The beginning of a new era

Deja Alexander scores a touchdown against Mars Hill on Sept. 10, 2011. (Photo by John Coutlakis,

Football season is upon us and the catamount nation is eager to see what this year holds.

Western Carolina University begins it’s season Thursday, Aug. 30 when it hosts the lions from Mars Hill. The catamounts got their only win of the 2011 season when they defeated Mars Hill by a score of 52-31.

Thursday’s matchup should yield a similar result due to the experience of returning for the catamounts. This veteran catamount roster is made of 19 juniors and 17 seniors including offensive playmakers Deja Alexander, Michael Johnson and Jacoby Mitchell.

Head Football Coach Mark Speir will be making his debut at the helm on Thursday. Speir started off his coaching career at WCU as an assistant from 1991-1996. He was named the 2009 NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Assistant Coach of the Year and has spent the last nine seasons in Boone, N.C. as an assistant at Appalachian State.

Speirs’ decision to leave ASU for WCU will almost certainly add more fuel to the fire in the “Battle for the Old Mountain Jug” rivalry between the two schools. That game will take place on Oct. 27 at E.J. Whitmire Stadium.