Prepping for game day is a team effort

  Wednesday, September 20, 2017 2:00 AM
  News, People and Society

Pittsburg, KS

Prepping for game day is a team effort

Fans’ focus will rightfully be on the two competing teams, but if they look closely they’ll see a third group at work; the Pitt State game administration team.  

Led by Jim Johnson, Pitt State’s director of Intercollegiate Athletics, the team consists of leaders from 15 different areas throughout campus.  

“On any given Saturday, we’ll host 10,000 or more fans,” said Johnson. “We expect them to experience a game day that is unlike any other. In order to deliver, we’ve developed a team of professionals whose sole focus is to deliver that experience.”  

In order to help fans get the most out of their game day, university officials have developed a detailed game day website. Launched last year, the site provides information about game day polices, traditions and expectations.  

“We want everyone to know what to expect before they come to campus,” said Mike McCracken, director of university police. “We’ve included a full listing of items allowed and prohibited inside Carnie Smith stadium as well as a detailed explanation of our general tailgating policies, and answers to frequently asked questions.” 

Security is a major focus of the university’s preparation, but so are I.T. resources, trash/recycling collection, food preparation, vendor support, live entertainment, electrical and water supplies, broadcasting, licensing enforcement, band, cheer and dance routines, and much, much more. 

The list is long and very detailed,” said Johnson. “We begin planning months in advance. We look at everything; from the time the team begins the Gorilla Walk, to the exact second we play the opening video. It’s one of the reasons why Pittsburg State is known for its game day atmosphere.”  

The university implemented significant revisions to its game day policies and procedures during the 2016 season. These included the addition of the Gorilla Grove and the introduction of a new Game Day Code of Conduct. The response to both, especially the Gorilla Grove, is a source of pride for the game administration team.  

“Our students have really taken ownership of the Gorilla Grove,” said Steve Erwin, vice president of Student Life. “The expanded space and the location near the Gorilla Walk have really added to the game day atmosphere.” 

The university now provides students with the opportunity to reserve tents within Gorilla Grove for $10. The tents will be put in place at least four hours before kickoff and removed by university officials following the start of the game. Students may rent tents by visiting the PSU ticket office prior to noon on Fridays preceding home games.  

A limited number of tickets for Saturday’s game are still available for purchase at the Pitt State ticket office located in the Weede Building or online at

Family Day events range from a 5K to activities especially for children, and recognition during the game of the Honorary Family. A detailed listing of Family Day activities can be found at



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