Jon Ollwerther/The Mirror  Former FUSA President and fearless leader of the Red Sea (above) Hutchinson Williams is settling into his new role on campus. Williams currently works with assistant athletic director for marketing Roy Brown in Fairfield Athletics.

Jon Ollwerther/The Mirror

Loud chanting. Shirtless crazy fans. Face paint. Sold out events.’ These things are what the Fairfield University Athletic Department dream of, and they won’t stop trying until they get it.’

Fairfield University has 20 Division I athletic teams, yet their average attendance for games are far from what they would hope for.’

Following a year in which no team won a conference title, the athletic department is trying to increase the marketing of sporting events in order to encourage attendance.’

The athletic department found this initiative so important that it created a graduate assistant position with the responsibility of overseeing marketing promotions and fan development.’

When they began to search for someone to help lead this new program, they chose a graduate that is infamous to Fairfield fans, remembered by most for his red wig, loud voice, and body paint.’

That man is Hutchinson ‘Hutch’ Williams, former FUSA president, and Fairfield fan legend.’

Williams has replaced his cape for dress pants, and is serving as head of the two-year graduate assistant program, while also pursuing his MBA.’

‘One of my jobs is to encourage people to go to these sporting events’ Hutch said, ‘If you see it, and actually come to these games, your going to see good (games). I believe fans will come back.’

Hutch has helped put various promotions in place for every fall sport in order to encourage fan attendance, ranging from t-shirt give-a-ways to free pizza.’

‘I love going to sports on campus (and) the new promotions and give-a-ways have been an added bonus.’ said junior Brad Gorson.’ Hutch also made it clear that he isn’t just trying to get fans to come to the most popular sports; he wants every sport to increase in fan attendance, which he refers to as, ‘Stag Engagement.’ Williams and the athletic department, though, aren’t the only ones trying to help with these issues on campus.

SAAC, or Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, is a group of Fairfield athletes that meet to discuss issues with athletics on campus. One successful idea they have put into place is ‘Stags Helping Stags’.

‘Stags Helping Stags is basically a program that makes it mandatory for all athletes to attend at least one home game of every sport,’ said junior Michaela Cerrone, a SAAC representative.’

It’s hard to argue with the success of the new program so far. On Nov. (#) women’s soccer game against Niagara, attendance reached 110 students; 105 were fellow student-athletes.

With basketball getting underway, these programs hope to spark newfound student participation at the games at the Arena at Harbor Yard.’

Over the years, there have been many debates on whether the basketball teams would be better off playing the majority of their homee games on campus at Alumni Hall.’

‘Fairfield is trying to build towards a Harbor Yard on campus.” Hutch said. ‘The first step is for our program to continue to develop, and that won’t happen without the help of our fans.”

‘It all starts at the beginning of every season.’ Hutch said.’

When asked is there was anything the athletes themselves could do to increase fan attendance at their games, Williams smiled and responded, ‘Everyone loves a winner.’

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