Five home games and a season-opening road trip to Southeastern Conference foe, Vanderbilt, highlight Western Carolina’s 11-game 2009 Catamount football schedule released last week. The slate includes three teams which made the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) playoffs a season ago and a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) winner.
“The 2009 schedule is very exciting,” said second-year head coach Dennis Wagner. “Our team and staff are looking forward to the challenge.” Western opens the season with a road trip to SEC-opponent, Vanderbilt. Under the direction of former Furman head coach, Bobby Johnson, the Commodores are coming off a 7-6 season in which they opened with five-straight wins, moved into the national Top 25 and won the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl over Boston College.
WCU will host the Bulldogs from Gardner-Webb for its home opener on Sat., Sept. 12 in Cullowhee. It is the fifth meeting all-time between the two schools in a series that dates back to 1932. A week later, the Catamounts jump into Southern Conference play by visiting Georgia Southern in Statesboro, Ga., on Sept. 19.
The opening month of the season will wrap-up by hosting Furman on Mountain Heritage Day, Sept. 26 in Cullowhee.
The October slate opens with Western’s first-ever trip to Samford as conference opponents. The Bulldogs joined the SoCon last season, finishing tied for fourth at 4-4 overall. After an open date on Oct. 10, the Catamounts host back-to-back home games against The Citadel and Wofford on Oct. 17 and 24 in the annual Homecoming and Family Weekends. October closes with a road trip to Chattanooga to face the Mocs and first-year head coach Russ Huesman.
November’s schedule is headlined by the final home game of the regular season as the Catamounts host Elon on Nov. 7. WCU will also induct its 20th class into its Athletics Hall of Fame that weekend.
The Catamounts will close 2009 with consecutive road games as they visit Eastern Kentucky in Richmond, Ky., and wrap-up the regular season with the annual “Battle for the Old Mountain Jug” against arch-rival Appalachian State in Boone on Nov. 21.
Spring practice for the 2009 season – which will be closed to the public unless advance approval is granted by Wagner – is scheduled to get underway on Sunday, March 29. The NCAA-mandated 15 practice sessions will culminate with the annual Spring Game which is set for Saturday, April 25 with a 1:00 pm kickoff.
“This spring we will focus on improving our running game, with an emphasis on third down and short and fourth down conversions. Defensively, we must improve on pressuring the quarterback with a four-man rush. We will also work towards building a better understanding of our pressure packages,” said Wagner. Season ticket information for the upcoming season will be announced in mid-March with the start of spring drills.
Date Opponent (2008 Record, Finish) Location Time
Sat., Sept. 5 at Vanderbilt (7-6, T-3rd SEC) Nashville, Tenn. TBA
Sat., Sept. 12 Gardner-Webb (5-6, 4th BigSouth) Cullowhee TBA
2009 Home Opener
Sat., Sept. 19 at Georgia Southern * (6-5, T-4th SoCon) Statesboro, Ga. TBA
Sat., Sept. 26 Furman * (7-5, T-4th SoCon) Cullowhee TBA
Mountain Heritage Day
Sat., Oct. 3 at Samford * (6-5, T-4th SoCon) Birmingham, Ala. TBA
Sat., Oct. 10 – OPEN –
Sat., Oct. 17 The Citadel * (4-8, 7th SoCon) Cullowhee TBA
Sat., Oct. 24 Wofford * (9-3, 2nd SoCon) Cullowhee TBA
WCU Family Weekend
Sat., Oct. 31 at Chattanooga * (1-11, 9th SoCon) Chattanooga, Tenn. TBA
Sat., Nov. 7 Elon * (8-4, 3rd SoCon) Cullowhee TBA
WCU Hall of Fame Weekend
Sat., Nov. 14 at Eastern Kentucky (8-4, 1st OVC) Richmond, Ky. TBA
Sat., Nov. 21 at Appalachian State * (11-3, 1st SoCon) Boone, N.C. TBA
* – Denotes Southern Conference game
All dates and times subject to change