Florence, Alabama – While the history of pre-game tailgating on Spirit Hill is not a long one, it has become a “must do” event for die-hard UNA Lions fans. All of the spots on The Hill are reserved a year in advance and are a coveted item for the lucky fans that get them. Several of the tailgaters have been partying on The Hill since the tradition was developed by former Athletic Director Joel Erdmann and continued by current Athletic Director Mark D. Linder. Former AD Erdmann enlisted the help of the UNA Greek community, student organizations and UNA Alumni to embrace the event at it’s inception and it has expanded to become what it is today.
Additionally, former AD Erdmann and former football coach Mark Hudspeth were instrumental in starting the Lion Walk which is a pre-game parade down Royal Avenue (at the foot of Spirit Hill) that includes the Lions’ football team, cheerleaders and The UNA Pride of Dixie Marching Band.
Since the beginning of the Lions Walk the tradition has been continued by successive football coaches and today is a major part of the UNA football pre-game excitement. Current Head Football Coach Bobby Wallace is an enthusiastic supporter of this pre-game tradition.
At the present time there are two permanent structures on Spirit Hill, the Alumni Pavilion and The Home Depot Radio deck. Each game day at the Alumni Pavilion, UNA Alumni and Sportsman Club members are invited to come by and socialize and enjoy a light snack. It’s a great chance for UNA fans to have fun before the start of the game.
For 2-1/2 hours prior to the game on The Home Depot radio deck, J.D. Byars broadcasts the Lions pre-game show over local radio station WFIX FM-91.3.
In addition, there is a portable music stage where different bands play before each game. There are also kids events that are sponsored by local businesses.
If you haven’t experienced Spirit Hill, then arrive a bit early and check it out. All the tailgaters will be happy to see you and who knows, you might even get to sample some tasty tailgater treats. ROAR LIONS!!