By Mike DeFabo
Times West Virginian
The way Fairmont State basketball coach Jerrod Calhoun sees it, the Falcons have the best fans in the conference.
They’ll have a chance to prove it on Thursday when the Falcons hold the second annual Fan Fest at 7 p.m. in Joe Retton Arena.
Last season more than 1,500 people attended the festivities. Calhoun said he is hoping to pack one side of the bleachers with 2,000 basketball fans this year.
“Our fans have been absolutely terrific,” he said. “Last year we led the league in attendance. I think this year you’re going to see some record crowds.”
The men’s and women’s basketball teams will be introduced to kick off the event, followed by a men’s basketball scrimmage, dunk contest and a 3-point-shooting competition with the women’s team.
Fans will also have an opportunity to participate in several interactive events and meet their favorite players at an autograph signing at the conclusion of the event.
Calhoun said it will give fans an opportunity to meet the players and form a personal connection with them.
“This is a great way to kick off the season and give the fans a chance to interact with our players and see them live for the first time,” Calhoun said.
Students are also invited to a pre-party tailgate in the Feaster Center parking lot beginning at 5 p.m. They will be treated to free food and FSU basketball shirts while they play cornhole and other games.
The first 200 fans at the event will also receive free T-shirts.
“This is for the fans,” Calhoun said. “We do it to give back for all of their support.”
The Falcons will hold their first official practice of the 2013-2014 season today. The men’s team will play an exhibition game at West Virginia University Nov. 4. Both teams begin their seasons at home on Nov. 9.
Email Mike DeFabo at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow on Twitter @MikeDeFaboTWV.