Sept. 29, 2010
What happens first - a great football team or a great fan base?
A great football team generates excitement, sells tickets and expands attendance and this is the goal of every collegiate program in the nation. Then again, a great fan base provides the financial means of producing great football teams. Sell-out crowds, regardless of what happens on the field, get the attention of a lot of people - including network television decision makers, sponsors, and even BCS conference leaders who may be seeking a future member.
A great football team attracts the casual fan who may otherwise spend their Saturday elsewhere. A great fan base, however, consistently provides support for a much better game day atmosphere and most important the funding for coaching salaries, improved facilities, recruiting efforts, etc., that will help make the program better in its efforts for excellence and championship seasons.
So what happens first - a great football team or a great fan base? Neither. Both must happen simultaneously, and each is dependent upon the other.
We hear it said too often - a fan plans to attend this game, but not that one. Some are at "The Rock" one Saturday and spend the next home game doing something else. Great programs are built not just by winning more than losing, but with fans who attend both home and away games.
The good news: The Eagles are 3-1 and have won ten consecutive home games, including an exciting win over Big XII member Kansas. Our attendance keeps improving each year. This Saturday, Southern Miss begins conference play in an important matchup with Marshall. We need our fans in attendance, cheering "loud and proud", to give The Golden Eagles the edge it needs and to showcase the strength of our team and fan base once again on national televison.
South Carolina is a good example of what fan support can do. USC won only one game in 1998, and in 1999 posted a disastrous 0-11 record. Yet amazingly, their fans sold out their games that year even in the midst of the worst possible performance on the field. Their persistence has paid huge dividends, with bowl games four of the past five years and today USC is nationally ranked.
During our last home game vs. Kansas, the ESPN commentators remarked how loud and enthusiastic our fans were during the game. This enthusiasm was displayed to millions of college football fans around the nation. I heard from many that the telecast was a great showcase for the tremendous spirit displayed by our fans and students. There is no doubt we have a real advantage, and the Golden Eagles respond positively, when our fans show up in great numbers. Thank you for the spirit and noise you displayed in helping us win the Kansas game and we need to do the same the next two weeks with Marshall and East Carolina.
Wear Your Gold and Remember: "LOUD AND PROUD" AT "THE ROCK"!