Steps Issue Summer 2015,
14:58 PM

Building Game Atmosphere

By Katie Chappell

C-C-COU, G-G-GAR, who's gonna win? COUGARS!

This is just one of the lively chants that can be heard by BLU CRU, a student spirit group comprised of the truest and bluest fans, who proudly proclaim their Cougar pride at CSUSM sporting events. The grassroots student movement has become a tradition and this past year, was established as a supported campus student group.

Promoting Cougar pride across the campus, the Department of Athletics partners with key campus organizations like BLU CRU to fill the stands with Cougar blue, engage fans with a thrilling gaming experience and push the student-athletes to their peak potential.

"An electric student section truly does make a difference," shared student and BLU CRU President Brett Goudy "We want to make Cal State San Marcos the most feared venue in our conference for every sport."

Building a Strong Fan Base

Since the Department of Athletics' founding 16 years ago, the Cougars' success on the field, court and track has been inspiring. As they get ready to take the next step into competitive growth with the transition to NCAA DII, the department is dedicated to providing an exciting fan experience and increase increasing game attendance. 

While the campus waits for The Sports Center to open in fall 2016, CSUSM Athletics has partnered with Campus Housing and the University Student Union to provide student transportation to the high school and community college gyms where men's and women's basketball and women's volleyball currently play home games. This spring, Athletics hosted its first tailgate party for student residents before a softball and baseball double-header and saw student attendance increase dramatically. In addition, Athletics holds promotional nights to celebrate some of the populations that support them in the stands-including members of Sorority and Fraternity Life, club sport athletes, young athletes from the community, and veterans and their families. 

One Cougar Spirit

As fan momentum builds, student-athletes are delivering top-notch performances that continue to fuel fan pride and keep them coming back to games.

When the CSUSM Dance Team, a Campus Recreation student club, approached the Department of Athletics with the idea of performing at home basketball games as part-game entertainment and part-cheerleading squad, they brought a new energy to the events held at Mira Costa College's gym. The Dance Team is now a fixture for men's basketball, helping to pump up the home crowd through music, dance and cheer.

The fans' enthusiasm and presence makes a difference to the student-athletes.

“Having fans in the stand allows our world-class athletes to perform at their maximum potential,” said Head Men’s Basketball Coach Jim Saia. “When you add a great team with a great home fan base, you can’t be beat.”

This has proven true for the men’s basketball team who holds a 25-0 record at "home" at MiraCosta College over the last two seasons.

“The fans have a big impact on the energy and mood of thegame,” said volleyball student-athlete Taylor DeGraaf. “We love having fans there—they help us go the extra mile.”