A great day for the Dayton Flyers and their fans began hours before sunrise Saturday.
» PHOTOS: Signs at GameDay
Some students tried to camp out outside the Frericks Center only to be told to pack up and wait a bit longer to get in line for the filming of ESPN College GameDay. More than a thousand students eventually filled that line, which stretched from the Frericks Center past the chapel, and it was quite the scene as they waited early Saturday morning.
University of Dayton seniors Sarah Lemley, of Anchorage, Alaska, and Rachel Overholzer, of Cincinnati, were the first in line.
“I rolled out of bed at 5:55, threw on some clothes and was like, ‘Ok, it’s GameDay,” Overholzer said.
On the other side of the Frericks Center, the non-student fans waited in a shorter line. The first two people in line were Matty Toomb and John Kendall, of Cincinnati. They arrived at 4:30 a.m.
Toomb said it would be his 664th Dayton game (home and away) on Saturday night. The Flyers close the regular-season against George Washington. No. 3 Dayton (28-2, 17-0) enters the game with 19 straight victories.
Bill’s Donuts fueling the students this morning. pic.twitter.com/p4BLF34nrQ— David Jablonski (@DavidPJablonski) March 7, 2020
“We’ve waited forever for this,” Toomb said, referring to this special season, not for the doors to open to GameDay.
There were hundreds of signs. That’s the GameDay tradition. Some students spent a lot of time on their signs. Others did not, such as the student who a simple stick-figure drawing of Ryan Mikesell on a posterboard.
There were many signs featuring Dayton star Obi Toppin.
“Sorry, GW, Obi’s our president,” read one sign.
Other players were honored too.
“Mikesell, will you marry me?” read one sign.
“Jordy’s the man,” read another.
At 9:30 a.m., the doors opened, and the students and other fans flooded into the old Fieldhouse, which was remodeled several years ago and now serves as the home for the Dayton volleyball team. The men’s basketball team played at the FieldHouse until UD Arena opened in 1969.
Among the fans were 75 members of the Dayton football team, led by coach Rick Chamberlin, who said the GameDay exposure will help his program and the entire university.
“Now we get to learn some things,” Chamberlin said, “not just about the basketball but about the community and the support and the type of people we have here. That only helps in our recruiting.”