At the end of the day, one common theme stood out amongst the gathering on Wagner Field: family.
The K-State football family consists of student-athletes, coaches and support staff, but perhaps the biggest part of the K-State football family is the fans. And, those fans are counting down the hours until the morning of September 5 when they load up the car and travel to Bill Snyder Family Stadium for their family reunion.
"I'm definitely excited for the season," Ryan Newton of Manhattan said. "I think the K-State Family Reunion is a great idea. I want this place to be as packed as possible, and I think that the entire state will come out in full force and make this the loudest stadium in the Big 12 every week."
Coach Snyder received a standing ovation from the fans in attendance on Saturday, and following his message to the crowd, he introduced the 2009 senior class, player representatives and had each captain address the crowd. Snyder then took a seat at the 50-yard line and signed autographs until the last fan was remaining.
And, there definitely was a buzz around the stadium about the return of their head coach.
"We're excited to have Coach back," said Betty Rush of Solomon. "It does feel like a family stadium. I went to school here in the 1970's when you came to the games just because it was something to do."
The 20 largest crowds in Bill Snyder Family Stadium history have each topped the 50,000 mark, with only two occurring since 2005. With the countdown to the K-State Family Reunion in its final stages, the expectation is that the September 5 game against UMass will reach that plateau and close in on the season-opening record crowd set back in 1999.
"It's very important to have a full stadium on September 5," Rush added. "The more we have here, the more the kids and coaches feel supported, and that's what K-State is all about."
Kickoff for the K-State Family Reunion on September 5 is set for 6:10 p.m. Less than 6,500 tickets remain for the opener, including 700 GA tickets priced at $20 each.
Season tickets for 2009 also remain available in good locations. The most convenient way to order tickets is online at www.k-statesports.com. Tickets may also be purchased at the K-State Athletic Ticket Office in Bramlage Coliseum. Fans wishing to personally discuss season ticket options can also call the ticket office at (785) 532-7606 or Andrew Hamor in the Ahearn Fund office at (785) 532-7984.