They rowdily watch basketball and they call themselves Couch Potatoes. No, they’re not your dad and inebriated uncle; they are the newest brand of UTD basketball superfan.
Sitting courtside on sofas a thrift store would turn away, the Couch Potatoes are a squad of Comet baseball players who are quickly becoming part of the, err, furniture of the Activities Center during home basketball games.
“I see us as the second cheerleaders out there,” said senior interdisciplinary studies major Matt Endsley.
They may not look quite as good in mini-skirts, but the Potatoes are a sideline force to be reckoned with.
“During the break, we didn’t get to set up couches,” Endsley said. “We’ve had couches set up for five games and are 5-0. We like to think we make a difference.”
When Endsley, a member of the Student Athletic Advisory Committee, needed help thinking of different ways to get students involved in athletics on campus, he turned to his brain trust – his roommates.
With a few mouse clicks, roommate Jared Franke, senior crime and justice studies major, had an answer. On the internet, Franke read of a football field with 50-yard line sofas and the Couch Potato idea began to take root.
“We passed it through the powers that be and they said we could do it,” senior interdisciplinary studies major Gage Davis said.
At each home game, the Couch Potatoes dress according to a common theme, ranging from chest painting to wearing letterman jackets, Endsley said.
Davis said he feels student support for the basketball team has improved from last year.
“The players are very positive and thank us for
showing up,” Davis said.
Men’s basketball head coach Terry Butterfield said the crowds this year are as good as he has ever seen at UTD.
“I think the guys on the couch, and guys with body paint lend a tremendous amount to the atmosphere as do the cheerleaders and dancers,” Butterfield said. “Playing in front of your own folks is definitely an advantage.”
Endsley hopes the student support of basketball will translate to big crowds at baseball games once the Comets season opens Feb. 17.
“I would love for some students to sit on tailgates and heckle other players and pitchers. That would be great,” he said.
“I hope when I come back in 10 years I’ll see couches on the court. I expect the tradition to live on,” Endsley said.