Bakersfield College brought attention to its upcoming football season Tuesday with a healthy dose of pomp and circumstance at the entrance to Memorial Stadium.
There was the Renegades bus, wrapped impressively with the school's Knight mascot complete with sword, a Bakersfield City fire truck, a huge U.S. flag on the outside of the stadium and, of course, cheerleaders.
Then came the unfurling of a 20-by-60-foot banner that stretches from the top of the stadium to the ground. The banner, featuring Derrick Vickers – who starred at BC the past two seasons and is now at Utah – is the largest ever on campus.
All this is geared toward selling more tickets to BC football games. The Renegades open the season Sept. 2 at home against Allan Hancock College.
Perhaps the biggest cheerleader on hand was Mayor Karen Goh.
“Renegade football is about tailgating; it’s about getting to know those people right next to us, carrying on that feeling of camaraderie, sharing that mutual experience into the week and on into the months ahead,” she said. “Renegade football is the people of Bakersfield, the people of BC.”
Her remarks got the attention of head coach Jeff Chudy.
“I guess we figured who is going to be our first pregame speech-giver,” he quipped.
BC athletic director Sandi Taylor thanked all who support the Renegades and noted big crowds make a difference.
“If you’ve never been down on the field during the game, that energy is electric,” she said.
The Renegades went 6-4 in the regular season a year ago, and Chudy said he expects an upgrade this year, thanks in part to strength and conditioning coach Zack Peters.
“I know one thing, the product on the field is going to be significantly better,” he said. “You’re going to see a dramatic impact with what Zack’s done. He’s got enthusiasm, and he’s carried it down to our student-athletes. There is a 100 percent buy-in. It is really exciting to be a part of it.”
The Renegades have been going through conditioning this summer and hit the practice field with helmets only on Thursday.
“I can tell you, our guys will be physically fit, they’ll be mentally prepared and they’re going to play with a lot of passion,” Chudy said.
New this year is the opportunity for Bakersfield College boosters to be part of the Knight Club, a fundraiser for all 20 athletic teams. Membership costs range from $50 to $750 with more perks, including a new hospitality area at football games for $350 and above. Call the BC athletic department at 395-4266 for more info.