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Column: Donahue's Disciples Preach The Good Word

Assoc. Sports Editor

Published: Thursday, October 6, 2011

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01

A reading from the Book of Steve: "… And the Lord said let there be 3's, and the 3's were good…." (Steve 1:3).

Welcome to the latest student movement on campus, Donahue's Disciples, the group that will try to make Conte Forum an unwelcoming environment for visiting teams this winter during the Boston College men's basketball season.

The idea for the group started last season when BC hosted UNC, and Ryan Dunn and a few of his friends dressed up as Donahue's Disciples at the game. After the season ended, Dunn and his friends met with head coach Steve Donahue and his staff to discuss the barren student section at most home games throughout the year. The coaches loved the idea of the student group, but not much else stuck from the meeting.

On Sept. 22, Donahue himself took to Twitter (@Coach_Donahue) to try and find Dunn and Co.:

"Attention BC students: Looking to find the students who wanted to start "Donahue's Disciples" last year."

"Would love for you to come by and discuss getting more students to hoop games this season."

"Any other students interested in being part of a grassroots student basketball group, please contact me or come to our office in Conte!"

The power of social media at its finest. Dunn and his friends saw the tweet, got in touch with Donahue, and set up a meeting. Ironically, 12 members of Donahue's Disciples met with the coaching staff.

Monday's meeting was much more productive than the one at the end of last year's, and Donahue's Disciples left with a boatload of new ideas for the season, now 38 days away from opening night at Conte Forum.

The central idea behind the group is to reignite a sense of excitement, tradition, and creativity back into Conte Forum. One of the ways the disciples hope to do this is by narrowing the gap between players and students. It often seems like there's a divide between athletes and their classmates, but Donahue and his Disciples are aiming to break down that barrier. The coaching staff, along with the Roundball Club (the basketball booster program), has offered to fund some of the initiatives of Donahue's Disciples to get the group running.

To narrow the rift, the group is hoping to host events such as block parties and barbeques on Upper and Lower Campus, with players and coaches in attendance. Additionally, Dunn said the group has discussed a three-on-three basketball tournament, where the players and coaches could either coach teams or referee the games. Such events would not only garner attention for Donahue's Disciples, but they would also provide opportunities for interactions between students, players, and coaches.

These interactions could be key in filling the student section at Conte during the season. Some people may feel that there is not much motivation to go see a team play if you don't know anybody on the team, or you feel distant from the players. But what if you knew the players and coaches, or at least had some exchanges with them? The idea of feeling like you know the players donning the maroon and gold each night can go a long way in putting bodies in the stands, and not just for games against Duke or UNC.

Dunn explained the group's vision with an analogy to fandom for high school games.

"We think back to the days of high school where you knew the players on the court and felt a connection with them, and because of that, you dressed up, made signs and just got wild," Dunn said in an e-mail. "We've already had a lot of positive feedback from both students and alumni and we're looking to form a whole new tradition and establish a whole new chapter of BC basketball."

It is the perfect time for this group to spur a movement. With a roster that includes nine freshman and a young coaching staff that is open for the interactions, the time is now for Donahue's Disciples. It's clear that Donahue and his staff are invested in the program, and their willingness to meet with students is great for the program.

The group has its own Twitter account, @BookofDonahue, and has been acquiring widespread support, now with over 130 followers in just three days. The Disciples have their first unofficial meeting today, as they continue to get the group off the ground.

It may be 38 days until the basketball season begins, but that's not stopping Donahue's Disciples. They're already in game mode. The revolution is beginning—it's time to be a part of it.

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