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Mania seeks to build new traditions

Building tradition is easy.

Do it once, do it again and one is born.

The hard part, and the part that garners the most satisfaction, is nurturing those traditions and seeing them grow.

This is where South Florida and its fans stand at this point of the school’s athletic support, and in particular its support for the men’s and women’s basketball teams, which was celebrated at Friday’s Midnight Mania.

Midnight Mania returned to the Sun Dome for its second year as the USF basketball teams kicked off the 2002 season.

Midnight Mania existed before men’s basketball coach Seth Greenberg started his tenure here at USF and then the event took a hiatus before returning in 2001.

Before the event even started, one USF tradition was already under way.

Greenbergopolis, which is a tent city named after USF’s fan-conscious coach, had about a half-dozen domiciles.

“We’ve already set up our tents and planned our road trips. We got tickets for the women’s game in Miami, and for the men’s game at Florida,” Jason Tyrrell said. “We sent up tents this morning. We have nine tents out there now; last season we only had two for the first three weeks.”

This tradition is growing with the arrival of new sheriff, Tyrrell, who is taking over for Terry Lucas, who is at Division III Wittenburg College (Ohio) playing football.

“Terry left, and it’s up to someone to take it over and keep the tradition alive, and I’m excited about it,” Tyrrell said. “Someone has to step up and do it. Last year I worked hand-and-hand with Terry all season. I have the knowledge, and I’m the crazy one out there.”

At this time in the season last year, there were only two tents near Entry 1 of the Sun Dome.

Near the hardcourt, Walter Price was handing out pamphlets on another tradition that is growing stronger in USF fanfare.

Many people won’t recognize Price when he is not donning his usual body paint as one half of the Green and Gold Guys.

After starting the tradition in 1999, Price and his colleague, Brian Hope, are graduating in May and are in the process of recruiting new bodies to show off the school colors.

“Basically, a whole bunch of people will come, and we’ll figure out who will be the most dedicated to it and who will be willing to put in the time that we did over the last few years,” Price said. “A couple people feel pretty interested, and our first meeting is next Wednesday at 4 p.m. We have a lot of support, more than people know.”

Alumnus Chucky Atkins was later hyping up the Bulls’ season and encouraging more fan support via video shown on a giant screen set up behind one of the baskets.

Hootie, the mascot of Hooters, came out dancing to give away the prize but, when the costume was unzipped it was Greenberg behind the owl suit.

The women’s team came out dressed in castaway-style cutup shirts dancing to a choreographed mix of songs.

The men’s team followed suit with their own choreographed number, with senior center Will McDonald lip-syncing to all the ladies with teammates providing the backup.

After the teams were formally introduced, both squads showed their stuff, with a men’s dunk contest and a practice scrimmage each for the two teams.