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Old 03-07-2008, 09:17 PM   #1 (permalink)
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The Best Fans in the A-10

This is my first post ever on these boards, but I felt compelled enough in regards to this question to sign up to ask it. I have followed college basketball all my life but, admittedly, have only really followed the A-10 since my school (Charlotte) joined it. Which school do the more veteran followes of the league think has the best fans, both in terms of passion and in terms of class/sportsmanship. I have yet to have a less than pleasant interaction with fans of another A-10 school, which cannot be said for..let's say, Davidson fans, who are almost invariably a-holes. I'm curious to see what long time followers of this league think.
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Old 03-07-2008, 09:37 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: The Best Fans in the A-10

I may be biased but I couldn't consider myself a loyal fan if I didn't cast my vote for Dayton Flyer fans. I have been a season ticket holder for 35 years (as long as I have been married.) My 24 year old son, who now lives in Charlotte, was a ballboy under the basket for several years as a young boy. He still listens to all the Flyers games on the internet. The Flyer Faithful are passionate as evidenced by the fact that even during a 4-26 season in the past the attendace averaged over 12,000 per game. They appreciate watching good basketball and often give ovations for opposing players who make great plays which demonstrate class and sportsmanship. Dick Vitale, Jay Bilas and other announcers have said that the UD Arena is one of the best venues to watch a game in college basketball.
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Old 03-07-2008, 09:41 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: The Best Fans in the A-10

I would have to say St. Joes. They are always great fans, and are pretty cool too.

(I cannot vote for or against Xavier, because being a Xavier fan, it is pretty ludicrous to vote for oneself.)
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Old 03-08-2008, 12:18 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: The Best Fans in the A-10

Dayton has the best fanbase in the A-10, and though it might be close in some repects and arguments, it really isn't close when you total it all up. The support is incredible even when the team is not.

Most Dayton fans are pretty cool too. That can get distorted on this message board. I get exaspertated by a few kooks, but I have great respect for the University of Dayton and their fans. I say that with all honesty. I know I make some rash remarks when agitated, intoxicated & frustrated. I tend to regret even entering the frey. Summing it up as a whole, I think Dayton has the best fans by far.

Xavier has an impressive fan base. SLU has an impressive fan base. Charlotte has an impressive fan base. We do have some fan bases that deserve credit. Dayton is the league standard.
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Old 03-08-2008, 12:24 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: The Best Fans in the A-10

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I would have to say St. Joes. They are always great fans, and are pretty cool too.

(I cannot vote for or against Xavier, because being a Xavier fan, it is pretty ludicrous to vote for oneself.)
I am a big fan of SJU. I like Martelli and I like SJU fans. It is our best A-10 Rivalry and I want to play SJU ever year. I love everything about it even though we just lost and I thought that playing on Hawk Hill was going to be our toughest game of the year when the season started. I love the rivalry.

But SJU has done quite well in the last decade. Far better than UD. They have a nationally acclaimed coach and far more recent success that UD. UD can go 7-9 in conference and lead the league in home attendence. And they could do that every year. Dayton could really be a powerhouse with the right (Wright?) situation. They have several of the dynamics in place and are strongly positioned. They have failed to take advantage of that at times but they still are in a plum posistion.
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Old 03-08-2008, 06:01 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: The Best Fans in the A-10

While I am the best individual fan in the A-10, I think Dayton and St. Joe's are miles ahead of the rest of the fanbases. It's about unconditional support.
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Old 03-08-2008, 06:08 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: The Best Fans in the A-10

Here's another instance (I think that makes 2 now --- we both love Xavier and this one!) where Snipe and I agree 100%.

Thor made a good point as well concerning the quality of (at least many) St. Joe's fans. One of the years when the A-10 Tourney was in Cincinnati, we met a number of Hawks fans who were both intelligent and friendly, even though they made it clear they wanted St. Joe's to kick Muskie @ss in the Tourney. I can like and respect that attitude. Furthermore, St. Joe's has been one of the marquee programs in the A-10 for a significant number of years, it is a fellow-Jesuit institution, and it's been a great representative of the League on the national scene.
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Old 03-08-2008, 07:08 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: The Best Fans in the A-10

Good thread. It's hard to pick just one fanbase because it is so subjective but I think there are four that warrant consideration.

Dayton - they definitely needs to be considered simply because of sheer numbers. FANatics! Those stupid hicks (just kidding) pack that large place game after game and create a serious home court advantage. They seem to travel well also.

Xavier - I love the atmosphere at the Cintas center and have always been impressed with their fans devotion and knowledge about hoops in general. They are clearly the flagship program and their fans have a right to display a little arrogance. Martelli loves them also.

St. Joe's - I am biased here and the Hawk fans may not have the attendance figures of other schools but our fan base has justifiably earned it's reputation as being rabid and extremely loyal. Our student section is drunk, rowdy, and creative (particularly for local rivalries) and takes pride in what they do. Admittedly though, I think there is some truth to the perception by some schools that some Hawk fans can be a little "self-righteous".

The Bonnies - These drunken morons pack that place up there in Canada and make it one of the most hostile places to play anywhere. I think their ferocity and attendance has probably lessened the last couple years for obvious reasons but historically speaking, they certainly deserve mention.

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Old 03-08-2008, 07:20 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: The Best Fans in the A-10

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The Bonnies - These drunken morons pack that place up there in Canada and make it one of the most hostile places to play anywhere. I think their ferocity and attendance has probably lessened the last couple years for obvious reasons but historically speaking, they certainly deserve mention.
OK, drunken morons is fair, possibly even a compliment. But "up there in Canada"? Whatever gave you that idea? Just look at the spring-like conditions in Olean this morning:
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Old 03-08-2008, 07:35 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: The Best Fans in the A-10

Look.

Being a Xavier guy, I have to stick up for XU in more than just game day stuff. The fans stepped up with contributions and helped pay for a beautiful on campus arena that is the envy of every other private school. Even Gonzaga couldn't match the level of financial committment. Then the fans continue to pay for their loges and seat license renewals to help continued funding. Finally, the place is basically sold out each season and since Cintas opened in 2000, Xavier has averaged over 10,000 per game. Now, with more contributions, XU has been able to sweeten Sean Miller's contract to almost $1 million per year. No other A-10 school, public or private can match that. Arrogance? I think not.

Besides XU, I love St. Joes first and respect the hell out of the school and what they accomplish, plus I just think the world of Phil Martelli-just a great coach and a super ambassador for the league. I also like the way they are trying to upgrade Alumni Gym. I've been there and understand the limitations of what you can do on that property. The St. Joes/XU series is what a healthy college basketball rivalry should be.

Dayton does have, probably, the best game day fan base and they do love their college basketball. They do travel well and they have a continual packed house.

Finally, Charlotte and Rhodee get a mention. I do believe that as they become more ingratiated and familiar with the league, the 49'er fans will return in good numbers to a beautiful on campus venue-Halton Arena. Rhodee has been down lately, but they are a sleeping Giant in my book. When they are competitive, their fans travel well and they will pack their nice new building when they have a good team.

Disappointments? Temple first and formost. I just don't understand how a program with that history can only get 4,000 per game in a beautiful 10,000 on campus building. C'mon, people. You're in a college basketball hotbed. One of the fabled Big 5. Show up for Gawd's sake.
And UMass. Great building. Big campus enrollment, no shows by the thousands. There is nothing else to do in Amherst in the winter other than an occassional hockey game. C'mon II.

I'm just sayin'.
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Old 03-08-2008, 07:55 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: The Best Fans in the A-10

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While I am the best individual fan in the A-10, I think Dayton and St. Joe's are miles ahead of the rest of the fanbases. It's about unconditional support.
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Dayton has the best fanbase in the A-10, and though it might be close in some repects and arguments, it really isn't close when you total it all up. The support is incredible even when the team is not
Here's the $1mill question: How is this environment created? At Charlotte, we have a core of about 5k that come to about 75% of our games, win or lose, but we only have about 1.5k to 2k that come to any game, no matter what. I'm somewhere in between those two standards, and I do know a few of the latter types, but living in a pro sports town, I have a hard time envisioning a 10k or more base of true diehards.

How did those two schools get that way? And any other school you feel is in that class? (It's hard to tell with X - they're good almost every year)
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Old 03-08-2008, 08:06 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: The Best Fans in the A-10

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How did those two schools get that way? And any other school you feel is in that class? (It's hard to tell with X - they're good almost every year)
Don't worry about X. Whether the team is good or not, the fact that people pay their seat licenses and ante up big bucks for them guarantee big crowds every game, every year. Check 2004-2005. Not a vintage year, but the attendance was still over 10k per game. It's about the whole program and support all year, not just game day at Xavier. That is why Xavier is good almost every year- and it's been that way for over 20 years.
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Old 03-08-2008, 08:15 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: The Best Fans in the A-10

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I'm somewhere in between those two standards, and I do know a few of the latter types, but living in a pro sports town, I have a hard time envisioning a 10k or more base of true diehards.
By the way. Cincinnati is probably more of a pro sports town than Charlotte since major league baseball dominates 7 months and the Bengals handle about 3 months. Xavier also has to compete with that little school across town that has the city's name on it's shirt.

I know that in Charlotte, you have to compete with the ACC- a tough task, but at least the town is pre-disposed to college basketball. Maybe the real question is how do the students percieve their school? It starts with pride while you are a student then carries up when you become an alumni. If the kids in school basically see the school as a means to an end and nothing more than a commuter way stop along the road of life, you may never get the solid 10k support- that is unless you have a sustained run on Top 25 years where the casual guy becomes a season ticket holder. Look no further than UC for the vulnerability of that though. The casual fan has now jumped ship. UC will barely average 8,000 per home date this year despite belonging to the Big Least and having a home date with Memphis.
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Old 03-08-2008, 08:17 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: The Best Fans in the A-10

Richmond has a lot of work to do and there are several factors that work against them:

1. Student body overwhelmingly hails from the northeast (and returns there) after graduation. As a result, fewer alums to attend home games.
2. Sports marketing at Richmond leaves a lot to be desired in general.
3. Robins Center is a great venue but is too cozy to support less than 3,000 students. If we don't draw from Richmond (and we don't when we're not winning ... while Richmond isn't a cultural mecca, there are other attractions, including VCU which has had the edge over us recently).
4. Demographic of the student body is changing. This is the biggest concern for me. As the university continues to raise its academic profile (a good thing ... the more valuable my degree, the better), the type of student seems to be changing. Students in general seem much more apathetic about sports than when I attended.
5. Move to A-10 has been difficult transition. It was a move made primarily for basketball, but we gave up great traditional rivalries with area CAA teams like Bill & Mary, JMU, GooMoos, etc... I don't regret the move at all (we did get an at-large in 2004 because of our new conference affiliation), but St. Bonaventure just doesn't fire up the Richmond community or students like a JMU would back in Lefty's day.

All this said, we now have a president and administration in place that seems to recognize the value that athletics have in raising the academic profile of a school. Ayers, our president, gets it and has been a breath of fresh air so far. Time will tell, but I'm optimistic again.
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Old 03-08-2008, 09:05 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: The Best Fans in the A-10

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How did those two schools get that way? And any other school you feel is in that class? (It's hard to tell with X - they're good almost every year)
If you drew an imaginary triangle that went from Dayton, through Cincy, to Lexington, up to Indy and back to Dayton, you'd find the true mecca of college basketball. I mean that. Don't listen to the great Tobacco road talk. That triangle is better.

To add to that, Dayton Flyers hoops is not just about the school. It's the entire Miami Valley area, stretch up an hour or so north of Dayton. It's community pride in what is ours. We also have a single-A baseball team that has sold out every game in it's 8 year history. The Dayton Dragons outdraw most AAA teams.
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