“What does it mean to be part of the most die-hard Zips student section? Those involved in The University of Akron’s student cheering section know as the AK-Rowdies live by their acronym: Ruthless, Obnoxious, Wild, Dedicated, Insane, Egotistical, Students.””
What does it mean to be part of the most die-hard Zips student section?
Those involved in The University of Akron’s student cheering section know as the AK-Rowdies live by their acronym: Ruthless, Obnoxious, Wild, Dedicated, Insane, Egotistical, Students.
The AK-Rowdies is one of the fastest growing organizations on campus. They attend all sporting events that the Zips play. The Rowdies cheer, scream, taunt and create the most UA support possible.
At the Friday soccer game, the atmosphere they created resembled the middle of the Dawg Pound during a Browns – Steelers game. The Rowdies wear UA gear, face paint, brandish golden pom-poms and the group’s president, Willy Kollman, even sported a golden wig and Akron flag draped as a cape in support for the men’s soccer team.
Their support was not only on a visual level.
The group was screaming their throats hoarse, whether it was cheers of excitement when UA was charging down the field or heckling the oppositions goalkeeper.
The AK-Rowdies was created in 2005 by athletics graduate assistant Matt Newhouse.
In 2005 the university was changing its image on and off campus, when the motto ‘Fear the Roo’ came about, Kollman said. Newhouse wanted to find a way to build support for Akron sports.
Kollman said Newhouse, with the help of Athletics Director Mack Rhoades, created the AK-Rowdies. Since then the group has grown substantially.
In the first year there were about 150 members, the next year it grew to around 250 and this year there are about 1000 members, Kollman said.
Kollman said he planted the seed of UA spirit early in new students to aid in the groups mammoth growth.
I worked for New Student Orientation during the summer and used it to promote the AK-Rowdies whenever I could, he said. I wanted to start them young.
Kollman said almost 85 to 90 percent of the Rowdies are freshmen.
The students who used to go crazy for their high school teams now have the same opportunity to do it for their college, Kollman said. We want to create the best home field advantage for our Zips, whether it be soccer, football, baseball, basketball, softball or any other Akron sport.
Kollman said the group isn’t done growing either.
We’re looking to gain more members. We also trying to raise $6,000 to $7,000 to pay for transportation so we can follow the teams on road games, he said. We want to sell out home basketball games, we also want to help raise the attendance of the women’s basketball games – after all Zippy is a girl – and just give all the support we possibly can.
Overall we want to get students involved, go to games, and create the most hostile home field we can.
Members all agree that this is a great way to get involved, make new friends and make the transition from high school to college or from a different college to UA a lot easier.
I’ve been to seven or eight games … being a member of the AK-Rowdies is a great way to meet new people, first year AK-Rowdie member and sophomore Eric Stefano said.
People are drawn to the group because of the crazy members and Willy. Being a member has totally been worth it.
Senior Brittany Muffet, a two-year Rowdies member agreed with Stefano.
The AK-Rowdies is a great way to build school spirit and a sense of community; it encourages students to get involved, she said. You can tell if a person is comfortable at the school they’re going to by how much they support the different organizations.
It allows students to get excited about their school and develop a real sense of school pride.
The AK-Rowdies attempt to show support for all UA athletic teams. The values that helped create the Rowdies are still present today in the group and help it grow with each new member.
These students may be the biggest supporters of UA athletics and they let everyone know they bleed blue and gold.
“” #1.1361486:2420578925.jpg:20071120_rowdies_wb.jpg:The AK-Rowdies gathered behind one of the goals during Friday nights men’s soccer game.:Wes Boettner”