UT Austin has the Student Orange Bloods. Duke has the Cameron Crazies. Now, UTD has the Comet Crush.
The Crush, UTD’s brand new sports fan club, invaded the gym Sept. 1, cheering for the UTD volleyball team in its inaugural game.
The Comet Crush, brainchild of softball Head Coach Tricia Hoffmann, comes in response to UTD athletes’ desires to have a higher turnout at their games.
When Hoffmann polled these varsity athletes about whether they attended the games of sports teams besides their own, she found that few did.
“When I first took over the [Student Athlete Advisory Committee], my main goal was to increase fan support within the athletic department and increase spirit on campus as a whole,” Hoffmann said. “We created this fan group to increase awareness and school spirit.”
The Comet Crush encourages students to attend games by offering free prize giveaways to its members, like the first 200 Crush members at the volleyball game who received a bright orange shirt.
Hoffmann said she hopes to expand the prizes to include free tuition, free rent or free books in future semesters.
For now, she is gearing up for the first year of 30 Crush events in which she hopes to attract 300 members to the club.
Singing up is simple, Hoffmann said. Log on to the newly designed UTD athletics website at cometsports.utdallas.edu and click on the Comet Fanlinks tab. Then select Comet Crush and fill out the basic application.
Hoffmann doesn’t take all the credit for creating the Crush.
“I’ve taken this idea from a couple models. UC-Santa Cruz and Stony Brook have similar programs,” she said.
Among the promotions she liked in the two model programs are student organization nights and a best sign night that is planned for the week of Homecoming.
Hoffmann also said there will be a student section and spirit contests.
“The word is definitely getting out,” Hoffmann said, citing the 104 members who had signed up as of Sept. 1.
“We’re trying to continue to remain a power in the conference and become a regional and national power,” Hoffmann said.
“We can do that in part by developing traditions and fan support,” she said.