The morning was as beautiful as any over the past few weeks. Cool temperatures and sunshine covered the field at the UC Baseball Stadium with the dawn of a new chapter in the life of Bearcat athletics. Cincinnati Athletic Director Mr. Bob Goin was joined by University of Cincinnati President Nancy Zimpher to welcome the crowd along with Big East Commissioner Mr. Mike Tranghese.
Mr. Bob Goin UC Athletic Director
As faculty, fans and student-athletes joined together for a continental breakfast and the ringing in of the first day of Big East Membership. All three would speak to the crowd and see great applause from those in attendance.
After all the speeches were finished, President Zimpher and Mr. Goin made their way into the stands and shook hands and thanked those who came out for the start of this big day. The mood was great and people showed their support to President Zimpher who's come under attack for the handling of Men's Basketball Coach Bob Huggins contract.
University President Nancy Zimpher
Big East Commissioner Mike Tranghese
Many current athletes from all varsity sports were on hand for the morning events joined by several of the head and assistants coaches.
Overall the day got off on the right foot and people were excited about heading down to Fountain Square.
As the bus loads of members of the University of Cincinnati headed downtown to Fountain Square, you could tell their would be a different feel to the lunch events as compared to those held in the morning.
The Bearcat Dances on Fountain Square
The breakfast event was more for university students and administration as compared to the Fountain Square were corporate sponsors and fans would join together with city officials to enjoy a great lunchtime event.
As the clock clicked close to the noon start time, you could see those who came to show their displeasure with President Zimpher trickle in. Some showed up wearing "I Support Coach Huggins" t-shirts and buttons to show their disappointment with the president, while others brought homemade signs. Some even went and purchased highly priced signs to make sure their point came across to those at the event.
Coach Huggins Fan Shows His Support
The University Pep Band, Cheerleaders and National Champion Dance Team performed leading up to the official start of the event. Several games and tables were set up with different information in regards to UC athletics and other departments at the university with many of the games having Bearcat athletes running them.
UC Cheerleaders Perform for the crowd
UC National Champion Dance Team was all Smiles
UC Band takes care of the Music
When Dan Hoard took the stage you could sense a change in the wind coming from the crowd. For the most part those who came downtown were there to enjoy the lunchtime event. But when Cincinnati Mayor Charlie Luken announced President Zimpher the Coach Huggins supporters showed their voice.
Mayor Makes if official "Big East Day"
While Coach Huggins supporters made their point, President Zimpher didn't allow them to change her mood and keep a big smile on her face during her speech. The mood of the crowd returned to normal after they booed Mayor Lukens after he commented on their treatment towards President Zimpher.
Was there in Spirit not body
In the end the media sources got their photo-ops and sound-bites and hurried off to try and chase down President Zimpher before she left. Did the Coach Huggins Supporters succeed in their hopes of getting President Zimpher to rethink her stance of their favorite coach? While I'm sure they feel better for having the chance to express themselves I didn't see the president flinch one bit by the gestures shown by the crowd.
The crowd from Fountain Square really didn't make the trip back to campus for the night's closure from the day's events. With a great crowd on hand, the night started with a bang and ended with a bigger bang. Only Everything started off the music and would be followed by a great performance from The Avenues. During one song, UC Athletic Director Bob Goin made his way onto the field and danced with the members of the Dance Team. The crowed enjoyed it, the girls enjoyed it and Mr. Goin enjoyed it.
Dance Team and Mr. Goin dance the night away
The Mistics would follow with a great performance that brought the dance team and cheerleaders out to dance.
While the music was playing, children enjoyed playing with the games set up just outside of the stadium. Clowns were also on hand making animal balloons while the Bearcat tossed a football and posed for photos with them. Several current Bearcat athletes were seen signing hats or pieces of paper for the many children who noticed them.
Clowns for the kids
UC mascot makes the kids smile
As the sky turned from blue to a UC red, those in the stands were getting ready for what everyone wanted to see. Fireworks lighted the sky and the famous Rozzi Family put on a great 20+minute display of lights in the sky. At the end came a lighted sign with the C-paw and Big East spelled out.
UC Red Sky
Fireworks in the sky
All who came left with a happy feeling knowing the next chapter of University of Cincinnati Athletics is off on the right foot.
Big East and UC together as one
All Photos are copyright by Bearcat Insider