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Friday, September 24, 2021

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Welcome back for old, new Cougars


Fans looking forward to Saturday’s home football opener caught a small glimpse of what to expect this season at Wednesday’s pep rally, part of the annual Cat’s Back event at the University Center.

The Spirit of Houston Cougar marching band, cheerleaders and Cougar Dolls dance team were all on hand to give performances.

UH President Renu Khator welcomed students to the event, and Athletics director Dave Maggard and head coach Kevin Sumlin encouraged students to attend the game against Southern.

"We’ve been working hard, and we need you in the stands," Sumlin told the crowd.

The pep rally was just one aspect of The Cat’s Back, an annual event sponsored by various UH organizations.

"It’s an all-inclusive event. We have organizations here. We have a chance to get some free food and t-shirts (and) there’s a magic show," Student Government Association President Sam Dike said.

"It’s a really wonderful welcome back event that showcases what the University of Houston’s all about, and that’s building community."

At the UH organizations fair, which began at 4:30, different campus groups. including fraternities and sororities, set up information tables and gave away food, drinks and prizes. Students received a card with different event sites listed on it, and those who visited all of them received a free t-shirt.

The last event of the night was a magic show, which began at 7 p.m., shortly after the pep rally.

"It’s truly a University-wide effort," Dike said.

Senior safety Kenneth Fontenette was one of the football players who ended the pep rally by thanking students for their support.

He said the reaction from students at the pep rally was encouraging to the team.

"It’s kind of like the same feeling from 2006 (when the Cougars won the Conference USA Championship). Everybody’s real excited. I can’t wait," he said.

Freshman university studies major Joseph Irabor attended the event and said it made him more aware of what the University has to offer.

"It’s a new experience for an incoming freshman. I liked it," Irabor said. "It’s the overall experience for freshmen (and) transfers. It’s a great environment."

He said he hopes the excitement at the pep rally carries over to Robertson Stadium on Saturday.

"I hope everybody comes out and supports their team. I always have faith in my home team, so I hope they smash on Southern and the rest of their schedule, too."


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