Dayton basketball opponents must also deal with Red Scare student section

Playing at UD Arena is no easy feat for the University of Dayton’s opponents.

The Flyers are 15-0 at home this season and have won 16 in a row in Dayton dating to last season.

A big reason for UD’s success is the home court advantage. The student section known as the Red Scare plays a large role in that difficult atmosphere.

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"From the second we get to the arena to the second we leave we are screaming,” Annie Montefiori, vice president of external relations for the Red Scare, said before Friday night’s game against Davidson.

Montefiori and Michael Oliver were selected to be two of the students that get to dress as a pilot and flight attendant. They also get front-row seats at home games.

"When I came to Dayton my first day of orientation my parents said what's your fun goal for your four years at Dayton,” Montefiori said. “Mine was to be the flight attendant and sit front row and I've accomplished it and it's been one of the greatest experiences at UD."

The pilots and flight attendants are among the more recognizable mainstays in the student section these days. While Montefiori joked sometimes it can feel strange dressing up in the costume she said anyone selected to be in this role proudly wears it as a badge of honor.

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“It’s really been a brotherhood of people,” Oliver said.

“It’s the people that fully embody the student section and Red Scare. It meant a lot to me that the previous pilot said, ‘this kid has it.’ There’s a certain X factor you have to have to be the pilot.”

They’re front and center for one of the most exciting seasons for UD basketball in recent history. They both said this has been much different compared to any other season they can remember.

"I used to be the person standing out in the crowd as 'oh that kid's a little too excited' and now everyone is at that level with me and it's just amazing,” Oliver said.

They both shared many fond memories, far too many to name them all but Oliver said one of his favorites are when the student section spontaneously comes up with something to try and get in an opposing team’s head.

"This kid was struggling to tie his shoes and so we all just started yelling 'the bunny goes through the loop' and this kid just couldn't do it because we were in his head and he was fumbling, shaking,” Oliver said.

He said they’ve even gotten compliments from opposing coaching staffs.

"They'll be like guys that was really fun, thank you for that,” Oliver said. “Even though they had just lost."

It’s bittersweet and a little surreal for each to think about how Saturday, March 7, will be their last home game as members of the Red Scare. In fact, they weren’t quite ready to let themselves think about it but they know it will be soon time to pass the baton to an underclassmen that’s impressed them this season.

“After this year I’ll hand my costume to someone,” Montefiori said.

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