The Roaring Red started at UCM 11 years ago but this once-raucous student group has dwindled over the past couple years.
One UCM student is determined to bring the group back and make it better than ever.
The Roaring Red is a student organization created to support the school’s athletic teams by coming to sporting events, sitting in the student section and loudly cheering on the team while wearing their Roaring Red T-shirts.
Nathanial House, freshman digital media production major and president of the Roaring Red, said he wanted to restart the group to get more students to participate in UCM games such as football, basketball, soccer, volleyball and more.
He said last semester was his first Jennies basketball game at UCM.
“After sitting there watching the Jennies play, kicking ass like they always did all year, I just happened to look around to notice how empty the stands were,” House said. “The first thought that came to my mind was, ‘This is terrible…why is no one watching them?’”
He said he understands the men’s teams typically get more viewership than the women’s teams but he said the Mules football game from last Saturday wasn’t much better in terms of student attendance.
House said it’s important for students to go to games for three different reasons.
“For one, it gets you out of your room,” he said. “It gives you something to do. Two, even if we’re not winning, it’s a fun thing to go to. Three, it’s your team.”
Jeffrey Mason, athletics development officer, said at its peak the Roaring Red is strongest when an individual or small group takes the lead in the organization.
“Over the last couple of years, that’s exactly what has been missing: someone to take the group by the horns and commit to it,” he said. “We’ve had interest come and go in leading the group. Fortunately, we’re back to having an individual who has taken the cause head-on. We’re thrilled to have Nate leading the charge on re-energizing the group.”
Beth Rutt, director of Student Activities, said she had to put the Roaring Red into abeyance two years ago since it had become inactive. She said she didn’t have a student with the enthusiasm back then to keep the Roaring Red alive.
“I am excited that I have someone who has a passion for sports and loves to watch the Mules and Jennies compete,” she said. “Plus, he wants to share that enthusiasm with his peers. I am pleased that I have a student who wants to improve school spirit.”
Rutt said the benefit of having the group is to bring students together who might have no other connection other than supporting their team.
“It brings folks together that can support each other because of the environment they find themselves,” she said. “I think it helps students to feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves.”
Rutt said it’s also important for the teams to hear and see the student body supporting them.
“A student athlete sacrifices a lot of time and effort to come out and perform at their peak,” Rutt said. “Nothing encourages a competitor more than the roar of a crowd. It makes the difference in a win or loss in some situations. Who doesn’t want to know they are appreciated?”
Mason said he is proud of the athletics department as a whole since they have never lost the All-Sports trophy or Commissioner’s Cup.
“When I speak to students, I sum it up like this: some schools consider themselves a ‘football school’ or a ‘basketball school,’ where they’re waiting for the time of year when their really good team is playing,” he said. “The football school doesn’t worry about basketball and vice versa. Central Missouri isn’t one of those schools. We’re competitive across the board through the entire year and again, we’re awfully proud of that.”
He said UCM has 215 regular season conference championships in the 14 league sports, the most of any school in our league.
He said UCM has won five national championships since 2014: Mules basketball, Jennies indoor track and field, Jennies outdoor track and field, Jennies soccer and Jennies basketball.
“We see the pride and support our students have for their school and these teams but it’s amplified when the Roaring Red is strong and focusing the efforts,” he said. “That’s when it goes from being a student section to a home field advantage. When the students are all in on a game environment, the rest of the crowd follows.”
Mason said for student-athletes, a strong Roaring Red group changes the entire experience.
“The difference between students scattered throughout a crowd and the Roaring Red bunched together and screaming in unison is an unforgettable atmosphere and one that opposing teams remember the rest of their career,” he said.
House said his overall vision for the Roaring Red would be to organize tailgating into a fun atmosphere to entice other campus organizations to set up their booths with activities. He said he hopes that one day all the organizations can have a friendly tailgating competition. He said his main goal for Roaring Red is to bring as many students to the games as possible.
House said he also would like to create more positions for the group once he gets more members.
To join the Roaring Red, go to Union 217 or the registration table at any UCM game. The fee is $10. For more information, contact Nathanial House at email@example.com.