Coming soon!

We're taking a short break while we put the finishing touches on a fresh, new way of delivering Nebraska athletics content and stories. Visit soon to experience the next evolution of Huskers sports coverage.
Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Huskers Savor Love, Moments Shared During 2023 Fan Day

July 30, 2023

Husker fans already stood in various lines, snaking to tables across the Hawks Championship Center, when the mascots strutted in. Children near the southwest entrance of Hawks gasped. Lil’ Red and the new Herbie Husker posed for pictures with the children who clamored for them. Others either too far away or too focused on the nearest Huskers, didn’t care. It was Fan Day at Memorial Stadium and fans reveled in it.

Lines split by position groups with the quarterbacks at the south end and defensive linemen at the north end, closest to the five national championship banners. Fans wended their way through the various lines for two hours on Sunday. Some of the younger fans didn’t like waiting. They instead played catch near midfield or in the narrow openings offered by the end zones. Some even snuck away to Memorial Stadium, which was open for fans to enjoy.

The annual event offers returning Huskers a chance to reunite with the fan base. It also provides new Huskers a glimpse at the connection between Husker fans and the Nebraska football program.

Naturally, someone near midfield started a “Go Big Red” chant as lines continued to form 30 minutes into the event. Most inside Hawks eagerly delivered the response. Fans handed over shirts, posters, mini-footballs, mini-helmets, pennants and more. Nate Boerkircher was one of many to sign a red foam Hulk-style glove. Ethan Piper said he signed a dish towel from the early 2000s.

But it wasn’t just football players who gained fans’ attention. Members of Nebraska cheer and the Scarlets got fans fired up and took pictures near the marketing tent at midfield. Fans walking by could get a picture and take a 2023 season schedule poster from the tent for the players to sign.

New tight ends coach Josh Martin sat at the end of the position group’s table, right next to Council Bluffs native Thomas Fidone II. Martin posed for pictures and happily signed memorabilia just days after being elevated to a full-time assistant.

Another native Texan, wide receivers coach Garret McGuire, soaked in the environment with the Huskers’ large receiver corps. Omaha native Zavier Betts and new arrival Billy Kemp IV sat next to McGuire. Freshman and Lincoln East graduate Malachi Coleman was clearly a fan favorite. Wearing No. 81, he sat near the midway point of the receivers’ table next to Isaiah Garcia-Castaneda and signed whatever fans put in front of him.

Evan Cooper, Nebraska’s secondary coach, capped the defensive backs table. Fans cluttered that line to be next to Marques Buford Jr., Quinton Newsome, Malcolm Hartzog, Omar Brown and many more.

Fans also clamored to the south side of Hawks and the offensive weapons. Quarterbacks, especially Jeff Sims and offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield, gained a lot of attention. Running backs sat just a few feet over, where Buford, Georgia, natives Anthony Grant and Gabe Ervin Jr. saw a constant churn of adoration. Fans also cycled through the line to offensive linemen, most of which sported shaved heads.

Meanwhile, head coach Matt Rhule met with contest winners and took pictures with young Husker fans upstairs. He wrapped up those meetings by the time the university broke down the tables and the final fans filed out of Hawks just after 5 p.m. Players went off to different meetings and to get checked into the dorms they’ll stay in the next few weeks. In the evening they’d savor the love from fans—in the morning they’d start preseason practice.

  • Never miss the latest news from Hail Varsity!

    Join our free email list by signing up below.