Dear Joel: We want more

Michael Moses

Welcome to Kent State University! Though we are sad to see Mr. Laing Kennedy leave, we are excited to welcome you to the KSU family and look forward to a new era in Kent State athletics.

We, the fans of Kent State, need your help. We’re very successful in many sports, but seem to be on the bubble in the major one. We live in a football-crazy region of our nation. Many professional teams surround Northeastern Ohio and colleges such as Ohio State own the fan base. Kent State has a respectable program — but we, the fans, are ready for “The Jump.”

We want the best. We want the success for our football program that the golf program has, as well as the track and field program, gymnastics, basketball, etc. I’m not dogging the football program whatsoever. But when you stroll around our campus on a fall Saturday, it doesn’t feel like a college football day.

And we need it to. The fans, the people, the city — we deserve that. Our upcoming game against Penn State is a tremendous start. National exposure, a chance to travel to a legendary stadium and show off our Kent State pride — we need more of that!

Kent State’s fans are loyal and proud. As the athletic director, you should really get to know the self-proclaimed “Cowbell Crew.” They are our version of the Cameron Crazies. They started off as rowdy volleyball fans and now can be seen at every sporting event imaginable. Blue and gold spirit is high in the winter and needs to be higher in the fall. Football is supposed to set the tone for basketball season.

There is a little town down the road by the name of Akron. We do not like Akron. Think of North Carolina-Duke, but subtract the national exposure and Dickie V’s annoying voice, and you have the Akron-Kent State rivalry. The football and basketball games between the two schools are what college athletics are all about. You might hear us chant “Akron chicks are fat,” but don’t judge us too harshly. We’re good kids just having a good time.

The Zips and Flashes have zero respect for each other. We do have one major thing in common though: Our nicknames have nothing to do with our mascots. But if you ask me, I’d take a fierce bird of prey over a prancing kangaroo any day.

In Kent, basketball rules. The games are fun (even though we do have some cheesy emcees), and the conference is competitive. We live for our March Madness run at the end of every year. The Mid-American Conference Championship held at the Q is always a fun time during spring, with students traveling and cheering on our team. Coach Geno is built Ford tough and so are his players.

When someone thinks of Kent State sports, it’s almost always basketball that comes to mind.

The 2002 hoop squad was our best ever. Led by current San Diego Charger Antonio Gates, we beat No. 3-seeded Pittsburgh to reach the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament. Possibly, with you at the helm, we could reach those days again. Being the top of the MAC is OK, but it’s not good enough anymore. We want more.

Kent State has the potential to be a nationally recognized athletic program. As much as it depends on the players and coaches, the Athletic Department has an even bigger part in helping this university reach our goal.

We the students, faculty and administration are behind you 100 percent and wish you the best at Kent State University. See you around campus. And maybe even in the Cowbell Crew?

Go Flashes,

A Kent State fan

Contact sports columnist Michael Moses at [email protected]