There are Rutgers football fans, and then there are fans like the LaValles. Since their graduation nearly 30 years ago, Al and Jacquie LaValle have attended every home game and, starting in 2014, every away game as well. Al RC’90 sports a tattoo depicting a Scarlet Knight slaying a Nittany Lion. Their French bulldog wears a Rutgers collar. When their daughter, Kendall SAS’16, graduated from Rutgers, they asked her not to take a job for six months so she could attend away games with them.  

Their motivation is simple: “We love the university, and we love to support the athletes,” Al says. And support they do, giving to Rutgers athletics through the R Fund and holding four club seats and four more on the 50-yard line. But, generous as they are, what really spurs the LaValles to drive hundreds or sometimes thousands of miles from their home in Ocean Grove, New Jersey, is the joy in the experience.

“It really is about the journey,” Jacquie RC’90 says. That includes seeing the stadiums, meeting the fans, checking out local eats and roadside attractions—and sometimes attending R Game Day, the popular series of Rutgers-themed tailgate parties before every road game. During the 2017 season, Rutgers fans flocked to R Game Day events in five states across the country. 

Of course, the LaValles derive their biggest thrill from the games themselves—especially those that end in a Knights victory. “When you’re on the road,” notes Al, “winning just makes the ride home that much sweeter.”

Eager to support Rutgers athletics beyond New Jersey? Get together with alumni at exclusive R Game Day tailgates for football and men’s basketball. For more information, visit