The Roadrunner football program came into its inaugural season with a record breaking crowd and walked out with the national record for average attendance by a startup program.
The attendance for Saturday’s victory over Minot State was 32,369. That brought the total number of people who passed through the turnstiles of the Alamodome to 213,126 for the six home games.
“I can’t believe this was the last game,” Director of Athletics Lynn Hickey said following the Roadrunners 49-7 victory. “I am very proud of how the students came out for this game so we could finish strong.”
The UTSA-Minot State game brought the Roadrunners’ average attendance to 35,521 over six games. The Roadrunners took the record for startup average attendance from South Florida, which had averaged 33,038 over seven games in 1997.
“This shows that there was a need for a football team in San Antonio,” Hickey said. “I think San Antonio and UTSA made a statement.”
The Roadrunners most likely would have gotten the startup record for total attendance were it not for the South Florida Bulls having seven home games in their first season to the Roadrunners’ six.
Despite that, the attendance average set by UTSA should stand for the foreseeable future the Roadrunners hold a unique place in being the only high level football team in a city as large as San Antonio.
“I am really proud to have been a part of this,” Defensive Coordinator Neal Neathery said. “This will be something that you can hang your hat on forever.”
The numbers put up by the Roadrunners at the gate showed that UTSA had taken its place among the sports institutions of San Antonio.
“The city has been fantastic,” Head Coach Larry Coker said. “The Alamodome is phenomenal place to play. I want to coach here and play here forever.”
Of course the support shown by the city was great, but it was the students of UTSA that made the average attendance record possible.
“I don’t know how long it will be before someone breaks that record because we raised the bar that high,” Quarterback Eric Soza said.
“That is a tribute to the fans. They were great; they stayed in there with us.”
The close of one season means that another will soon begin. Next season will be the first in the Western Athletic Conference for UTSA, another milestone as the Roadrunners will become the fastest team to move up to the Football Bowl Subdivision. If the first season was any indication, the numbers should increase as the level of competition coming into San Antonio rises.
“We are going to have a great program,” Hickey said. “We have a great opportunity in front of us.”