By Norman Watley
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – February 27 was the biggest game for the men’s basketball team in 12 years but their fans were unable to attend. Once the team was aware it had made it to the NJCAA District Tourney, they set out to reach out to the faculty as well as students for support.
Second year player Joe Santone had this to say: “Playing in front of your fans gives you the extra 10 percent in the 110 percent we give when we’re on the court.”
The players took the initiative to start up a fan bus signup sheet. The sheet asked students to come support the Cougars on their road to the championship. Students were also willing to pay a fee to ride the bus. The players declared they got 60 people to sign up, including the entire baseball team. Several other students never got to sign the form. This is because the players were told the fan bus would not be following them on the road to the championship.
Assistant to the Dean of Students Jacqueline Tenuto had this to say on the matter: “We were excited that our men came to us with this idea of a fan bus but there was not enough time for the proper procedure to take place.”
Tenuto said she was their biggest cheerleader, stating: “I used to be a cheerleader.” She added: “I think this was a special group of men. They really demonstrated what a team embodies.”
The Cougars spent most of the season ranked number 1 in the nation in team defense this year.
Another second year player, Brendan Cox, had this to add: “When the fan bus was denied we felt like we had no support.” This was after the Cougars finished the season feeling strong and confident after finally being able to pack the stands their last few home games.
Santone went on to say: “In the biggest game of our life we only had four fans that could make the drive.”
Tenuto noted this came at a time when CCC was in transition in the changing of athletic directors. She said: “I’m certain and confident that our new A.D. Patty Keller will get students as well as the staff more involved.” She pointed out Keller was responsible for the Cougar mascot being at the last two home games.