The ‘Purple Swarm’ makes the drive to St. Joseph, Missouri

The Eagles have their trusty supporters to make road games feel like home


Brynn Meisse

The Eagle faithful lean over the railing, cheering for the women’s basketball team in the Elite Eight.

Brynn Meisse, Features Editor

When the Eagles won their Elite Eight game last night it was almost like the team was in Kate’s Gymnasium back in Ashland, Ohio. 

The arena was filled with fans dressed in purple and gold who made the 11-hour drive to St. Joseph, Missouri. However, a lot of planning went into making the arena feel a little bit more like Kate’s.

Jeffrey Alix, director of Alumni and Parent Relations at Ashland University, helped to gather the crowd.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to be the alumni director at Ashland for each of the team’s trips to Elite Eight,” Alix said. “We always try to find an opportunity to bring the parents, fans, and community together before we cheer them on.”

Eagle women’s basketball fans met up at Hi Ho bar, in St. Joseph, Missouri, to eat dinner and talk to one another before they went to the arena to cheer the team on.

“As the alumni director at Ashland Univeristy it’s a great opportunity to bring people together that have great pride and spirit for the university,” he explained. 

One of the familiar faces in the arena was Tony Daniel, who can be seen wearing a split-dye purple and gold wig. Daniel has been supporting the Eagles for the past 13 years even though he isn’t related to anyone on the team.

He has been to Columbus, South Dakota, and Texas to show his support for the women with the 2013 championship win being his most memorable.

Another dedicated fan that made the 11-hour drive is David Borter, also known as Coach Cousy. 

Borter coached Morgan Yoder and Zoe Miller “throughout their youth years and even travel basketball”, but retired coaching after they graduated from Berlin Hiland.

“When Morgan was a freshman I told her that when she was done playing high school I would retire. She goes ‘well you can just see me play in college all the time’ and that’s exactly what I was going to do,” he recalled. “So that’s what I’m doing.”

He has been going to every Ashland game this season and has acquired some favorite memories. 

“Seeing Morgan and Zoe both excel with the team, but it’s the team. Sometimes they look like they are down and out, but always find a way to win them. To me that’s just part of the culture,” he said. “This is the best part of it here. Being in the Elite Eight!