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VP of Athletics calls for change in attendance

Jairus Patterson | Interrobang | Sports | September 17th, 2007

“This year will be very different from last year.”

That's what the FSU VP of Athletics Jonathan Hillis hopes to accomplish by the end of his tenure.

Last year, Fanshawe College possessed some very competitive varsity teams, like men's soccer, who finished second in their division as did the women's team. Men's basketball came in first in their division, won provincials and landed sixth at nationals. The women's team finished third in their division. In volleyball, the men tied for first in their division and lost in the semi-finals at Provincials, while the women were tied for second in their division.

However, with all the great success on the court and pitch, the number of fans that came out to watch the Falcons' play was lackluster.

“This year I've put some of my budget into promotions,” Hillis said. “I've got two free trips to give away through Breakaway Tours.”

Hillis' strategy is the belief that the key to get fans in the stands is to give away free stuff. “I'm really trying to promote giving back to the students, to ensure that they come out to games and support our teams,” continued Hillis, who believes that once students and fans come out and see how good and entertaining the teams are, they will come back and support them.

The most significant difference between this year and the last will be involving the residence students in the support of varsity athletes from the stands.

“We have created doorknob hangers that have all the games listed and every res student will receive one,” said Hillis.

If that isn't enough, don't be surprised if you see some very pretty ladies and a very vocal group of people on game day walking down the halls and into the Out Back Shack telling you about game time.

“We're really trying to promote the dance team, trying to get the team to draw in more of a crowd. As well as starting up the Ultimate Fan Crew again and bringing in the res students.” And the fan crew is not the only thing Hillis has resurrected from the past. “We're bringing back the super fan sofa. We got a great sofa and table donated to us”

Hillis has admitted that he had problems promoting soccer as a result of the early season start.

“Soccer has been difficult for me because I just started my position a couple weeks ago. We're going to try to word of mouth with soccer games this year.” Don't worry soccer players and fans, Hillis does have a strong intent to accomplish his goal.

“Next year I really want to have something in place to really draw a crowd out for soccer, so by the time I'm done my tenure here I want to make sure there is something in place for them next year,” Hillis added.

If you are a one of the few students who show up to support your friends, expect some key changes this year at games. No longer will there be Spalding Shoot for Cash, which no one has ever won at Fanshawe. There still will be the super fan, which one lucky person will win pizza and pop at every home game. The winner will also get to sit in the new super fan sofa. There will also be free give-a-way's this year that do not involve pizza, something that didn't happen last year. Finally, as far as watching the ladies dance at half time Hillis said the goal is the have a new routine down every two weeks, but it all depends on, how fast they pick up the routine. Here are some key dates to remember this year if you like to win free stuff.

- October 20, 26 and November 14 - London Knights tickets give away

- October 31- United Way night

- December 3 — Breakaway Tours New Years Eve Trip Draw.
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