Attendance Down, Spirit Up at TU's Reynolds Center

Tuesday, January 29th 2008, 9:45 am
By: News On 6

University of Tulsa basketball fan Jerry Able is waiting patiently.

"We like to get here early," Able said.

Meanwhile Chuck Davis is busy selling programs before TU's big game.

 "Since 1959, I've probably been to about 90% of the football and basketball games here at Tulsa," Davis said.

On a night where the Reynolds Center was rocking - bringing in a sold out crowd for the first time in two years - Golden Hurricane basketball was beginning to look like that of yesteryear.

"With the brand of basketball TU plays we should have a sellout every night," Davis said.

Since moving into the Reynolds Center 10 years ago attendance has hardly been a perfect storm for the Golden Hurricane. Although Tulsa's enjoyed a good home record, fans simply aren't filling the stands.

And attendance has dipped significantly since TU's 2003 NCAA Tournament appearance and has also seen a 30% drop in season ticket sales.

"They just play their hearts out," Able said. "If they don't win - you know - they're grumpy. If they're winning it's a different story."

The attendance - or lack thereof - was brought to the forefront by Golden Hurricane basketball coach Dough Wojcik earlier this season. He was glad to see a sellout crowd against first-ranked Memphis.

"The students were great," Wojcik said after a 56-41 loss to Memphis on January 23rd. "It's what I envision. I know it's the No. 1 team in the country but we want to help get it there and of course they're so appreciative when we run off the floor and lose. They're still clapping for you."

Since Wojcik's comments earlier this season, it's raised some eyebrows and put a few more fans in the stands.

"Even though attendance is down at the Reynolds Center is down, I would say the overall atmosphere of the stadium has gone up," said TU junior Peter Hillborn.