For the first time in 66 years, the Loyola football team has scheduled a full season of home games to be played on campus. Due in part to the success of last year’s home football game against St. Augustine High School, the Loyola administration decided that bringing football games back to Loyola for the 2015-16 season would be best for the Loyola community.
Former long-time head football coach, and current Loyola college counselor, Mr. Steve Grady, Class of 1963, said, “A lot of students wanted to see a home football game on campus. With last year being the 150th, and in order to gather publicity, and for the student body and the alumni to rally behind the celebration, we had to have that one game last year. If all went smoothly and according to plan, then the administration could possibly do it again. But since the game was such a big and fun event for all who attended, it had to be done.”
Commenting on the positive feedback from many Loyola parents, alumni, and donors, Athletic Director Mr. Chris O’Donnell said, “Everybody said how much fun they had because of its electric atmosphere.”
Director of Events Ms. Karin Chamberlain further explains, “The positives from last year were incredible. Everyone thought that the energy was fantastic. With the stadium filled to capacity, there is a lot of spirit that goes into that which made the game feel good. We had plenty of comments from alumni, parents, faculty, and students saying that they enjoyed the game on campus.”
According to Ms. Chamberlain, a big event such as the home football game requires that every precaution must be put into effect to create a safe and fun environment for all in attendance: “There were a lot of contingencies that we had to prepare for in terms of the stadium size and the intense interest from students and alums such as closing down Venice, limited parking, and making sure that our neighbors were not affected or harmed by the game.”
Senior lineman and team captain, David Bengford said, “Having games on campus will bring back our fanbase instead of having to drive out to LA Valley College in Friday traffic. I’m hoping we get a good level of support.”
According to Ms. Chamberlain, “Students planning to attend the game must show their ticket and student I.D. at the same time.Students who know that they will be staying on campus past 5 p.m. because of a club, activity, or athletic event, we will work with their coaches and moderators to put those students in a designated parking area at the beginning of the day so that they don’t have to move their cars.”
For students who plan to drive and want to stay for the game, a $10 parking pass will be sold in the Dewey parking lot on Friday mornings, but it is encouraged to carpool because of the limited parking spaces. In addition, students who have lockers by the gymnasium and home stadium bleachers will not have access to their lockers after 5 p.m., according to Ms. Chamberlain.
Pre-game activities will be held on campus to energize the crowd for the game. Mr. O’Donnell said, “We will have stuff to do in the Malloy Commons and the gym parking lot, but tailgating as we know it, in which you eat at your car, will not be allowed.”
As the game against Highland draws closer, Bengford is looking forward to reliving the electric atmosphere from last year’s home game against St. Augustine. “Playing last year was just great and incredible. Having sold out seats to our fans, and storming the field afterwards was just an awesome experience.”
Although administration has not decided whether the home games on campus will continue into next year, they hope that the home games will be a success and a fun experience for all in attendance. Mr. O’Donnell said, “More than anything else, we are trying to create an environment for the student body and the football team to have a true home. We just hope that this can be the norm and that it will continue down the line for many years to come.”