On Saturday, September 16, the football team hosted Millsaps in what was a 27-21 victory. Despite the rain, students were able to enjoy some tailgating. As part of the initiative to attract more students to spectate sporting events, student organizations can now reserve tents from the athletic department for tailgating use. Student attendance wasn’t quite as high as it was at the first game as a result of the rain. Athletic Director John Shackelford attributes the high student support on September 2 to the tent rentals, “I thought our attendance and student involvement at the first game was really high with the new ability for student organizations to check out a tent from us. And we had a great environment over there on game one.”
In addition to this, the Beer Garden was also open for the first time. “We were excited about the addition of the beer garden, we think that’s a good addition, that long term will be very, very successful” Shackelford said. The Beer Garden was run by Shenanigans. It was on the scoreboard-end of the field on the home side.
Shackelford added that the goal is to create separate sections, “if you would like to have an alcoholic beverage, you have a section to do that… [if] you want a family environment, we want that too.” The beer-friendly section extends from the end of the stone seating to the corner of the endzone.
Despite a slightly lower attendance due to rain, Shackelford thinks that the Garden had “a good start, but [it’s] hard to say exactly how that will impact things.”
In addition to attracting new students to come to sporting events, the athletic department also celebrated alumni on September 15. “Each week is focused on different things. And this week, it was a Hall of Fame event,” said Shackelford. On Friday the 15, five alumni were inducted into the athletic Hall of Fame. These alumni were: Jonathan Hawgood (C ’91), for Men’s Soccer, Katherine Koepke (C ’01), for Women’s Cross Country and Track & Field, Jenny Liles (C ’13), for Women’s Tennis, Phillip Link (C ’13), for Men’s Swimming & Diving and Lane Shackleton (C ’05), for Baseball. The ceremony also honored the 6 alumni that were inducted in 2020 and 2021, due to a lack of a ceremony at the time of their induction because of the pandemic.
“I thought it was very well attended. And it’s a big honor to be inducted in the Hall of Fame” added Shackelford. “We introduced the Hall of Fame people at halftime of the game [on Saturday]” where the football team had their first conference win.
The football team’s next home game is October 7 against Birmingham Southern.