Marisa Dalessandro

Kent State’s own Super Fan cheers on the Flashes

Heather Strittmatter, Kent State’s Super Fan, cheers at the women’s basketball game between Kent State and Buffalo March 1 at the M.A.C. Center.

Credit: Beth Rankin

In a sea of blue and gold, her signs stand out.

During a timeout, her screams rise above the rest of the crowd.

“In the midst of all the fans and noise in the M.A.C. Center, one thing always stands out — the Super Fan,” Justin Griffith, men’s basketball team manager, said about Heather Strittmatter.

Strittmatter is more commonly known to the athletes and the athletic department as Kent State’s own Super Fan. Heather has been a fan of Kent State sports for 11 years and has never missed a game.

“I gotta help those Flashes out!” she said.

“Kent State athletics is her family,” said Laing Kennedy, director of athletics. “She loves us to death. She laughs with us, and she cries with us.”

The players consider her family as well.

“She is not only a fan to our program, we consider her as a part of our basketball family,” said DeAndre Haynes, point guard for the men’s basketball team. “She is an individual who could bring a smile to anyone’s face. She is never down on any of the athletic teams when they lose a game; she would be the one telling you ‘It’s all right. I still believe in you. Go out there and get the next one.’”

Strittmatter lists basketball as her favorite sport, but she can be found attending volleyball, field hockey, football, gymnastics, hockey, wrestling, softball and baseball.

Cathy O’Donnell, associate athletic director, said Strittmatter’s at every event, even if she doesn’t understand the sport. She’ll ask questions for clarification but be cheering the whole time for Kent State.

A Kent Roosevelt graduate and current Kent resident, Strittmatter is a diehard Kent State fan. She can be found constantly jumping up and down holding one of her homemade signs she brings to every game.

“The signs get pretty beat up too” she said.

In addition to those signs, Strittmatter makes posters for each player.

“She makes posters, posters and posters,” said Kennedy. “And she always makes sure I have one.”

When she isn’t at the games she is reading articles and cutting them out for the athletes. At the end of the season, she makes each player a card. Her whole life revolves around the teams, O’Donnell said.

The players have returned the love over the years. Besides being invited to all the team banquets, she has an ever-growing Kent State athletic collection consisting of autographed basketball shoes, pictures, a Trevor Huffman football jersey and 117 T-shirts. Her hard work does not go unnoticed.

“Not saying that we don’t have great fans, but if more individuals were like Super Fan, full of joy and excitement, I think our athletic teams at Kent State would do a lot better,” Haynes said.

Strittmatter said she will always be there for the Flashes. Her parting words to the athletes were “Good luck, and I love you, Flashes! Love, your Super Fan.”

Contact Sports Correspondent Marisa Dalessandro at [email protected].