LEBANON — The first order of business for new McKendree University football coach Mike Babcock heading into spring practice was to release the Bearcats' 2013 schedule on Tuesday.
McKendree will play a 10-game slate in the first year of the Babcock Era. The Bearcats will host five games at Leemon Field in 2013, beginning with the regular-season opener on Sept. 7 against Tiffin University.
"This really marks the beginning of the new season," said Babcock, who was hired back on Dec. 5 as the 17th head football coach in McKendree history. "We feel like we have 10 very strong games on the docket, with strong opponents both in and out of conference. I'm fired up...I cannot wait to get started."
In addition to seven games against Great Lakes Valley Conference opponents, the Bearcats' non-conference schedule features one NCAA Division II playoff team from a year ago as well as a pair of foes from the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC). For the second straight year, McKendree will kick off its season by facing GLIAC foe Tiffin University. The Dragons will be making their first visit to Leemon Field.
The following week -- Sept. 14 -- McKendree will hit the road for the first time in the new year to take on Henderson State University. The Reddies reached the first round of the NCAA Division II playoffs after capturing the Great American Conference regular-season title in 2012. On Sept. 21, McKendree will head to William Jewell College to open its GLVC schedule.
After an open date, McKendree will meet the University of Findlay at Leemon Field on Oct. 5. That game will mark the Bearcats' final non-conference tilt of the season. McKendree will face GLVC foes for the final seven weeks of the 2013 season, beginning with an Oct. 12 meeting at home against the University of Indianapolis. The Greyhounds captured the GLVC's first-ever regular-season championship last season.
McKendree will visit GLVC newcomer Truman State University in the first of a two-game road swing on Oct. 19 before heading to Saint Joseph's College a week later. The Bearcats will play two of its three November games at home, beginning with a Nov. 2 match-up with Quincy University. After the final road trip of the season to Missouri S & T, McKendree will close out the 2013 regular season at Leemon Field on Nov. 16 versus Kentucky Wesleyan College.
The Bearcats will play five night games in the coming season, with all scheduled for 6 p.m. starts. McKendree will play under the lights at Henderson State and William Jewell before hosting Indianapolis, Quincy and Kentucky Wesleyan in night games.