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Midnight Madness makes triumphant return
“It’s a great tradition and tribute to Quinnipiac,” said Athletic Director Jack McDonald about Midnight Madness.
Midnight Madness was held inside the TD Banknorth center on Friday for the first time since the building opened in January. Despite the event’s name, this year’s edition ended before 10 p.m.
Last year Midnight Madness was cancelled due to the on-going construction of the TD Banknorth Center.
Friday’s event drew a near capacity crowd to the Lender Court with fans gathering to enjoy contests, performances by spirit groups and also honor the athletic teams. Students were encouraged to sit in sections according to their class, and contests featuring each class were held on the court.
After the performances, each of Quinnipiac’s varsity athletic teams were introduced and walked across the court. The winter sports, men’s and women’s basketball and men’s and women’s ice hockey, were seated courtside and were honored separately.
Following introductions, the four team’s coaches said a few words to the fans in attendance. Head women’s basketball coach Tricia Sacca-Fabri lauded the support of the QU fans.
“We’ve got great support here,” said Sacca-Fabri while addressing the crowd. “This is such a fantastic sight to see.”
Men’s basketball head coach Tom Moore has seen his share of Midnight Madness during his tenure of 13 years as a part of the University of Connecticut coaching staff. Moore said the size of the crowd was the only difference between UConn’s event and Quinnipiac’s.
“Gampel Pavillion is bigger, so there may have been more people there, but the purpose of the night is the same,” Moore said.
Former men’s basketball head coach Joe DeSantis began Quinnipiac’s tradition of holding Midnight Madness in 1996 when it was held on the Mt. Carmel campus’ Burt Kahn Court.
According to Moore, Midnight Madness began in the mid-1970’s at the University of Kentucky. The team held their first practice at midnight on the first day they were allowed to hold practices according to NCAA regulations. Eventually, the practice was made open to the public and Midnight Madness was born.
McDonald said the school has been trying to make new improvements to make the fan experience at the arena even better.
“It’s a test for the building to see if it’s ready for the new year,” McDonald said.
Some of the improvements include a new bus lane for the student shuttle and more parking spaces, taking the total amount of general public spaces to 800. Despite the care taken to alleviate traffic flow, the event was delayed for 20 minutes so that more buses could bring more students and fans to the arena.
Students had mixed reactions to the event. Junior Richard Bauer thought the arena added a lot to this year’s Midnight Madness
“I think the new arena is awesome,” Bauer said. “I think we need more support like this.”
Others however did not feel there was enough support.
“It was extremely boring,” Freshman Kyla Philbrook said. “Half the arena was empty and overall there wasn’t enough excitement.”