A loud and crazy standing student section
By: Peyton Spear
At the beginning of the 2012-2013 basketball season, the marketing arm of Ole Miss Athletics decided the fading student section at basketball games needed a new look and feel. A few weeks before the season began, Club Red was born.
The idea was to create a sea of red that would catch the attention of thousands of Ole Miss students and eventually grow into a student section that opponents would fear every time they stepped into the Tad Smith Coliseum.
Between 2009 and 2012, basketball was not the most popular sport to attend at Ole Miss. With the exception of a few highly attended Southeastern Conference (SEC) games, the student section was just not a happening place for fans or the teams that needed their support. Instead, football and baseball remained the most popular place to be on Saturdays in the fall and on weekends in the spring.
Club Red now provides the perfect stage of support for the red and blue Rebel hoopsters to compete week in and week out. Along with the success of the men’s team this year, students have something to look forward to every time they enter the student section. The red carpet pathway leads the way into the loudest club Oxford has to offer.
Senior Jon Vaughan has seen the student section evolve throughout his time at Ole Miss.
“Everyone I know wants to go to Ole Miss basketball games now. My friends and I make sure we are there two hours before tip-off to get a good seat in Club Red,” said Vaughan.
The past two men’s home games against SEC opponents, Missouri (ranked 10th in the nation at the time) and Arkansas, have been sellouts. Most important though, Club Red was completely filled for both games.
It’s obvious that the who student/fan/culture has changed, and Ole Miss Athletics is doing its part to keep the momentum going.
To help boost student attendance, the athletic department created Rebel Rewards. By signing up, a student receives a free Club Red t-shirt.
With an entire student section filled with these red shirts that read, “IF YOU CANT SEE, STAND UP”, Club Red’s vision has finally emerged in the form of screaming chants that continue for the entire 40 minutes –– encouraging the whole stadium to join in the raucous fun.
Credit goes first to Coach Andy Kennedy’s team for posting a 15-2 overall record (4-0 SEC, good for first place). With new flashy players such as All-American junior college transfer Marshall Henderson leading the way in points scored and three-point field goals made, people want to come to the show!