Passionate Wildcats find their voice with official student fan club

Staff Writer Lauren Gresia

“The Nation” is the official student fan club of the University. The creation of “The Nation” was for the student body to get together and represent the University by dedicating themselves to supporting Villanova Athletics at all sports games.

While a lot of fans mostly attend basketball and football games, the club is making an effort to get student fans to all sports games to show support. These members will be the voice of the fans as they lead the chants at games. Being a member also provides an exclusive t-shirt, priority access to away games, meeting with coaches and attending some exclusive meet-and-greet events.

Students involved in The Nation will unite with the athletic program to create a stronger sense of community while demonstrating the idea of “Unitas.” The students will connect with the coaching staff so that everyone is on the same page and can brainstorm ideas for the fans, giving the coaches an idea about what the fans will be doing at the games and for the students to learn what the coaches expect of them. 

As a way to start the collaboration between those two groups, men’s basketball Head Coach Jay Wright came to speak to the members of The Nation at the last meeting as start of the basketball season is around the corner. 

While basketball games are one of the most exciting aspects of the winter that Villanova students look forward to, we do not solely attend because we love to support our team, but because the team also needs its fans. Coach Wright conveyed that the reason the basketball team comes out through the student fan section and leaves the same way is to portray that they are one of us. 

“The reason that we throw our V’s up at the end of the game towards the crowd is not for you all to applaud us,” Wright said, “but for the team and coaching staff to thank you.”

Coach Wright shared that the coaching staff and team loves driving down the highway and looking down to see all the fans getting ready for the game. Additionally, Coach Wright expressed he believes ‘Nova fans “are some of the best fans in the country” and that “there are few schools that are willing to stand outside the stadium in February in piles of snow.” 

One suggestion Coach Wright made that will benefit the team this season is for fans to arrive to the games earlier than in the past, preferably before tip-off. This way, when the team is warming up they see that someone has their backs, allowing the team to get fired up before the game. 

Additionally, as the Pavilion is under construction, most home games will be played at the Wells Fargo Center this season. Therefore, Coach Wright expressed that the students are needed more than ever. When games were at the Pavilion, students could leave the library, swipe into the game and then be able to easily go back to library right away to finish the rest of their work. However, traveling to the Wells Fargo Center may be an inconvenience for students with a lot of coursework, if they can make their best effort to show up and support, it would be gratefully appreciated by the team.

President of The Nation, Jack Donnelly, shared that “regardless of what grade you are in, everyone comes together. It’s a way to focus on the community rather than just grades in school and a fun way to get everyone involved to represent the student body and show what Villanova stands for.” 

The Nation wants to dedicate more time to determine how to make games more desirable for students to attend, so they do not have to feel as it is a chore. Teams need fans in the stands to motivate and give them the extra push they need. “The student body is like the sixth man, making our stadium one of the hardest places to play.”