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PROVO — Former BYU football coach Bronco Mendenhall made a tradition of in-season firesides the night before football games, bridging the divide between football and the school’s sponsoring institution, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
New coach Kalani Sitake isn’t doing away with the tradition, but it will look a little different in 2016.
BYU announced a new series of firesides on Wednesday, moving the regular player and coach meet-and-greet/testimony meetings to the offseason while weekly alumni firesides will accompany BYU football games during the season.
“I like the idea of continuing the tradition of BYU firesides and look forward to reaching out to Cougar fans across the country,” Sitake said in a statement. “In addition to conducting firesides featuring our team this spring and summer, we will have firesides during the season that will feature our alumni.
“We appreciate our great fans and hope they enjoy the firesides.”
Sitake tried the new fireside format last week following the Cougars’ FanFest event in Mesa, Arizona. The new coach, along with wide receivers coach Ben Cahoon, linemen Tuni Kanuch, Ului Lapuaho and Quinn Ficklin.
Current players and coaches will be involved in offseason firesides located near road game sites during the 2016 season. The Cougars will travel to East Lansing, Michigan (home to Michigan State) on May 1 for the second of the offseason firesides, and conclude the rotation on June 26 in Eagle, Idaho, near Boise State.
Various alumni will conduct pre-game firesides during the season, with support from BYU athletic department and football program officials, and the team will continue to conduct its annual fireside at the Utah State Prison during the season.
The full schedule of spring and summer firesides is below.
BYU Football Fireside Schedule
|May 1||East Lansing, Michigan||Lansing Stake Center|
|May 15||Montgomery, Ohio||Montgomery Stake Center|
|May 22||San Clemente, California||San Clemente Stake Center|
|May 29||Washington, D.C.||LDS Temple Visitors’ Center|
|June 5||Laie, Hawaii||BYU-Hawaii, Cannon Activities Center|
|June 12||Sandy, Utah||Alta View Stake Center|
|June 26||Eagle, Idaho||Star Idaho Stake Center|