Jonesboro native Chris Woodard has never known a time when his family was not Wolves Up.

 

“I’ve been familiar with Arkansas State since I was little,” he said. “My grandparents have a connection. They went to school there. My parents went to school there. My brother went to school there.”

Photos by Terrance Armstard

Woodard, who would play on ASU’s golf team and graduate from the school in 2008 with a degree in marketing, said the multi-generational connections to the school developed heirloom traditions that are still practiced today.

 

“We have the grill that we set up, and one of our traditions for the setup is to have ham steak for breakfast on the grill. That’s something that to this day, we still do,” he said. “I remember during basketball season, we always stopped at Wendy’s right before the railroad tracks in Jonesboro to eat almost every time before a basketball game.

“Those things stick in your mind, right? You remember the traditions of what you did when going to games. It was great to be a part of. It was our town’s team. It was something everyone rallied around, and I continue to try to rally that support today.”

 

Now living in Cave Springs with a family of his own, Woodard still makes it back to Jonesboro as often as he can. During football season, that means following more rituals that go back to his childhood.

 

“Since maybe 2005, we’ve tailgated in the exact same spot, and where we are today is where we tailgated when I was in school,” he said. “Our goal when we were younger was to be set up to watch College GameDay out there. We would get out there really early and have it set up.

Woodard

“The tailgating at Arkansas State is a fantastic setup. We’re right on the edge of the trees, and we’re close to where the Red Wolf Walk happens. We’re right in the middle of what they call Tailgate City now. We’ve really seen it grow.”

 

Like a lot of fans of a lot of programs, Woodard has witnessed the ups and downs of the Red Wolves through the years, but whether in fat seasons or in lean, he said, the gameday experience, with its many quirks and traditions, is something he always looks forward to.

 

“The thing about Arkansas State games that’s great is they’re affordable. You can get a great seat. You can be around good people and see Division I football,” he said. “I do try to sit in the same place. I like to be outside. I don’t really care to watch a game from inside a suite or anything like that.

 

“I like to be outside in the action, and I want to make sure I’m there before the team runs out. Those are keys for me. You can’t fake passion, and that’s something that I have for the school.”

 

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