center and online at CatamountSports.com. Fans can also call the ticket office toll free at (800) 34-GOWCU or (828) 227-2401. Season tickets are trending ahead of last year, so don't miss your opportunity to secure your seats.
WCU's football student-athletes officially report to campus for the 2017 fall camp on Monday, July 31 with practice opening on Tuesday, Aug. 1 with the first of two acclimation period, helmet-only sessions. The first day in full pads for the Catamount football team this the fall is slated for Saturday, Aug. 5.
Important Upcoming Dates in Catamount Football:
Tuesday, July 18 -- Southern Conference Football Media Day in Spartanburg, S.C.
Monday, July 31 -- Catamount Football Student-Athletes Report
Tuesday, Aug. 1 -- First scheduled practice of 2017 preseason (helmet only); single-game football tickets on-sale to Catamount Club and season ticket holders only
Saturday, Aug. 5 -- First scheduled practice in full pads
Sunday, Aug. 6 -- Western Carolina's on-campus Media / Photo Day
Tuesday, Aug. 8 -- Single-game home football tickets on sale to general public
Friday, Aug. 18 -- Western Carolina University Freshman Move-In Day
Monday, Aug. 21 -- First day of classes for the fall semester
Saturday, Sept. 2 -- 2017 Catamount Football season-opener at Hawai'i
Friday, Sept. 8 -- 13th annual Bob Waters Memorial Golf Tournament at The Maggie Valley Club
Saturday, Sept. 9 -- 2017 Catamount Football home-opener vs. Davidson in Cullowhee, N.C.
Friday, Oct. 27 -- "The Mutt" Catamount Football Golf Classic at the Laurel Ridge Country Club
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).