Hornet Hoopla: Delaware State Fans Buy Tickets, Souvenirs While Campus Buzzes Over First NCAA Tournament Bid

By Michelle Mostovy-Eisenberg
Updated: March 16, 2005

Constance Hall, a 1992 Delaware State graduate and school booster, wears a wide smile as she displays the four tickets she purchased on Tuesday for Friday’s NCAA Tournament game against Duke in Charlotte, N.C. The school’s box office phone rang all morning with ticket inquiries

DOVER, De. – Basketball fever has spread across Delaware State University’s campus.

Tickets went on sale Tuesday at DSU for the Hornets’ NCAA men’s tournament game against top-seeded Duke in Charlotte, N.C., on Friday night.

“It’s been definitely a high,” interim athletic director Ed Davis said. “The adrenaline rush on campus is great.”

Tickets, priced at $50, for the Hornets’ first NCAA tournament appearance went on sale Tuesday at 1 p.m. after a shipment of 350 arrived late in the morning via Federal Express.

Despite the excitement, there were no lines when the box office window at Alumni Stadium opened.

Hornet fans were able to walk right up to the window to buy tickets.

“It’s been a highly talked about situation,” said senior Desiree Garcia, 22, who was first to buy tickets for herself and a friend.

She said they are going to drive to North Carolina on Friday morning, forcing her to miss a management processes class.

Ms. Garcia said she’s attended most of the team’s home games and was excited for the Hornets, but “most of the excitement will come on Friday.”

“Everyone’s really excited,” she said.

Gregory Hopkins, who works in the chemistry department at DSU, bought four tickets for the game for himself, his girlfriend, sister and a cousin.

“I know most of the players,” Mr. Hopkins said. “DelState -they’re going to win it.

“It’s been crazy (on campus). This is history. Just the fact they’re going, that’s the big deal.”

Associate athletic director Donald “Tripp” Keister said it was going to take some time to works the glitches out, such as one involving credit card purchases, since “we haven’t done this before.”

“We got a little bit of a late start,” Mr. Keister said. “We are doing the best we can. We’re learning for next year.”

He said the box office phone rang all morning with ticket inquiries.

Judging by the accents of some callers, Mr. Keister said he suspected there were some long-distance calls from Duke fans wanting tickets.

“Our fans are excited,” he said.

The excitement led to a call to the NCAA for more tickets and a second shipment of 90-100 was expected late Tuesday.

“There’s definitely a buzz in the air,” Mr. Keister said.

Stephanie Dukes of Milford, director of the Family Outreach Community Center in Lincoln, arrived around 2 p.m. to buy eight tickets, one for herself and the rest for seniors from Milford High School who volunteer at the center.

She was buying the seniors the tickets as early graduation gifts for their hard work.

“I am so very excited,” said Mrs. Dukes, who plans to travel to Charlotte Friday morning.

“I hope they go all the way. (Duke) is going to be stung by the Hornet.”

DSU junior Christopher Mickel, 21, a “huge fan” of the Hornets, was excited as he inquired about tickets.

“DelState is going to beat Duke,” he said. “This is what you play for right here. I love my school and have a lot of school spirit.”

DSU’s student government has organized a bus trip to the game on Friday, selling tickets and seats on the bus to students on Tuesday evening.

An increase in school spirit has been evident in the campus bookstore, said cashier coordinator Connie Neece.

DSU fans have been buying shirts and “anything with a logo on it,” she said, noting business had been brisk since Monday.

“It started the day they found out they were going to the championships.”

Hats with the Hornets logo and red T-shirts that read Delaware State University have been the most popular, Ms. Neece said, along with decals, pennants and blue and red beads.

“It’s been crazy in the store,” she said, adding that some fans were calling in orders.