Lamar to open football season with Kickoff Celebration

Lamar to open football season with Kickoff Celebration

The football season will unofficially open for the Lamar University football team Sunday, Aug. 26 with their annual Football Kickoff Celebration. This year’s keynote speaker is football legend “Little” Joe Washington. 

The event will begin at 5 p.m. in the Montagne Center with a VIP reception featuring Washington, LU head football coach Mike Schultz and Director of Athletics Marco Born. That will be followed by general admission to the event at 6 p.m. The event will serve as a fundraiser for the Cardinal football team.

“It’s an extremely important event,” said Born. “It’s a fundraising event that directly supports our football program.”

Tickets are $75 and can be purchased online at lamar.edu/kickoff or by calling (409) 880-7157. Tables can also be purchased for $1,000 and up. A live auction will also be held.

Washington is a man who needs no introduction in Southeast Texas. Born in Crockett, Washington graduated from what was then Port Arthur Lincoln High School, where his father coached football. A superb high school career sent him to the University of Oklahoma where he amassed over 4,000 yards from scrimmage and was a consensus All-American in his junior and senior seasons. He also finished third in the Heisman Trophy balloting in 1974 and fifth in 1975. He was also inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Washington was drafted fourth overall in the 1976 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers, where he played one season before being traded to the Baltimore Colts. He played three seasons with the Colts, including his 1979 Pro Bowl season. His most notable moment with the Colts came on September 18, 1978, when he threw a touchdown, caught a touchdown, and returned a kickoff for a touchdown, becoming the only NFL player to ever do all three in one game.

Washington spent the next three years with the Washington Redskins, and was named one of the 70 Greatest Redskins by the organization. He played in both Super Bowl XVII and Super Bowl XVIII with the team then finished his NFL career with the Atlanta Falcons. He retired following the 1985 season with 4,839 career rushing yards and 3,413 receiving yards with 30 touchdowns.

Washington didn’t sit idly by after his NFL retirement either; he currently works as a financial advisor for Wells Fargo and fielded a NASCAR Busch Series team with NBA Hall of Famer Julius Erving from 1998-2000.

The Cardinals will open the 2018 season at home Saturday, Sept. 1 against Kentucky Christian at 6 p.m. In addition to the game against Kentucky Christian, the Cardinals will host Northwestern State (Sep. 15), Southeastern Louisiana (Sep. 22), Incarnate Word (Oct. 13), Sam Houston State (Oct. 20), and close out the home schedule with Houston Baptist on Nov. 10.

All home games in September will begin at 6 p.m. and every home game for the rest of the season will kick off at 3 p.m.

Individual game tickets range in prices beginning at $10 for general admission and $15 for reserved seating. All LU and Lamar Institute of Technology (LIT) students receive free admission to home events with a valid student ID.

Players reported for fall camp Aug. 2 and return an underclassmen-laden team with 49 returning lettermen, including 20 starters — eight on offense, eight on defense, and four on special teams.

It will be the second season for head coach Mike Schultz after guiding one of the nation's youngest teams through the rigors of a Division I schedule. The Cards opened the 2017 season with 57 new players (signees, walk-ons, and transfers) and Schultz began the task of molding his young squad into a cohesive unit. Despite the team's overall youth, the Cardinals still placed four student-athletes on the postseason All-Southland team.

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