Western Carolina will play six home football games, including its home opener on August 30, and travel to the University of Louisville (September 8) during the 2001 season, it was announced.
The schedule features three consecutive games versus teams that finished the 2000 season ranked among the nation’s top 25. The Catamounts will host Furman (September 29), which will coincide with Mountain Heritage Day, play at defending national champion Georgia Southern (October 6), and return home to face Wofford (October 13).
Other key dates for Western Carolina include Virginia Military Institute on October 27, which will be the centerpiece of WCU’s Homecoming weekend, and the regular-season finale at Appalachian State on November 10 in the annual battle for the old mountain jug. The Mountaineers, who reached the national semifinals this past fall, join Furman, Georgia Southern and Wofford as SoCon teams to be ranked among the nation’s top 25 at season’s end.
The Catamounts will start the 2001 season with a Thursday night contest at home versus Mars Hill.
The early start is to accommodate WCU supporters prior to the Labor Day Holiday. Western Carolina will then face its second non-conference opponent on September 8 when it travels to Louisville. The Cardinals, led by returning All-American safety Anthony Floyd, are coming off a 9-3 season, winning seven of their final eight regular-season games to earn a berth in the 2000 Liberty Bowl. The Cats will step out of conference for a third time when they host Liberty on November 3.
“The Thursday opener, versus Mars Hill, is great for our fans and students,” said head coach Bill Bleil. “I also like the overall layout of the schedule. I especially like playing our big rival, Appalachian State, in our final regular-season game again.
“As it was last year, the Southern Conference will be the best in the country top-to-bottom. I am excited about the upcoming season.”
Western Carolina will return 10 starters on offense in 2001, which will be the school’s sixty-eighth season of football. On defense, the Catamounts will be led by senior defensive tackle Jeff Chambers and junior linebacker Seth Hansen.