Football Central: Your guide to the 2011 season

Join the fun at the home opener Thursday, Sept. 1

FIU Football’s 10th season opens Thursday, Sept. 1, with the Panthers ready to defend their Sun Belt Conference Championship and build on last year’s historic success. The 7 p.m. match-up brings the North Texas Mean Green to FIU Stadium in the first of six home games.

The fun begins at 4:30 p.m. with the return of the Alumni Association Panther Pit Tailgate Village in Lot 6 next to the stadium. The tailgate is open to all and features the Dazzlers and marching band, music, games, prizes, a bounce house and the iconic Panther arch.

FIU is coming off its best season in its history. Last year’s 7-6 season brought home both a conference title and FIU’s first bowl invitation and victory. This year, the Panthers have been selected to repeat as the Sun Belt Conference champions in the preseason coaches’ poll and the Blue Ribbon College Football Yearbook.

The first 4,000 students to attend the game will receive a free t-shirt and all fans will get a free schedule magnet. During the game, a few lucky students will be selected at random to win an upgrade to faculty/staff parking. The presenting sponsor of the game is Doctors Hospital.

This year, fans will hear a familiar voice in the football stands. FIU alumnus and Miami HEAT public address announcer Michael Baiamonte will be the FIU football team’s PA announcer for the 2011 season.

Known as “The Voice,” Baiamonte began his career more than 30 years ago serving as the first-ever PA announcer for FIU basketball (1981-1982). A 1986 graduate of FIU, Baiamonte called Sunblazer/Panther games up to 1993, marking 12 years of service.

“Michael Baiamonte will bring a whole new level of entertainment to FIU football and the game day experience,” FIU Executive Director of Sports and Entertainment Pete Garcia said. “He’s a well-known voice to the South Florida sports fan and has been a part of some tremendous history during his 21 years with the Miami HEAT. It is great to see him return to his alma mater.”

To help fans prepare, the FIU News team has compiled all the coverage of the 2011 season below. Enjoy!

Panther Rage and the historic season

Out of the Shadows
FIU’s football team got everyone’s attention last season with its first championship and bowl win. Now they are hungry for more.

The Fast and the Furious 4

Star player T.Y. Hilton pushed himself this summer so he can defend FIU’s Sun Belt Conference championship.


10 Questions for FIU Blue Man

Home field named after alumnus David F. Alfonso family

Panther Points: Support FIU Athletics, win prizes

For tickets call 305-FIU-GAME or visit FIU students attend free with their student ID.