Nearly 15,000 Employees Attend Football Kickoff

Faculty and staff cheer on Duke’s season opening win on Sept. 3

A look at the sights from Employee Kickoff game day. Photos by Duke Photography.

Faculty and staff helped push attendance at Duke football’s Sept. 3 home opener to the max, as 35,049 fans filled Brooks Field at Wallace Wade Stadium for the Employee Kickoff Celebration.

Of fans in attendance, 14,807 were employees and their friends and families, marking a second-straight year employees snapped up about 15,000 tickets to the opening game.

After a pre-game party featuring food, face painting and family games, fans cheered on Duke’s 49-6 win over crosstown North Carolina Central University, the fifth straight time Duke has won its season opener.

With all the excitement, one fan had special reason to cheer: Dink Suddaby, who celebrated her 31-year work anniversary on the day of the game, was Duke football’s honorary employee captain. She earned the title after being nominated by colleagues across Duke.

“It meant the world to me, but having the honor take place on my anniversary made the whole thing so much more special,” said Suddaby, staff assistant with Graduate Liberal Studies. “I never would have thought 31-years ago, when I took my first step on this campus as an employee, I’d be nearing the end of my career as a team captain.”

Suddaby attended a press luncheon and head coach David Cutcliffe’s weekly radio show. On game day, she ran onto the field with the football team and joined Duke’s captains for a coin toss to determine which team received the ball first.

“When I ran onto the field, I was looking down this long line of white Duke Marching Band uniforms and it felt surreal,” Suddaby said. “I started running and whooping and hollering and the band responded, woohooing right back.”

Duke employees who enjoyed the Employee Kickoff, sponsored by Duke Human Resources and Duke Athletics, can continue to cheer on the Blue Devils with discounted season tickets. Faculty and staff can purchase tickets to all remaining five homes games for $125 per season ticket, more than half regular price.

To buy discounted season tickets, call (919) 681-2583 or visit the Duke Athletics Ticket Office in Cameron Indoor Stadium.