McCartney: Fill Folsom this spring
Former CU coach wants stadium full on April 19
DENVER -- Dan Hawkins and Bill McCartney joined forces Thursday hoping to turn a pipedream in to reality.
When addressing a record crowd of more than 1,600 fans at the annual CU football recruiting luncheon at the Adam's Mark Hotel, McCartney challenged CU fans to learn a lesson from Alabama and turn out in force for the spring football game.
McCartney said when Alabama hired coach Nick Saban a year ago from the Miami Dolphins, one of the first things Saban did was to ask Crimson Tide fans to support the program by showing up to the spring game. More than 92,000 obliged.
McCartney said that level of support paid off in recruiting the 2008 class in Tuscaloosa. Alabama was the consensus No. 1 recruiting class this year by all the major recruiting services. McCartney then asked CU fans if they were capable of the same sort of support for their program.
He asked fans to stand in the hotel ballroom and pledge to bring 50 friends with them to the April 19 game and fill Folsom Field. Most CU spring games in recent years have featured crowds of just a few thousand fans.
McCartney came armed with a little research. He said CU had the smallest stadium and the smallest average attendance in 2007 of the top 30 schools in the recruiting class rankings this year.
"Where are you going to be on April 19?" McCartney asked in an interview afterward. "Why not come there and take this thing to another level?
"I think there is a missing component. If we're going to go for the national championship, play the great teams, we're in the same conference with Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska; if we're going to compete with (Texas) A&M;, we've got the best city and the best academics, but the smallest stadium. So let's fill it every time, starting with the spring game."
Hawkins latched on to the idea when he addressed the crowd and he made it known he wasn't joking.
"I'm calling you guys out," he said. "I'm counting every head there April 19 and there better be 50 grand."
CU used 44 of its 56 allowable recruiting visits in this recruiting cycle. It can 'bank' six of its remaining visits giving the program 62 available visits for the 2009 cycle. ... CU will hold its pro timing day March 19. ... During his remarks at the luncheon, Hawkins said he still has several scholarships available and it's possible a defensive lineman or two could be added to the mix before training camp. ... Athletic director Mike Bohn said the buzz created by the 2008 recruiting class led to 104 new season tickets being purchased on national signing day. ... Renowned Boulder-based artist Don Coen provided 75 limited edition Buffalo paintings to be auctioned off at the luncheon. Most were sold, raising money designated to help sustain football recruiting efforts. "I love the Buffs and I just wanted to do something for them. So I did," Coen said.