Alumni pump up fans with pep rallies

Sports editor

Every sports fan has their game-day tradition. It might be listening to a certain song or watching an inspirational video.

With the voices of hundreds of Shockers behind them, the team won the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament for the first time in Saint Louis after defeating Indiana State 83-69 in the championship game Sunday.

At the MVC Arch Madness tournament in Saint Louis, Mo., hundreds of Wichita State fans gathered in the Promenade Ballroom at the Westin to get pumped up before heading to the Scottrade Center to cheer on the Shockers.

Featuring pep band music, chants and cheers, fans dug deep into their Shocker spirit and filled the room with black and yellow.

“It’s a great way to express your spirit to the team,” said alumnus Greg “Hitman” Williams. “It’s great to be with other fans, students and alumni and all the excitement and energy that surrounds around Shocker basketball.”

Head coach Gregg Marshall addressed the crowd during every pep rally to express his appreciation and gratitude for Shocker Nation’s continued support.

“Thank you guys for being here,” Marshall said before the Evansville game. “You have taken over Saint Louis.”

Prior to the game against Missouri State on Saturday, fans met at the Westin to get their dose of Shocker spirit from WSU President John Bardo, Marshall and voice of the Shockers Mike Kennedy with Dave Dahl.

Bardo applauded the Shocker basketball tradition and the team’s constant desire to win.

“We have a great basketball program — a great basketball tradition,” Bardo said. “We have some of the finest young men I have ever met. It’s not just that they can play basketball — they can. We have figured that out. But they care about each other, they care about the university and they care about what they are doing.”

After the Evansville game, Marshall continued to express his gratitude to Shocker Nation for their nonstop support and willingness to travel no matter what the circumstances are.

“We have an unbelievable fan base,” Marshall said. “You see how many Shocker fans are out there. Shocker Nation has always traveled well. They’ve stuck with us through thick and thin.”

For the final round of pep rallies, Shocker fans gathered for the last time to prepare for the championship game against Indiana State.

“It’s a little bit surreal for me because when I went to Wichita State, we had a top ranked basketball team,” Williams said. “And now it’s coming around again times ten. I mean, to go to the Final Four, to have an undefeated season and to be looking square in the mouth of the possibility of winning a national championship and knowing that the reality of doing that is very real, it really is a very emotional thing.”

Marshall made a few comments before the game.

“It’s comforting to know that we’ve got you guys behind us,” he said. “It’s comforting to know that we’ve got this group of young men behind us. They are playing so, so well.”