Fans get fired up over anticipation of basketball season

The student group Cherry Crusade has made its mission to show Temple spirit and pride at home games.

The 2008-2009 men’s and women’s basketball season is prepared to be loud, impressive and exciting.
Owls filled the Draught Horse on Cecil B. Moore Ave. Nov. 6 for a gathering with season ticket holders and players. The event helped set the spirit for the season, which is about to begin. All players were enjoying food and drink and huddling together for pep talks.

Coaches and players emphasized the importance of crowd participation.

“Grab a friend or two to bring to the game,” coach Fran Dunphy said to the crowd. “Please support us to the best of your ways, from talking about us to attendance.”

Hooter, Temple’s mascot, gets the crowd pumped at sporting events (Nic Lukehart/TTN).

Temple Athletics marketing and promotions department has plans to offer special game-day giveaways to entice students to come.

The Wild Cherry Sports Pass guarantees holders lower level seating, chances to win prizes and the opportunity to see postseason games. Depending on which teams the Owls play, students can get free tickets for home games by presenting their Owl Cards at the Liacouras Center ticket office.

The Spirit Squad, which consists of the pep band, cheerleaders and Diamond Gems Dance Team, will encourage the audience to cheer on teams during the games.

“With anticipation of the new basketball team, the cheerleader team has been working really hard with brand new stunts and tumbling to keep up the excitement,” said cheerleader Beverly Henderson, a senior elementary and special education major.

The Cherry Crusade, a student fan squad, will advertise the basketball games on campus by posting signs around campus and inside residence halls. Cherry Crusade’s goal is to inform the entire university about basketball games.

“We are excited with the offseason improvement of our men’s team and the new look and upbeat tempo of our women’s team.

“Our goal is to get as many fans, students especially, in the seats for both men’s and women’s home games,” said Steven Brooks, co-founder of the Cherry Crusade and a senior business, computer and information technology education major. “This year, more than ever, we also want to start trying to implement a decent bunch of students who are really willing to start traveling with the team.”

Freshman business management major T.J. DiLeo, a guard for the men’s basketball team, said he is “excited for the fans,” along with the rest of his team.

A large audience plays a major role in the teams’ performance, said junior advertising major Ryan Brooks, a guard for the men’s team.

“When we are out here on the court doing positive things, the rowdy crowd propels us to do more,” Brooks said.

The men’s basketball team will have plenty of promotions to build hype. During halftime, several home games will hold half court shots worth $5,000, which a lucky fan could shoot for. The home games include: Miami (Ohio) (Dec.3), Tennessee (Dec.13), Charlotte (Jan. 24), Richmond (Jan. 31), La Salle (Feb. 26) and Saint Joseph’s (March 5).

An Owl auction for entertainment packages will take place at the home game versus Richmond. “Dollar Dog Day” is another game-day promotion in which hot dogs will be sold for $1.

Hooter the Owl’s birthday will be celebrated at the home game versus La Salle.

In honor of senior African-American studies major Dionte Christmas, the “Five Months of Christmas” promotion will give a fan a present at every home game.

“Hopefully, we can put some more banners in that gym,” said Tonya Cardoza, new coach of the women’s basketball team.

Temple employees can purchase $1 tickets for the women’s basketball team’s first home game versus Bowling Green Nov. 14. The top five students flaunting the best face paint and signs will win prizes at the Dec. 1 home game versus Rutgers. Post-game autographs and photo opportunities with the women’s team will take place at the home game versus Florida State Dec. 7.

Tickets are $5 for school children at the Seventh Annual Women’s Basketball School Day game versus Rhode Island Jan. 14. Five tickets can be bought for $5 at the ticket office for the home game versus La Salle. The home game versus St. Joe’s will support cancer awareness.

“We encourage all Temple students and employees to support new head coach Tonya Cardoza and the women’s basketball team,” said Scott Walcoff, assistant athletic director for marketing and promotions of Temple Athletics. “We’re looking to reach the NCAA Tournament for the sixth consecutive season, and the team deserves to play in front of a great crowd night-in and night-out.”

“The sportsmanship is a critical piece to letting the public know how spirited and loyal these fans are,” Dunphy said.

Arty Kern can be reached at

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