1000 Students Strong for USF Athletics Opening Act Tailgate

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USF Athletics, in cooperation with many different student clubs, sponsors and
Bon Appétit, will be putting on six tailgates this basketball season on Gilson Plaza in front of the Gilson Hall Dormitory.

Tailgates will take place before athletic events at War Memorial Gym on Nov. 11, Dec. 10, Jan. 28, Feb. 4, Feb. 18 and Feb. 25. They are likely to include food and drink stations, sign making, face painting, music, and entertainment provided by participating USF clubs and groups. (Also, if you have more ideas about what you would like to see at a tailgate, you can have your input heard! Send an email titled “Tailgates” to the Director of Marketing and Sponsorship, Steven Kenyon, at smkenyon@usfca.edu).

The Dons student spirit organization, Los Locos, will be participating in the
events by running a table for Los Locos sign-ups, a table for face painting and a table for cutting-up USF t-shirts to wear at sporting events. Other student organizations, such as Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), Greek Life, Kasamahan, Campus Activities Board (CAB) and the USF Spririt Squad are also going to be involved.

“As of right now, Los Locos is just as involved as any of the other clubs participating in that we will be tabling at the event… I’m not sure what the other clubs have in store for everyone, so again, we’ll have to just wait and see,” Los Locos President Clare Pidot said.

The funding for the tailgates will at least initially come from USF Athletics, but will
also rely heavily on sponsorship donations from companies such as Brandon Natural Beef, Coca-Cola, Odwalla and Zico.

The first tailgate will be called the “Opening Act Tailgate” is set to take place on Friday, Nov. 11 before the men’s and women’s basketball double header. The womenʼs basketball team, coming off a 99-43 win against Dominican last Friday, will face Cal State Northridge at 3:00pm. The women’s hard work and enthusiasm in their first home game should carry over to their first match against a Division I school.

“It felt great, Iʼve been waiting for this since the summer, since I first got here…I
just couldnʼt wait to get out there and play,” freshman guard Taj Winston said of the Dominican game.

The men’s basketball home opener will take place at 6:00pm on the evening of the 11th against North Dakota St. for the first game of the second annual Hilltop Challenge Tournament. The tournament also includes games against Northern Arizona (Saturday, Nov. 12 at 6:00pm) and Louisiana (Sunday, Nov. 13 at 3:30pm).

“The Hilltop Challenge will be a truly challenging way to start our season off,” USF head coach Rex Walters said. “Playing three Division I teams on back-to-back-to-back nights will test our team early and give us a great indication of where we are at and what we need to do to get better.”

USF Athletics and everyone else involved hope that the pre-game tailgates will
draw 500-1000+ students, bringing as many if not more to War Memorial Gym to watch the games.

“If you went to any of the big games last year, you probably remember the
packed student sections with cheering and bright gold t-shirts. We’re expecting the same type of enthusiasm this year and hopefully an even greater student presence,” Pidot said. “With the largest freshman class in the history of USF, there should be no reason why we can’t break student attendance records at basketball games this season.”

Los Locos isnʼt the only group excited about a high level of student participation
at sporting events. “I look forward to seeing all of our faithful USF Dons Basketball Fans out in full force!” Walters said.

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