By Denton Josey, Student Reporter
This season when people enter Moody Coliseum to watch a men’s basketball game, they will notice a group of students who look more like extras from a Braveheart battle scene than basketball fans but with more purple and basketball motifs.
In an attempt to enhance the efforts of an already effective group, raucous students known as Moody Maniacs will join fans from Section F in Moody, and students can still join the group.
In place of weapons, the maniacs will wear wigs; instead of war banners they will wave homemade signs filled with encouragement for the Wildcats.
“They’ve had a rowdy crowd in Section F for as long as I remember,” said Paul Harshman, junior marketing major from Austin.
“What I’m trying to do with the Moody Maniacs is different from Section F. Moody Maniacs is less of a section and more of a group of rowdy yell leaders that will most likely move around the stadium, doing different things,” Harshman said. “Section F has been and will continue to be a vital part of the great ACU spirit in Moody Coliseum.”
Harshman is leading the effort to get more students involved in supporting the men’s basketball team.
“My goal is for everyone to know who we are and for the people to look for us at the games,” Harshman said.
The Moody Maniacs, Harshman said, will be “like the Cameron Crazies” of Duke University, known for their passion and wit cheering for the home team and for heckling opposing players and coaches, as well as referees.
“The more rowdy fans we have, the better chance we have at creating a home court advantage and, therefore, wins,” Harshman said. “It’s exciting to me to know that Moody Maniacs will have an input on the outcome of the games. That’s more fun than just sitting back and watching.”
Echoing that sentiment, Director of Athletics Jared Mosley said in an e-mail that when he played for ACU in the ’90s, student support was high. Fans would paint their faces and get involved in the games.
Mosley said fans like the Moody Maniacs would be great for the team and environment.
“Anytime you can increase attendance and the enthusiasm of the crowd, you can impact a game,” Mosely said. “Players and coaches can really feed off crowd enthusiasm and energy – both positive and negative.”
First year head men’s basketball coach Jason Copeland said he likes the idea of Moody Maniacs.
“Not only would it be great for our team, but also for our school. Having a home court advantage is definitely a plus and we need teams to dread coming in here to play,” Copeland said,
Mauro “Blessed” Matai, senior broadcast journalism major from Maputo, Mozambique, is a forward on the basketball team. He said he and the other players play better when the crowd is supportive.
Matai said though he couldn’t complain about the fans from last year, more fans would be better.
“It would help the basketball team a lot,” Matai said. “It’s real good when we have a lot of fans. It’s no good when the visiting team comes and has more fans.”
Matai encourages students to become Moody Maniacs because of the fresh start the team is getting.
“This year is going to be great – we have a new coach and a new team.”
Though the Moody Maniacs are modeled after the Cameron Crazies, the Maniacs do not plan to cross lines that the Crazies have been known to cross in efforts to heckle opponents.
The Moody Maniacs will be different, Harshman said, because they will use discernment and think through what they will say and do before they do it.
“We want to create energy and pump-up intensity,” Harshman said. “Doing things that reflect well on ACU, not embarrass ACU.”
Harshman said people are free to join in with the Moody Maniacs whenever they come to the games and that those wanting to be official Moody Maniacs can still sign up by coming to the Students Association office or by reaching him at 325-738-4561 or firstname.lastname@example.org.