Students piled into Maher Gymnasium on the cold winter night of Feb. 6, 2015. Crammed into the student section shoulder to shoulder, the rambunctious group was led by a rowdy group of upperclassman. The men’s basketball team was down nine points to Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) rival Centenary College, with two minutes left to play.
With a combination of home court advantage and a newfound flurry of outside shooting, the team proceeded to cut the deficit down to a measly three points with only a few seconds remaining. Coming off a dribble handoff, current junior guard Lorenzo Gonzalez stuck a three at the buzzer to send the game into overtime and cap off the seemingly unlikely comeback.
“The crowd [at the Centenary game] was rowdy until the end which gave us the advantage to keep fighting,” junior Tom Kaiser said.
This moment was a major building block in the brief but significant history of the Blue Crew, an organization dedicated to increasing attendance and awareness at various athletic events on campus.
Senior Elizabeth Spencer, the head student leader of Blue Crew this year, is determined to indrease the average student’s attendance of athletic events on campus.
“The goal of Blue Crew is to bridge the gap between … UD athletics and the student body. I think there can be a disconnect between students and their knowledge of athletic events,” Spencer said.
Spencer believes it is the Blue Crew’s job to connect academics and athletes, and she is unwavering in her effort to promote higher attendance at various athletic events. In order to increase school spirit, the Blue Crew is expanding its advertising campaign.
“Only so much can be done by putting a banner in Haggar. We need more exposure to get people excited for the games,” Spencer said.
To get more publicity, the Blue Crew is now on social media under the Facebook name “UD Blue Crew” as well as the Twitter and Instagram name @udbluecrew. The club is also pushing Crusader Connect to get its message out to the student body.
Blue Crew is making changes for the new school year in hopes of increasing student excitement for athletics on campus. The club aims to be more inclusive by discarding the membership aspect of the organization. “Last year Blue Crew was something you had to join,” Spencer said. “This year, people are automatically on Blue Crew simply by being a student or being associated with the university.”
Seth Oldham, Staff Advisor of Blue Crew, believes these changes will improve the university’s reputation.
“With the largest incoming freshman class ever, it is clear the University of Dallas’ brand is growing. Our athletic teams can play an integral part in the growing of our brand,” Oldham said.
The club’s presence at games on campus inevitably provides the Crusaders with a competitive advantage. Along with the basketball game against Centenary, a major success from last year was the lacrosse home opener against St. Gregory’s University. The official attendance count was 264, a number unheard of for a lacrosse game.
Senior Alex Ziolkowski appreciated the support of the home crowd and said, “The crowd definitely had a big effect on our performance, there is no denying that. Having a crowd to play for makes a huge difference.”
Large turnouts this year will hopefully provide the athletic teams with support in important games. “We want students on this campus to be proud of the Crusaders,” Oldham said. “If we can get the University of Dallas community excited about some big rivalry games and come out and support our teams, this will be a successful year.”