PITTSBURG — Pittsburg State University athletic director Jim Johnson today (Apr. 26) formally announced the 2011 football schedule. The schedule, which includes a first-time event connected with the home opener, features five home games at Carnie Smith Stadium.
The Gorillas open the 2011 campaign with a Thursday night game against MIAA rival Missouri Western on Sept. 1 at St. Joseph, Mo.
The next week, Pitt State makes its home debut at Carnie Smith Stadium on Sept. 10 against Emporia State. The Gorillas' home opener will focus on celebrating the accomplishments of three championship-caliber historic teams with a "Weekend of Champions".
"2011 is a special year because it will mark the championship anniversary for the '91, '81 and '61 teams," Johnson explained. "Each of these outstanding teams played for a national championship and we'll honor them during our home opener with our first ever 'Weekend of Champions'."
In addition to "Weekend of Champions," Pitt State will provide fans with a special event associated with each home game during the 2011 season: the Gorillas will host William Jewell on Family Day on Sept. 24, Lincoln on Homecoming on Oct. 15, Washburn on Hall of Fame Day on Nov. 5 and Missouri Southern in the Sonic Miner's Bowl on Nov. 12. The 1961 team also will celebrate their milestone with events during Homecoming.
The focus on special events is just one of many improvements being made for upcoming season, according to Johnson.
"We're revising our parking system to allow for a better tailgating experience for our fans," Johnson said. "We're going to provide better traffic flow and signage, along with improved receptacles for recycling, trash, and hot coals in the parking lot next to Carnie Smith stadium. A small $5 per vehicle fee will be assessed to help pay for the improvements. This section will be known as Gorilla parking and will be open at least five hours prior to every home game."
Additional parking will be available no cost in the parking lot just east of McPherson Hall.
The 2011 season will also see the return of single game general admission seating in selected lower level sections of the east side of Carnie Smith Stadium.
"Every seat at Carnie Smith Stadium has been reserved, which can lead to long ticket lines for fans and visitors who simply want to watch the game," said Johnson. "General admission will allow them to quickly and easily choose their seating section and provide premium seating for fans who show up early."
Fans are encouraged to get an early taste of Gorilla football this weekend, during the annual Spring Game.
"We're set to take the field at 9:30 Saturday morning," Johnson said. "I hope our fans will come out early, practice their tailgating and see next season's team in action. I know Coach Beck and the Gorillas have been working hard and would love to see a great turnout from our community. There's nothing quite like Pitt State Football, even in April."