(CANTON, Ohio) – When Walsh takes the gridiron tomorrow afternoon at 1 against Wayne State, there will be many new things so see. The Cavaliers will be playing in a state-of-the-art renovated stadium under the guidance of a new head coach in Dan Pifer with a new helmet and decal. On top of that, the Maroon and Gold are members of a new conference, but won't play a Great Midwest Game until Week 5.
Walsh returns to the fabulous Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium after the majority of renovations have been completed. The Cavaliers have played there every year since 1997 with the exception of last season because of the construction. Last season they played at North Canton Memorial Stadium, Walsh's home the first two seasons in program history. More renovations and additions are planned, but already Tom Benson Stadium is arguably the nicest in Division II with NFL-Standards.
Dan Pifer will lead the Cavaliers for the 2017 campaign. He is just the third head coach in program history. He comes to North Canton after five years at Division III Olivet College in Michigan. There he led the Comets to a 30-21 record with winning seasons in each of the last four years, including two conference championships in each of the past two seasons.
Continuing with the trend, Walsh is now a full member of the Great Midwest Athletic Conference. The Cavaliers were associate members last season with men's lacrosse. While it is a new conference, many familiar faces will still appear on the football schedule. Also making the transition from the GLIAC include Findlay, Hillsdale, Lake Erie, and Ohio Dominican. Longtime rival Malone made the jump last season. New conference foes for the Cavs include Alderson Broaddus (W.Va.) and Kentucky Wesleyan.
The series between Walsh and Wayne State is still in its infancy as the teams have met just three times prior. Those games have come in each of the last three seasons as both teams were then part of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The Warriors took the first meeting in 2014 by a score of 52-17 and followed with 31-16 and 47-14 victories in the past two meetings, respectively.