The Den chats about UCLA Football (cont.)
GJB: Why is The Den the best student section in the country?
JK: I¹m hoping Kyle helps me fill in the gaps here, because there¹s too many to list but I¹ll try anyways: The Den was the first student section to be verified on Twitter, and started a nation-wide trend in that regard. The Den has been featured on ESPN.com with our Lonzo Ball Dime Dropper last year. The Den was featured in an article in Athletic Management Magazine for the way we engage students.
The Den extends beyond football and men¹s basketball… have you been to a UCLA Gymnastics meet yet? The Den at gymnastics is the most integrated student section experience in the country. We SMASHED the student attendance record at a UCLA softball game last year; and Women¹s Volleyball head coach Mike Sealy said, “That was the best student section I¹ve seen in 7 years” referring to The Den at the women¹s volleyball GolDEN game last fall.
When UCLA women¹s basketball played at USC last season, The Den out numbered everybody else in the arena, three-fold. In a collegiate athletics landscape that has seen decreasing student attendance trends in the last 5 years, The Den bucks that trend and has seen attendance increases. And even with all of these accomplishments, we only keep growing and building momentum thanks to our incredible Den Operations team. How¹s that?
KG: In my (extremely biased) opinion, The Den is the best student section in the country because we are always on the cutting edge of new ideas and we bring our energy and passion to every game, every week. Within Den Operations itself, our social media team is elite, our Gameday Operations committee is always looking for the next great thing to impact the game, and our creative content is unmatched among student sections. When it comes to the full student body, having such incredible venues and a large group of undergraduates means lots of energy is always in the building!
GJB: UCLA was not very good last season. What do you expect in 2017?
JK: That¹s sports right? Winning feels so good because it¹s not easy and is never guaranteed. I think you can expect to see a hungry, motivated group of guys this year. Although losing is never easy, it does provide the opportunity to come back stronger and better. Hopefully the team was able to look at what the causes for last season¹s result were and attack them in the offseason. Despite a down year last year, this team still has the talent and potential to contend in the Pac-12.
KG: I’m always an optimist when it comes to UCLA sports, so I’m fully expect a bounce-back season this year. Josh Rosen is healthy, the offense has weapons, and the defense is full of dynamic playmakers both new and experienced. I’m very confident that this team can return to Pac-12 contention and postseason play in 2017!
GJB: Any additional info you would like UCLA fans to know?
JK: As much as you all feed off of The Den¹s energy, we feed off of yours. The Den is only one half of the equation. I encourage you all to support our great student athletes this year, get to the games early, stand up, be loud, and wear blue because when you all get into it, The Den turns it up to a whole new level. I also always want to let UCLA fans know how much we appreciate all of the support and love they give to The Den. When you all interact with us on social media, keep tabs on what we¹re up to, and care about the things we are doing, it just helps us build The Den into what we want it to be: The defining experience of every student¹s time at UCLA.
KG: I’ll repeat Jaelan Phillips once again: “We need everyone there September 3rd!²