Homecoming weekend largest in RMU’s history


Compared to years past, Robert Morris University’s Homecoming festivities were a little different. A concert, night game and fireworks were all added to this year’s itinerary. Tailgate Alley was packed hours before the 7 p.m. kickoff between RMU and Saint Francis University.

A record 4,384 people attended the first ever night game at Joe Walton Stadium. Some spectators even had to line up behind the right end zone, creating an electric atmosphere.

“That was the most people I’ve ever seen at a football game here,” junior David Janicki stated. “I heard there were 2,000 tickets sold before the game. I was worried I wouldn’t get in.”

Leading up to the game, the upper lot was packed with alumni and students tailgating. Scott Blasey of the Clarks performed at 5 p.m. as a warm-up for the show the Colonial football team put on.

During the 45-14 thrashing, fireworks were lit off from the student parking lot after each one of the Colonials’ six touchdowns.

“The crowd was awesome. Playing under the lights, shooting off fireworks when we scored made it exciting for us,” Central Cambria graduate and junior safety Ben Ridgeley proclaimed.

After the first quarter the 1996 East Coast Athletic Conference (ECAC) Bowl Champion football team was honored as they were among dozens of former players in attendance.

Former players like all-time leading rusher Myles Russ, All-American offensive lineman Corey Konycki and All-NEC linebacker Elias Navarro were also in attendance after graduating a season ago.

“It was nice coming back and seeing the team. Getting to talk to coaches and teammates,” Konycki stated.

At halftime Ryan Phillis and Ally Vignone were named 2011 Homecoming King and Queen in front of the largest crowd ever, which included the Steelerettes, cheerleaders for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1961-1970.

After RMU captured their second straight conference victory and moved into a tie for first place with Albany, a firework show was put on for all who stayed.

“The fireworks after the touchdowns were awesome, but the show after the game was even better. I think they should definitely have them again,” Student Program Board member Kiersten Metzger said.

Fans, alumni and players together in their celebration of RMU made the 2011 Homecoming one of the most memorable in school history.

“I hope next year is even bigger and better. I don’t know what else they can do, but I’m excited to see,” added Metzger.