When the Maroon Monsoon invades Sun Devil Stadium Saturday during the Sun Devils matchup against the Fighting Illini, various activities will be devoted to recognize the Sun Devil Club throughout the evening.
The Sun Devil Club, understanding the importance of community involvement and strong alumni relationships, was at the forefront of ensuring the football team re-established the tradition of spending a part of their fall training at Camp Tontozona.
The campaign - "Return to Camp T" - launched on April 19 and called for Sun Devil fans, alumni and former players to help the team get back to the famed mountain retreat, located northeast of Payson, Ariz. With support from Head Football Coach Todd Graham, Vice President for University Athletics/Athletics Director Steve Patterson and the White Mountain Sun Devil Club Alumni Chapter, along with a litany of donors and former players, the team was able to make the trip for the first time since 2008.
"I want to thank the White Mountain Group, the former players, our administration, and everybody that made this happen," said Graham. "It was a tremendous week. This place is like heaven."
The five-day stint was highlighted by a Sun Devil Club turnaround trip that included a bus trip to the scrimmage, a VIP tent with refreshments and a special address from coach Graham. As the scrimmage wrapped up, the entire team made its way around the field and personally thanked all of the supporters for coming out and cheering them on. Everyone was then invited down onto the field to sing the school fight song, take pictures with student-athletes and chat with the players they cheer on every weekend night in the fall.
The more than 5,000 Maroon and Gold clad fans that descended upon Payson provided the perfect backdrop for the Sun Devil Club to ignite the passion that permeates throughout the hallowed ground at Camp T and usher in a new era of ASU pride.
"The turnout was phenomenal," offered former ASU tight end Gary Knudson. "The year after we won the Rose Bowl I don't think we had a fraction of the people show up. It's great to see the support and this is a great way for the team to form a bond. I think it is going to be a real positive thing for the program."
The Fry's Ultimate Tailgate will kick off the festivities Saturday in the Arboretum, on the Northeast Corner of Wells Fargo Arena. The VIP Tailgate occurs before each Sun Devil home game and opens three hours before kickoff.
Junior Sun Devil Club members will take part in the Devil Walk and 50 members will also line the tunnel for team introductions.
Cy Vaughn will also be honored during the game for being a season ticket holder for 50 years and one of the founding members of Devil Docs, a group of medical professionals who are donating to the Sun Devil Performance capital campaign
At halftime the Sun Devil Club board will be recognized and will present a check to Athletics Director Steve Patterson recognizing Sun Devil Club's contributions to Sun Devil Athletics during the 2011-2012 academic year.
If you are interested in learning more about Sun Devil Club, please visit sundevilclub.com.