Tailgating before the annual Homecoming Game can bring alumni student-athletes together for a Homecoming experience different from their years at the university.
Brent Wagner, an offensive lineman on the football team from 2012-15, compared attending Homecoming as an alumnus and as a student-athlete.
“It’s a lot different,” said Wagner. “I love coming to Homecoming every year and seeing old friends and coaches. On game day, a few years ago, I was in the locker room preparing and getting taped up and ready to go, but now, I’m here in sort of a different capacity with other friends and just enjoying the game and supporting the program.”
Cory Zunker, an offensive lineman on the football team from 2013-16, shared his Homecoming experience as an alumnus.
“Homecoming is great for everyone, the alumni and past student-athletes,” said Zunker. “We love coming back because we get to see how the facilities change over the years. They get better, and we always love keeping up with the team and meeting the new head coach. As an alumni, I now love giving back and keeping up with the city.”
Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach Aja Ochie, a forward on the women’s basketball team from 2010-14, explained how the Homecoming experience changed since she was a student.
“When I played, we didn’t have a tailgate,” said Ochie. “Now, we have a tailgate, and all the players that I know can stop by and fellowship with the current players. Also, we bring recruits. So, it’s good for the recruits to be here and enjoy the atmosphere of Southeastern.”
Cass Hargis, an outfielder on the baseball team from 2008-11, was impressed with the current Homecoming Day experience.
“The whole game day experience is completely different,” said Hargis. “As big as the Homecoming is for all the people when I was here, from 2008 to 2011, Homecoming was really the only game that we got a crowd like this. Now, you can come out here next weekend, and it’s going to look very similar.”
1981 Alumnus Robert Mahfouz, a former quarterback on the football team, shared his thoughts on the importance of attending Homecoming as an alumnus.
“Southeastern is a real big part of me and college football,” said Mahfouz “I just enjoy coming back and seeing the advancement and improvement the school has made. Also, especially seeing the guys I coached and seeing that they’re successful, and it’s just good to be back home.”