Homecoming week sparks spirit, traditions

Bull spirit is in the air at USF, causing students to start new traditions of supporting athletics.

The spirit began at Midnight Madness Oct. 12 when Seth Greenberg, head coach for the men’s basketball team, encouraged students to show their Bull pride by setting up tents and camping out for Thursday’s exhibition basketball game.

Sophomores Terry Lucas and Robbie Mann accepted Greenberg’s offer and set up their tents Wednesday afternoon behind the USF Sun Dome. Lucas and Mann each purchased a tent and an air mattress to prepare for a new tradition: camping overnight.

“It has to start with someone, so why not us?” Lucas said. “Why not be a doer.”

Lucas wants to get the support of the student body and get fans involved this basketball season by starting a tradition that can be found at other colleges.

Although students can get into sporting events free with their student ID, Lucas said it’s about basketball and showing support for the Bulls.

“It all starts with the fans getting behind the team so they can win the tough games,” Lucas said.Mann agreed.

“We come to a great school, but the support is horrible,” Mann said. “With the number of students and seats, there is no reason why students shouldn’t come to hang out.”

Lucas said Greenberg visited their tents Wednesday night with pizza, and Thursday morning he stopped by with doughnuts. Lucas parked his Jeep on the grass next to the tents so they could create a temporary sound system for the night.

They provided their own entertainment by scattering plastic cups around the grass to create their own style of miniature golf. Pizza and doughnut boxes were inside their tents so they could snack on them.

“We go through our same daily routine, but our new home is on the grass,” Lucas said.

Michael LaPan, president for the Sun Dome, said he was surprised to see Lucas and Mann came out to camp.

“We love to see that spirit,” LaPan said. “It will give them a chance to practice for some of our bigger games.”

LaPan said he doesn’t recall anyone ever camping outside for a sporting event during his 20 years at USF. And he doesn’t discourage students from camping out at the Sun Dome to show their school pride.

“When they show spirit, don’t throw a wet blanket on it,” LaPan said. “It can become a party before the night of a game.”

LaPan said although students are allowed to camp out for the basketball game, sometimes when people camp out the night before a concert sale or show, they might be asked to leave.

“Basketball is different. It’s our program and our students,” LaPan said.

He said students may want to consider camping out or showing up early to games so they can get the best seats since it is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Students have arrived as early as noon for a big game, but generally, they start to arrive at 3 p.m., he said.

LaPan said he is expecting to have some games sell out this season because of the opponents the team will be facing.

Jim Louk, director of sales for the Sun Dome, said the ticket sales for basketball this year are going well and have increased since last year. Louk said season tickets have reached a sale of 2,500 so far, which is an increase since last year’s total sales of season tickets was 2,450.

Louk said teams such as Florida State University, Cincinnati and Memphis have helped sales increase as well.

“They are the highest profile games,” Louk said. “They are good opponents that we should match up well against.”

Student Government wants to start a new tradition during football season, starting with Saturday’s game against the University of Houston. Mike Griffin, student body president, said he made a wager with the student body president at UH.

Griffin said that if USF wins, SG will send UH a box filled with USF apparel for them to wear at their campus. If USF loses, the student government at UH will send theirs, Griffin said.

“They will send us a picture (in USF apparel), and we will put it in a frame,” Griffin said. “I am going to take their word for it.”

Griffin said he decided to do this because it is a tradition at other universities.

“It shows that we try to get the excitement going,” Griffin said.

“It adds pride to the university, and hopefully, it will start a trend.”

Dave Mincberg, student body vice president, said he thought it was a great idea for USF to get excited about Saturday’s Homecoming game and show school spirit.

“We want to get everyone at the university fired up,” Mincberg said. “This is a fun way to do it.”

Mincberg said he is planning to put anything USF in the box to send to UH. Items such as T-shirts, boxer shorts and even baby apparel. Mincberg said he doesn’t expect to receive a box of UH apparel.

But if he did, he’d honor the agreement.

“I don’t really see that happening, but I’m an honest guy, and I stand true to my commitments,” Mincberg said.

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