CINCINNATI -- University of Cincinnati football coachLuke Fickellhas made an excellent impression among area high school football programs. This spring will be no different.
The University of Cincinnati football team will conduct a spring practice starting at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 1 at Elder High School's legendary stadium, The Pit, UC and Elder High School announced Friday afternoon.
The practice, one of UC’s 15 NCAA-allotted spring workouts, is free and open to the public.
“We are excited to get out in the local community,” Fickell said. “It’s important for our program to reach beyond the boundaries of campus and be able to meet our fans on their turf. The Pit is one of the great venues in Cincinnati’s tradition-rich prep football scene. I can’t wait to see a packed house on April 1.”
The famed stadium holds 10,000. The Pit was named one of the top 10 best places in America to watch a high school football game by USA Today in 2001.
“We are really excited to have UC here for a practice,” Elder coach Doug Ramsey told WCPO.com. “I think it’s great that coach Fickell wants to bring his team to The Pit for a practice that will be open to the public. It’s just an example of how he wants his program to be a part of this city.”
John Widecan, UC associate director of athletics for football operations, was at the stadium this week looking over the facility. UC initially contacted Elder a few weeks ago about the opportunity, according to Elder Assistant Athletic Director Kevin Espelage.
“To have a team of his magnitude come here for a practice is pretty good,” Espelage told WCPO.com. “I think it has a chance to be a big crowd.”
The practice will be conducted more like a scrimmage situation and will be in pads, Espelage said. It is expected to end at 1 p.m.
Elder is the only high school location UC is conducting a spring practice this year.
Ryan Koslen, UC's associate athletic director for communications, could not recall another time UC held a spring practice at a high school. Widecan could not recall another time and he's been at UC for nearly 30 years.
Espelage said the nearby Seton High School garage will be open for fans to park. No ticket is required for entry into the stadium.
Espelage and Ramsey could not recall another time in which a Division I college football practiced at Elder Stadium.
Mount St. Joseph used to play at The Pit in the late 1990s.
The Pit is in its 70th year of hosting football on its site. The stadium was dedicated in 1947 before the annual Thanksgiving Day game between Elder and Western Hills, according to Elder graduates Matt Lawrence and Keith Meyer.
Extra points: Espelage also told WCPO.com Friday afternoon that UC Athletic Director Mike Bohn will be the guest speaker at the 41st annual Elder Alumni Sports Stag April 26. ...Ramsey confirmed Friday that 2017 offensive lineman Joe Bischoff will attend UC as a preferred walk-on.