Boasting the loudest student section in the nation is not without some blood, sweat, tears and creative game day gear.
According to the Kennel Club page on Gonzaga University's website, Kennel Club is the largest student-run club at GU and has held that title since 1984. The Kennel itself houses 1,200 students per home game and keeps alive the traditions of fans. Since its origin, cheers and chants have been passed along from class to class.
Jordan Atkins, junior representative membership coordinator, continues to help foster the upbeat environment at every single game. At the preseason game against Warner Pacific, Atkins rocked white Dickies, the red Kennel Club shirt that comes with this year’s membership and blue heart-shaped sunglasses.
“The school spirit here is like no other, especially when it comes to the men’s basketball games," Atkins said. "GU students continue to show up and show out to support our Division I athletes.”
Although a Kennel Club membership is not necessary to attend games, “Zag swag” is a perk of joining. This year’s membership includes a 2022-23 red Kennel Club T-shirt, a navy-blue long-sleeve T-shirt, a Kennel Club drawstring bag, two stickers and more.
New this year are 10 golden tickets dispersed throughout membership packs that will allow the recipient and a friend to skip the line at a West Coast Conference (WCC) men’s basketball game.
“I personally joined Kennel Club and board to get involved and be a part of a fun atmosphere that brings students together in a hype environment," Atkins said. "It’s been an all-around amazing experience and I would encourage all who can to join."
The cheer team helps lead an eager audience in “Zombie Nation” before tipoff, as well as defensive and offensive cheers throughout the game. Their constant energy is showcased through loud and interactive crowd cheers, as well as stunts and tumbling passes.
Ian McDevitt, a sophomore cheerleader at GU, is proud of the energetic community that cheer helps bring to life in the Kennel.
“My favorite part of being on the team is the ability to represent a school that has such amazing spirit at every single game," McDevitt said.
The cheerleaders will be at every basketball game, home and away, and are there to boost the spirit and morale of the crowd, whether they are in the Kennel or not.
Mckenna Round, one of the marketing promotions interns, can't participate in the Kennel for every game because of work, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t as spirited as the rest of her peers.
“I am meant to work almost every game, but the two or three I have off will be a special and fun experience with my friends," Round said. "It’s not too bittersweet because I can feel the Kennel’s energy and see everyone’s cutest outfits all the way down on the court."
The Warner Pacific exhibition game on Nov. 2 had a full house packed with spirited fans in red, white and blue. Among the crowd, there were cowboy hats, colored heart-shaped glasses, American flag pants, morph suits and cutouts of the players floating around.
Games are not only an opportunity for basketball fans to gather and view a sport they love, but they are also a fashion show meant to show off your best GU apparel.
Win or lose, the Kennel supports the Zags. When the time comes for tenting games, committed fans can be spotted whether it’s sunny, raining or snowing, and spend the night on Herak Quad in order to secure their spot in the Kennel.
Spirited fans are ready for a fun season and will be there to cheer on the Zags in their best apparel.