LAFAYETTE — Just as he has done since the first day he set foot on campus, Ragin’ Cajuns fifth-year football coach Mark Hudspeth exuded his trademark intensity in the Cajundome on Sunday at Fan Day.
“This program is where it’s at!” Hudspeth told the more than 1,500 people who turned out for Fan Day.
“Not just football. This athletic program as a whole has so many people who have bought in and have their hands on the rope. From the band to the cheerleaders to the fans, we have the best in the country,” Hudspeth said.
Fans were greeted by the Ragin’ Cajuns band pumping out the university’s fight song and were given T-shirts and posters as they entered the Cajundome.
Athletes from the football team, volleyball team, soccer team and both men’s and women’s basketball teams were in attendance to meet, greet and sign autographs for fans.
University of Louisiana at Lafayette alumnus Kevin Delahoussaye said he and his two sons were eager to get an autograph from Cajuns running back Eli McGuire. Delahoussaye said the Cajuns program is riding an incredible wave.
“I have been a Cajuns football fan since the early ’90s,” said Delahoussaye, 38. “There were some pretty bad years mixed in there. Hud has changed the program and now winning is expected. It is pretty cool to see.”
The past four seasons under Hudspeth ended with a Cajuns win in the New Orleans Bowl.
Allison Lee, a senior at UL-Lafayette, said she’s been to every one of the New Orleans Bowl victories and she has no issue with the Cajuns going back to another one.
“New Orleans never gets old for me,” Lee said. “We’ve had a blast at every single game, and if we end up at the New Orleans Bowl again after this season, I’ll be making the trip.”
Cajuns fans were presented with opportunities to buy season tickets for football games but and the other sports, as well as opportunities to donate to the Ragin’ Cajuns Athletic Foundation.
Hudspeth encouraged fans to “bring a friend” to games in an effort to fill up the stadium this fall.
“We are going to need you this year,” Hudspeth said. “We want to make Cajun Field the toughest place to play in America. Our football team can’t do it by themselves. We need that stadium jam-packed.”
The Cajuns play their first game Sept. 12 against Northwestern State University. Delahoussaye pledged to do as the head coach said and invite “my friends and my neighbors to the games.”
“We bring our kids to the games, and they always have a good time,” Delahoussaye said. “I can convince some people to go, and I assure you we’ll be at every single game.”
Hudspeth called Cajun Field “the best family-friendly stadium in the country.”
He concluded the event by thanking Ragin’ Cajuns Athletic Foundation donors and thanking the fans who attended Sunday’s Fan Day.
While expectations are high in 2015, Hudspeth said the fans can make a difference.
“We need you loud out there,” Hudspeth said. “The football team will do its part and with your help, we’re going to go undefeated at home!”