Behind the scenes
Homecoming is one of UC’s grandest days each year. Students can enjoy a full week of activities, and thousands of alumni return from near and far. Pageantry, nostalgia and excitement fill the campus. And the football team tries to win one for the Red & Black.
This year, Saturday, Oct. 19, is the big day. But what about the weeks and months beforehand? Here’s a glimpse at what makes Homecoming happen:
Plan your work, work your plan
Homecoming is presented by the UC Alumni Association with help from the UCAA-affiliated Student Alumni Council (SAC). Starting in January, SAC’s Homecoming Committee holds regular meetings all the way until Homecoming Week. Subcommittees manage key elements such as the weeklong student activities, the king and queen nomination and selection process and parade planning.
In July, representatives from more than two dozen departments, units, colleges and student organizations — from public safety and facilities to student life and university communications — begin meeting monthly to coordinate the maze of event logistics facing them.
Each Homecoming also carries a theme largely created by and geared toward the students. This year’s theme is “Once Upon a Homecoming,” chosen in the spring from various possibilities considered by SAC and various UC staff members.
I love a parade
For generations, the annual Homecoming Parade has been a treasured campus tradition. The hour-long spectacle features around 60 entries, including about 15 floats and numerous marching bands. Grand marshals this year are basketball great Oscar Robertson, Bus ‘60, HonDoc ‘07, and his wife, Yvonne, Ed ‘56. The parade requires street closures from Calhoun Avenue (where the parade sets up) to Clifton Avenue and Martin Luther King Boulevard.
Thousands of Bearcats cheer along the parade route while panels of judges assess the floats for best expression of the Homecoming theme and school spirit, as well as the high school bands for best-in-show.
When is Homecoming?
The UC Alumni Association cannot select the date for Homecoming until the athletic conference releases its schedule in early March, but this year, the Oct. 19 date essentially “chose itself,” since the prior home game against Temple was tabbed for national TV on Friday night, Oct. 11.
As for game time, ESPN’s contract provides flexibility to see how certain matchups will best fit into various time slots. UC usually doesn’t know until 12 days out what time a Saturday conference game will start — and once per season, that window can shrink to six days. The fact that it is Homecoming does not affect the channel’s choice, so the UC Alumni Association manages a flexible schedule.
Homecoming Kickoff Party
Friday, Oct. 18
Featuring Athletic Director Whit Babcock and Coach Tommy Tuberville
Myers Alumni Center
Free to all UC alumni
Saturday, Oct. 19
UC vs. UConn game at Noon
Parade starts at 8:30 a.m.
Bearcat Blitz pre-game festivities at Myers Alumni Center