“I attribute the win against Iona to the fans.” Coach Ed Cooley.
“To walk into that stadium and see 1,000 wild and rowdy students was the best thing I’ve seen in my tenure.” Stags in the Stands co-president Andrew McMahon.
4,094 fans packed the men’s home basketball game against conference rival Iona on Friday night. It was the 8th largest crowd ever for a Fairfield basketball game, the largest in conference crowd and continued the trend of rising student attendance this semester. The game, aired on ESPNU, was the second home game to be televised after Monday night’s game aired on MSG.
Fairfield University’s sixth man has made quite a strong showing this semester for the men’s basketball games. Coach Cooley described the game’s fans as the, “Best I’ve seen at my time at Fairfield”.
This game also marked the third game with the student only floor section. Seating 120 fans directly across the court from the main student section, the new section filled completely for the first against Iona. Rowdy fans including the “redman” fans in spandex red suits quickly became a favorite for the ESPNU camera man behind the hoop.
In 2008 Fairfield had its largest attendance in school history, 4,959 people, against cross-town rival Sacred Heart University. The Iona game last Friday and the Manhattan game two Fridays ago had crowds larger then the capacity of Alumni Hall, 2,479 people. The Iona game would have seen 1,615 fans turned away had it been held in Alumni Hall. ESPNU and ESPN2 have also taken interest in Stag basketball recently, something only possible in The Arena at Harbor Yard. Most recently ESPN2 announced they would be covering the February 28 men’s basketball game against Siena.
Frank Aquino Stags in the Stands co-president said the 9p.m. game was a “hard selling point…and I’m happy the student body really saw something to make them support the stags on ESPNU.”
He continued, “To see everyone standing for once was something that excited everyone and I think made even the fans get loud and crazy The players really feed off the fans and we need these crowds come MAAC tournament time. Hawkins had a career high in points and he is one player that really feeds off the crowd.”
Freshman Julie Kimball said she goes because, “It’s a fun thing to do with your friends and cheer for the Stags with everyone.” Underclassmen haven’t been the only ones supporting their team, as senior support has been quite high this year.
Sarah Piccolomini ‘11 said, “I go to show school spirit, support the team and all their success”. Chrissy Perez ‘11 said, “I go to cheer on the heart throb Kristian Petric.” She also said, “This is the most spirit I’ve seen in all four years and I wouldn’t want to miss it.”
Stags in the Stands and Athletics are both optimistic that fan support will continue to rise. Going into March and the MAAC tournament fan support will be crucial. Coach Ed Cooley summed it up saying, “Our fans can help win a MAAC Championship.”