Bearcats to Report for Start of Football Practice

WU is 19-3 over Past Two Seasons

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

SALEM, ORE. -- The Willamette University football team, ranked #18 in the D3football.com Top 25 Preseason Poll, will be arriving on campus this weekend, as the Bearcats prepare to hold their first practice on Sunday, Aug. 15 in helmets, shirts and shorts. The first day of practice in full uniforms will be on Thursday, Aug. 19.

In addition to its national ranking from D3football.com, Willamette is ranked #17 in the NCAA Division III Preseason Rankings in the Lindy's college football guide.

Willamette finished the 2009 season with an 8-2 overall record, including 5-1 (2nd place) in the Northwest Conference. The Bearcats, who concluded the year ranked #24 in NCAA Division III, have earned a combined record of 19-3 (.950) over the past two seasons.

Head Coach Mark Speckman enters his 13th season leading the Willamette football team with an overall record of 71-50 (.587). He has been chosen NWC Coach of the Year twice, earning the honor in 1999 and 2008.

Willamette will open the season on Saturday, Sept. 4, at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, which is ranked #16 in the D3football.com Top 25. Game time is set for 12 p.m. PDT/2 p.m CDT.

WU will play at Hardin-Simmons University (Texas), ranked #15, on Sept. 11 at 4 p.m. PDT/6 p.m. CDT, before the Bearcats play their first home game of the season on Sept. 18 against Southern Oregon University. Kickoff at McCulloch Stadium is slated for 1:30 p.m. PDT.

Jamiere Abney, a junior, is one of several strong running backs returning for the Bearcats this season.

Jamiere Abney, a junior, is one of several strong running backs returning for the Bearcats this season.