Mullins Militia leads UMass basketball student section
Published: Tuesday, April 26, 2011, 3:07 PM Updated: Tuesday, April 26, 2011, 3:12 PM
Since its inception at the beginning of the 2010-2011 season, the Mullins Militia, a group of devoted UMass basketball fans, has sat behind the opposing team's net while trying to rally support for the Minutemen.
Amidst poor student turnout at basketball games, UMass Athleticsasked Wesley Pilon, a Senior at UMass studying sports management, to create a student organization to support men's basketball. The Mullins Militia is aimed at making basketball games more exciting for fans and increasing student turnout, according to Pilon.
"We lead cheers and try to get the student section into the games," Pilon said. "We are trying to create an atmosphere and an environment that makes people want to come back."
The organization recruited 80 members in its first year after head coach Derek Kellogg spoke at a meeting of the UMass sports management club. The militia is made up primarily of freshman, according to Pilon.
"Freshman are more likely to attend games than off campus upperclassmen that usually don't follow UMass sports," he said.
Through initiatives on campus, the Mullins Militia has tried to increase attendance at men's basketball games. Derek Kellogg worked with the group by asking students to attend basketball games while swiping meal cards at the school's dining commons.
By painting their faces, making signs and cheering in unison, the group hopes to lead by example. "We want to let people know there are people at our school who are into the games," Pilon said.
Admission to the group is $10 according to the group's Facebook page. A benefit of membership, according to the page, is being invited to the team's locker room to listen to pregame speeches.
"Our ultimate goal is to get the whole student section to be part of the Militia," Pilon said. "We cant go out there and play for the team, so we do our best to make it fun to be at the game, win or lose."