After a hiatus, the "Loud Crowd" a dedicated student section for Texas State University's basketball games returned this season. Above, the loud crowd makes noise and waves balloons during Texas State's men's basketball game against Marshall on Jan. 19 inside Strahan Arena. Daily Record photo by Gerald Castillo
RETURN OF THE LOUD CROWD: Student section's old name makes triumphant return to Strahan Arena
A surprise Twitter update popped up on everyone’s newsfeed the morning of Jan. 12.
“The Loud Crowd has returned,” an official statement from the Loud Crowd Twitter account said. “The leaders of our student section, the Bobcat Crew, and the athletic department determined that it was only right to restore the name and traditions of the 'Loud Crowd' to our present student section. We wanted to revive the memories, traditions, and effect of the fastest-growing organization from a few years ago. We are excited to continue assisting Texas State Athletics.”
After three years of being known as the Bobcat Crew, the Texas State athletic department officially reinstated the Loud Crowd name bringing joy to many Bobcat Alumni.
Having been there since the organization’s inception back in 2004, Bryan Miller — Texas State Executive Senior Associate Athletics Director — knows all too well about the group.
“It means a lot,” Miller said. “Some of our goals here at Texas State are engagement. Whether it’s with the fans, student population, or the alumni base and donors, bringing back the Loud Crowd allows us to connect with several recent alums that were a part of that organization since its inception all the way to a few years ago. We are trying to get them reconnected and help them remember their time here and the impact and legacy they left here.”
Because of the notoriety the group has made over nearly a decade, reinstatement of the name was a no brainer for Loud Crowd Advisor Danielle Rubio.
“We brought back the name due to the success and the history of the Loud Crowd,” Rubio said. “It is so well known here in the San Marcos community so why not bring it back.”
In their first game back since the name change, the Loud Crowd lived up to their name.
With the Bobcats battling Marshall on a Thursday, Jan. 19, 3,183 fans packed Strahan Arena to cheer on Texas State.
Their impact left an immediate impression on assistant coach Robert Guster who previously coached Texas State’s arch rival down the road in San Antonio, according to Loud Crowd President Leslie Olalde.
“We have one of the basketball coaches that coached at UTSA,” Olalde said. “He would talk to us back then whenever UTSA would come, the Loud Crowd created such a great atmosphere. He was thanking everyone [after the Marshall game] because it was bringing back those memories and bringing back the Loud Crowd was going to really help (the men’s basketball team) out.”
The origins of the Loud Crowd can be traced back to the 2004 Texas State basketball season.
Starting out as a group outing between friends, founding member Adam Bruchas discovered that they were making an impact.
“It started back in 2004 or 2005,” Bruchas said. “There was a group of guys that lived in the dorm room who just liked sports and going to the games. It started during basketball season and we wanted to support the team. We started going to the games as friends and we sat behind the scorers table. My nickname was the heckler because I liked yelling at the other team. We got loud and annoying enough during a time that nobody went to the games so it was pretty obvious that there was no ignoring us because we were yelling and screaming all the time.”
The group’s passion caught the eye of both Miller and now Texas State Athletic Director Don Coryell.
“Eventually Bryan Miller moved us to the end of the court underneath the basket,” Bruchas said. “This was due to some of the season ticket holders complaining that we were too loud and standing up all the time. But both Don Coryell and Miller were really championing us and realized that even though we were small we were something.
“They encouraged us to become an official student organization even though we were against that,” Burchas added. “Now they could tell us what we could or could not do. But eventually we saw the benefits of it because they provided us a place to meet and they would give us pizza for our meetings.”
The Loud Crowd continued to grow before reaching its peak in 2014.
After the 2014 season, the Loud Crowd participation began to dip due to what Miller described as burnout.
“Anytime you are dealing with student organizations, there are going to be peaks and valleys,” Miller said. “Leadership leaves and turns over which happens at any organization … specifically with Loud Crowd, the group got so popular they started to become overwhelmed. The original genius of the organization was really more of an impact student organization or a student group for basketball. They became so popular and made such an impact, heckling other teams, and creating that atmosphere that other sports wanted them there too.
“After a while it starts to wear thin considering there are 100 live home events a year,” Miller continued. “They are trying to go to every event. It can be a lot for an organization or even a student. That’s why it started to take a dip and eventually to fade out just because of turnover of leadership and then being so good it created more demand and burnout.”
After seeing the highs and lows of the group, both Miller and the Loud Crowd organizers plan on a different strategy.
“We want to be a little bit more strategic this time around,” Miller said. “We are trying not to be at every single game but rather be at as many games as possible. Pick and choose all the different sports that could actually make an impact so that the people in the organization don’t feel as if they have to attend every event due to other priorities so we are doing to be more strategic this time.”